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Births, Deaths and Marriages – Semester One, Week Two

We’re stuck with this column name for better or for worse

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PowerPoint is not responding

The university has taken seven months to agree on a new format for the reports and PowerPoint presentations used in official meetings. Seven months.

Replete with the same ‘please, angry bull, charge at me’ red of last year’s uni-wide rebrand and style guide instructions to “KEEP LANGUAGE CONCISE AND TO THE POINT”, the new format comes with rules that range from banal (“font should be Arial”) to preposterous (“Text should not be animated”).

Honi wonders whether Microsoft and a greased palm or two were involved in the requirement that “All Reports and Cover Reports are to be prepared in Word”.

The changes have been through five committees since they were first proposed in September. Honi can only imagine how long it took to decide which font to write the style guide in.

Campaign Hunger Games

The University of Sydney Union (USU) Board has approved the removal of restrictions on board directors campaigning for candidates in USU elections. The regulations had only been in force for one year.

The previous regulations allowed directors to be involved in a candidate’s campaignbut not directly campaign to electors. Directly campaigning included wearing a campaign shirt, distributing materials and approaching prospective voters. Effectively, board directors were still allowed to orchestrate campaigns from behind the scenes.

Board Director Michael Rees presented a spectrum of changes to these regulations at the March 4 board meeting, which also included tightening the restrictions. The room voted for the ‘free for all’ option, meaning that board directors now have the same campaigning rights as ordinary students.

This is probably the closest board directors have ever come to identifying with the ordinary student.

Bruised egos and unburied hatchets at OWeek

It’s not really a surprise that the fractious world of student politics spilled into OWeek this year. Behind the cheerful veneer of its stall, trouble was brewing at the Labor Club.

Lachlan Ward, the club’s president, was turned away from sitting behind the society’s stall by members of the Sydney Labor Students (SLS) faction who were staffing it.

Though students from different factions can be members of the Labor Club, Ward left SLS under acrimonious circumstances last year and it seems the hatchet is yet to be buried. Honi understands members of SLS intimidated and physically blocked Ward in particular from coming behind the stall even as president, and prevented other members of his new faction, National Labor Students (NLS), whose members are also part of the club, from going near it.

NLS then went and set up their own bootleg stall on the footpath outside Manning House. Ward, meanwhile, eventually approached the USU’s Clubs and Societies office in frustration, who asked his rival faction to back down. After the dust had cleared, it was clear that Labor had successfully given bright-eyed first years an accurate glimpse into the world of Sydney University student politics.

They don’t even go here

It’s barely week two, but while you were busy not buying readers, democracy’s been bubbling away. The SRC Council have already held two meetings this year (one in the break, one in week one), and just like a fascist tutor, Honi’s got some absences to announce.

Two of your elected councillors are yet to attend a single meeting in 2016. Alice Strauss (SLS) and Tom Baker (Liberal) are the kids on naught from two. It’s highly unlikely their stats will improve. Honi’s done some digging and can reveal that Strauss is actually on exchange this semester, while Baker has upped sticks and transferred to UNSW. Neither has resigned their seat to someone who can actually attend council (as is custom). Nor did they respond to our questions about when, if ever, they planned on organising a replacement. As far as we know, their seats – which they pestered you last September to win – will remain empty until next semester and next year, respectively.

Apologies

Honi Soit would like to apologise for the misquotation of Liam Carrigan in last week’s Births, Deaths & Marriages. The column suggested Carrigan spoke on behalf of Grassroots, when the quote was actually made by another Grassroots member.