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UniGate: S1 W1 2013

All the rumours, hearsay, and downright slander from the world of student politics and culture

Howard cut-out stolen

A headless cardboard cutout of John Howard holding a headless cardboard cutout of John Howard. Photo courtesy of Alex Dore.
A headless cardboard cutout of John Howard holding a headless cardboard cutout of John Howard. Photo courtesy of Alex Dore.

O-Week turned violent last Wednesday as students got into fisticuffs over a cardboard cutout of John Howard. Witnesses described that the altercation began when three left wing activists kidnapped the cutout from the Young Liberals stall, shouting “fuck off you fascists!” Two representatives from the stall gave chase, including Young Liberals President and 2010 Liberal candidate for Grayndler, Alex Dore.

Dore eventually confronted the man carrying the cutout at the Carslaw entrance to the Law School, demanding its return, but the cutout thief refused. Independent witness Jack Gow described the resulting tussle, in which John Howard’s head was ripped off, the lefty’s shirt was torn and Dore sustained minor bruises to his arm and a scratch to his neck. While two witnesses have stated that Dore grabbed the thief’s shirt causing it to tear, Dore maintains the man ripped his own shirt while attempting to attack him. Dore has contacted campus security to obtain CCTV footage of the incident in order to verify his own account. One of the witnesses and Greens on Campus member, Tom Raue retorted, “that’s not going to be good for him.”

LifeChoice stall vandalised

During O-Week the controversial society LifeChoice had its stall vandalised. In their official press release, the anti-abortion society told the Gate their stall was “torn down” and “stickers and graffiti had also been scrawled across the stall”. The stickers in question were the ‘pro-choice’ stickers the SRC Women’s Collective had been distributing throughout O-Week. As a result, LifeChoice appeared to implicate the Collective, with president Rebecca Elias stating, “It’s terrible to think that the perpetrators could be members of our own Women’s Collective – given that half of LifeChoice’s membership are women who have now been victimised for expressing their ethical views.”

When pressed about this point by the Gate, the society backed away from this accusation, stating “we in no way believe that the Women’s Collective orchestrated the vandalism”. When asked to respond, the Women’s Officers released this statement: “The women’s officers would like to state that although we have distributed pro-choice stickers during O-Week, we do not condone the vandalism of the LifeChoice stall and have absolutely no reason to believe the individuals responsible are a part of our collective. We stand up for the safety of ALL women on campus, and behaviour that causes women students to feel threatened is never acceptable.”

Sources have indicated to the Gate that the perpetrators were left wing students with links to the University of Sydney SRC. The Gate is unable to give any further details because of defamation concerns raised by the SRC President David Pink. The incident has been reported to the University and the USU.

Cory Bernardi takes student bait

Several campus activists scored themselves a scolding in the federal Senate this week from Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi. Having recently defended Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders, Bernardi named and shamed Brigitte Garozzo, Kieran Adair, and Timothy Scriven (who older students will remember ran for Union Board back in 2010) for their support of polyamory. Bernardi sought to tie the students named to the Greens and attack the party by association.

While the Gate condemns the Senator’s attacks on these students we find it particularly despicable that he unfairly threw them in with common scoundrel and Honi Soit editor Rafi Alam. The Senator also referenced Alam’s public support of polyamorous rights. We just hope next time Bernardi addresses the highest elected body in the country he can also find the bravery to denounce Alam’s tendency to leave half eaten noodles in the Honi Soit office and constantly play Taylor Swift on Spotify.

Bad turnout at Board meeting

The University of Sydney Union appears set to offer limited support to the NTEU and striking academics. Director Tom Raue put forward a series of motions at the Board’s last meeting, the most dramatic of which proposed a full shutdown of Union services for the day to help broaden the impact of the strike.  While this proposal was never likely to fly with the other directors, Raue does appear to have secured some concessions. These include a proposal of in-principle support and, more substantively, another proposal allowing the Union’s extensive PR resources to help promote the strike. Due to poor attendance by Board Directors, neither of these motions were settled during the meeting. Board directors Sophie Stanton, Karen Chau (who was sick), and Zachary Thompson all failed to attend the meeting while Mina Nada arrived late and left before votes on the strike motions could be cast. Failing to meet quorum, the board was left to vote ‘in circular’. While this process was ongoing at the time the Gate went to print, it appears certain that the in-principle and PR measures will pass. For the first time in Jesus-knows-how-long, the USU and teachers’ union will be, in a small way, working together to resist University policy.

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