On Wednesday night a bunch of students gathered in a room in the Quad and spent about four hours shouting at each other. At the end, they went out drinking with their friends and reassured themselves that it was time well spent, and that they were very talented and important. In a month’s time they will do it again.
For those who don’t know (which is most of you), it was the first meeting of the Student’s Representative Council (SRC). On paper, it is an organisation that lobbies the university, the government and whoever else will listen, to try and improve services for students – opposing staff and funding cuts, getting affordable student housing, and cheaper travel concessions. Though, if the meetings are held to discuss these valuable initiatives, the counsellors (student politicians) usually do a piss-poor job at doing that.
Still, with a small glimmer of hope, I went along to report on its findings for Honi Soit. To prepare myself, I had consumed around seven standard drinks beforehand. It was not nearly enough and admittedly, I didn’t last long enough at the meeting.
The meeting’s ‘big issue’ was an allegation that the two Education Officers, Eleanor Morley and Ridah Hassan, plagiarised the work of their predecessors while putting together this year’s Counter Course Handbook. The Handbook is the SRC’s largest publication besides Honi Soit, and is meant to provide students with a more honest guide to courses, subjects and the uni experience than the undergraduate marketing pap the University churns out. This year’s edition, which was distributed at O-Week, apparently contained descriptions of courses that aren’t taught anymore, as well as lecturers who no longer work at the university, because that’s what happens when you copy-and-paste other people’s shit.
The two Officers spent much of the meeting pointing out minor flaws in the motion, reprimanding them and claiming there was no “malicious intent” in the plagiarism, which totes makes it okay. When the motion was put to a vote, they loudly stormed out of the room, followed by the other two members of Socialist Alternative, the faction to which they both belong. The motion passed eventually, having taken a solid hour to be voted on.
You know that footage of wankstains like Christopher Pyne sneering childishly in Parliament? Remember how it makes you depressed and angry, and turns you off politics entirely? Well they learnt to act like that in SRC meetings in universities around the country. Tony Abbott learnt it when he was President of the SRC in 1979; so did Joe Hockey when he was President in 1987. And of course, future Prime Ministers and Cabinet members are learning how to do it now, in the Quad Refectory every month. But I got well munted after, so whatevs, kids.