President’s Report: Jen Light
Welcome Back to Semester 2!!!!!
We are half through the University year and I hope everybody had a great break.
This semester is a very important one for the SRC as we will hold our annual elections.
The nominations for the elections will open this Wednesday the 30th, and be open for a month. These elections will decide the next President of the SRC, the next 33 councilors, the next delegates to National Union of Students conference and the next Honi Soit editorial team.
So in other words get ready for the sea of colored T-shirts to return. Sydney University Student Representative Council elections are renowned around the country because of the political active culture of this University, and it should be something we are proud of.
After the SRC elections we will hold representative elections, theses elections are only voted by those who got elected on to the council, it will include the election of:
5 general executives (have to be councilors)
Officers for Departments:
Disabilities and Carers
Mature Age Students
Chair of standing Legal
Director of Finance
Director of operations
Standing Legal Committee
I would really recommending getting involved in the next SRC elections it is an amazing experience and allows you to really work for the causes you believe in.
General Secretary’s Report: James Leeder
And we’re back. Those of you who are new to uni may not realise that a new semester is like a new year – different classes and different teachers mean that you can pretend you got all HDs last semester and “will work really hard this time.” Or, if you’re among the initiated, you have stopped lying to yourself and learned to own your lack of work ethic and your semesterly degeneracy. Either way, welcome back.
Whilst you may have forgotten all that happened last semester, the rest of society has not. Politics still rages on, the fight to stop fee deregulation continues, and the need for students to exercise their political voice remains. The upcoming National Day of Action for Higher Education on the 20th August is a great opportunity for students to express their discontent at the current state of politics and to fight against fee deregulation, as well as other changes to HECS and youth allowance.
Another upcoming event is Re-O day. This is a great to chance to remind yourself of the societies you forgot you joined last semester, or a great way to get even more weekly emails in your inbox! Less facetiously, Re-O day is a good opportunity to find groups within Sydney that share your interests and passions, as well as a chance to learn more about the SRC.
Lastly, and importantly, it’s always worth reiterating that the SRC provides a free casework and legal service for all undergraduate students that I encourage any and all interested students to use. Further to this, if you have an interest in meeting the office bearers and faceless people that make up your SRC, come along to this month’s SRC meeting on Wednesday 6 August held in the Philosophy Room in the Quad at 6pm. For those of you interested in activism, I encourage you to join one of the many collectives run by the SRC, details of which can be found in the Orientation Handbook (or with a quick Google).
Vice Presidents’ Report: Laura Webster and Max Hall
Does Anyone Actually Understand What Is Happening Around Here?
No, we’re not talking about Sydney Student (although we don’t have a damn clue how it works either); we are referring to the current state of Australian Federal Politics. Ever the studious and engaged political hacks, we have compiled a list of the things most relevant to YOU:
Student’s for Women’s Only Services held a candlelight vigil to mourn the loss of vital women’s services due to the state government slashing funding under the Staying Home Going Home reforms. To date, over 22 women’s only refugees have been closed, with more closures expected. The impact of these closures is indescribable with an estimated 2000 women and children to be severely affected by these closures every year. To add your voice to the non-autonomous student movement against these attacks, visit https://www.facebook.com/swossydney. Special shout out here to the USYD Wom*n’s Collective for all their incredible work with this campaign.
Liberal Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne is continuing what is fast becoming a grand tradition of genuinely having no clue what his own education policies by producing yet another classic cringe worthy moment, when he stated the government should begin collecting HECS debts from deceased students families as a source of revenue. Seriously…who invited this guy?
The University’s Senate Fellows are petitioning the Vice Chancellor to convene a meeting of the Convocation to debate a motion condemning the Liberal Government’s proposed changes to tertiary education and request the University of Sydney to refrain from implementing deregulation of fees. Seriously, read up on this – it’s relevant, fascinating and hilarious. The term “going medieval on your ass” takes on a whole new meaning.
Tony Abbott, the self-titled ‘Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs’, has once again proven that he is an ignorant bigot that should never be allowed to speak in public. During a speech on foreign investment, he actually said this; ‘’I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled…”. There are so many problems with this; we don’t even know where to start.
So there you have it, our abridged list. Feel free to cut this out and keep it as a memento of these dark times in Australian politics.
Education Officers’ Report: Ridah Hassan and Eleanor Morley
The National Union of Students Education Conference was held over the Winter break at UWA in Perth. After a successful semester of fighting deregulation and the Abbott government, EdCon was a chance for students to get together and reflect on our campaign so far and discuss where to next. Highlights of the conference include a panel with several unionists who stressed the importance of militant and fighting unions, and a protest in Julie Bishop’s office against the Liberal’s plans for higher ed.
One of the final sessions of the conference was dedicated to discussing the next national day of action which will see major rallies in every capital city on August 20. This national day of demonstrations will occur right before the Senate sits on August 26th, meaning it might be our last chance to protest before deregulation is voted on.
While we had a good semester one, we haven’t won yet, so students and our allies need to keep up the pressure against the government. Sydney Uni staff and students will rally on Wednesday August 20, 1.30pm at Fisher Library. We’ll be headed to UTS to join students across NSW in a march to Sydney Town Hall.
But there’s another issue that’s gripped us for the last week, as we write this massacre and destruction rain down in Palestine. Currently around 1,000 Palestinians have been murdered, thousands injured, and tens of thousands made refugees. In a few hours these figures will be surpassed and the numbers of lives annihilated, of hospitals and mosques destroyed, of people driven from their homes will rise even higher.
This latest war has exposed once more the nature of Israeli society, that it is a racist, genocidal state intent on wiping out the Palestinians. All the while politicians and the mainstream media faithfully repeat Israeli propaganda points.
But we reject all that – this is not an even sided conflict, the two groups of people are not equally to blame; it’s occupation, war, genocide. We stand in full solidarity with the Palestinians, we condemn the Israeli state for their war crimes, and we condemn Australia and all the other Western governments for their complicity and support for the apartheid state.
If Palestinians in the face of such horror and repression can stand up and resist, just as they have been, it’s necessary that we do too. In Sydney, the next protest for Palestine is going to be on Saturday August 2nd, 1pm at Town Hall. We urge everyone to come along.
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!
Wom*n’s Officers’ Report: Georgia Cranko, Julia Readett and Phoebe Moloney
Hi everyone hope you had a relaxing holiday and that you have a few things to look forward to this coming semester. Before we talk more about what Wom*n’s Collective is planning this semester, we’d love to take this opportunity to thank all the people who took time out of their holidays to make the Candelit Vigil against the Closure or Wom*n’s Homelessness Services possible.
The vigil required a lot of work, plenty of invisible work, over a short but intense period of time. Thanks to the collaboration from many people across university campuses and within the Sydney community the night was very successful, gathering 780 signatures towards the petition against the Going Home Staying Home reforms.
If you are concerned about the closure of wom*n’s refuges across the state we encourage you to sign the petition that will be circulating on campus, and visit the Students for Wom*n’s Only Services to get involved in future actions.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Vigil, however, were the stories and experiences shared by wom*n who have experienced using the refuges, those who have worked there and community leaders concerned about their closure. They illustrated the power of communication to bring empathy, outrage, action and hopefully change.
For the rest of the semester in Wom*n’s Collective we will be focusing on the importance of sharing knowledge and experiences in dismantling the oppressing and privileging systems we navigate on a daily basis.
We are looking forward to running and partaking in cross-collective and cross-campus workshops, putting together a collective zine, trialing a new grievance policy, and continuing our work on halting the Going Home Staying Home reforms, all of which will hopefully expand our collectives ability to acknowledge, resist and subvert power structures inherent in broader society and those existing in our own collective space.
Sexual Harassment Officers’ Report: Georgia Carr and Kitty-Jean Laginha
Welcome back everyone. Campaigning and organising around feminist causes hasn’t slowed during the winter break. In particular, Save Our Women’s Services (SWOS) is a campaign that students have recently rallied behind following the state government’s announcement of a massive reduction in funding for women’s-only refuges across New South Wales.
For nearly forty years, over 40 thousand women and children have sought refuge and support from over a dozen women-only refuges across inner Sydney. Recent changes to funding mean that while money is still being spent helping women dealing with homelessness and domestic and family violence, little is being done to help those who have experienced childhood sexual assault, abuse or neglect, and mental health and/or drug and alcohol issues. The funding changes will also see many inner Sydney women’s-only refuges close by the end of July 2014 – by the time this report goes to print – and up to 60 refuges are expected to close across the state in the coming four months.
State government funding, in line with the predictable Liberal agenda, will privilege Christian-based charities, with refuges such as Elsie Women’s Refuge in Glebe to potentially be handed over to St Vincent de Paul NSW. These services, which are used and often run by men, are an insufficient and inappropriate replacement, particularly for survivors of sexual assault or harassment and male violence.
If you would like to learn more about this campaign visit www.soswomensservices.com or come to Wom*n’s Collective meetings on Wednesdays at 1pm to learn about the student-run campaign and get involved in other feminist causes.
Another event being planned is the fantastic, pro-feminist, sex-positive Radical Sex and Consent Day this semester! It will be a one-day event held on campus on September 4. It will consist of workshops, panel discussions and a party. Whoever you are, whatever gender or identity you identify with, whatever level of knowledge you have on the subject – we are sure you will get something out of it. It aims to be a safe learning space that will facilitate discussion rather than a top-down transfer of knowledge. Come and be part of the dialogue about consent, communication, sexual health, sex positivity and more.
Lastly, if you or anyone you know has experienced sexual assault or feels confused or unsure about an unwanted sexual experience and would like to speak to someone, please contact RPAH Sexual Assault Service on (02) 9515 9040 between 8:30am and 5pm weekdays or (02) 9515 6111 anytime if the sexual assault happened in the last 7 days.