One week down and already some big developments happening for USyd students! Following the announcement just before winter break that the university was looking to sell off the Sydney College of the Arts campus at Rozelle, an historic site that has housed the fine arts school since it’s establishment in 1974, students were informed last Thursday that the proposed merger with COFA (the UNSW arts school) is off and the SCA will instead be merged with the Arts and Social Sciences faculty on main campus.
Why is this significant? First of all, despite promises from university management that student reps would be kept informed about updates, neither myself nor the SUPRA President received notification from the university about the change. This is the latest in a long line of concerns students and staff have raised with management regarding lack of consultation, and doesn’t help the impression that the university is concerned with only the bare minimum of consultation around these significant changes.
Secondly, although many students have regarded the failure of the UNSW merger as a success for the Let SCA Stay campaign, the proposal to move onto main campus raises a whole new set of concerns. These primarily focus on the availability of facilities for students, such as kilns, gallery and workspace, and filming rights, which main campus doesn’t cater for. Naturally, there are widespread concerns that many of the courses SCA students have enrolled in or planned to study may have to be cut or significantly altered as part of the move. This also has a flow-on effect for SCA staff, future students, and students undertaking honours and postgrad courses.
More broadly, the closure of the Rozelle campus, a space specifically designated for and catering to the study and practice of fine arts, with the aim of developing artists to contribute to the national and international scene, has raised many concerns about the future of arts in Sydney: how much value does Sydney Uni, and universities more broadly, place in teaching and learning as opposed to profit-making and the bottom line? And what does this mean for us and future generations of students to come?
If you want to find out more and get involved in the campaign, visit the Let SCA Stay Facebook page. Enjoy week two!
As I write this, news has just broken that the so-called ‘merger’ of SCA with the UNSW Arts and Design school. This is a milestone victory for the Let SCA Stay campaign, and shows that coordinated action from staff, students and community can successfully challenge top-down management decisions. However, the fight is nowhere near over: the University still wants to squeeze SCA into smaller facilities on main campus. Sustained action is necessary to keep SCA where it belongs at Callan Park, and to reinstate the Bachelor of Visual Arts as its own degree, rather than collapsing visual arts into the BA. I urge everyone to get involved in the campaign: follow ‘Let SCA Stay’ on Facebook and Twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with the organisers.
At a university that seems bent on sacrificing the quality of our education for corporate profits, there is a more pressing need than ever to build a strong student movement and create our own platforms for education and resistance that don’t depend on academic structures. As much as we need to fight against further neoliberalisation of the academy, this needs to be complemented by autonomous student spaces and genuine engagement with non-academic community struggles. The SRC will be hosting the inaugural Radical Education Week in Week 5 to promote the sharing of knowledge and skills between collectives and the broader student population. Activists, officebearers and collective members from the SRC are are hard at work organising an amazing program of workshops, talks, skillshares and film screenings that will all be free for everyone to attend. Keep an eye out for the full program – follow us at facebook.com/radedweek, or drop us an email at email@example.com.
Welcome to Semester 2 week 2! Hopefully most of you are yet to miss a lecture and are still in the ‘this is my semester’ mode. Last week Honi Soit published a piece about the failure of the new Special Consideration system where students truly suffering have been rejected by an inhumane system that shows little compassion to students. This system is unacceptable and I want to assure students that your Student Representative Council is doing everything in its power to fight this. I understand that students may feel like there is nothing to be done but if you need assistance remember that our free casework service is here to support you while your student representatives are here to fight for you.
Another issues that has recently come to my attention is the amount of lecturers opting out of lecture recordings, choosing to not upload them or deciding to activity not speak into the mic. These actions go against University policy which require lecturers to provide a good reason to opt out of recording, and that reason can’t be we want more people to turn up to lectures. Lecturers decision to opt out affects people with disabilities, people with clashes and people who need to work to support themselves and don’t have the luxury of being able to come to every class. I am currently compiling a report to present to University management about this situation and its effects on students, if you have experienced a lecturer unfairly deciding not to record the lecture please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org your anonymity will be assured.
I would also like to remind everyone about some of the collectives that the SRC offers, Wom*n’s collective meets every Monday at 1pm in the Women’s room in Manning, the Environment Collective also meets weekly you can find out what time by joining the facebook group ‘USYD Enviro Collective 2016’ and the Education Action Group meets every Tuesday at 2pm on the Law Lawns. For a full list of the SRC departmens and collectives as well as their contact details check out our website http://srcusyd.net.au/
– In love and rage
Aparna Balakumar, Elizabeth Mora, Lamya Rahman, & Adam Ursino
Hi everyone! We have had a very busy semester break and an exciting start to this semester.
Last Monday, ACAR collaborated with the Philosophy department to organise and deliver a series of talks about damaging imaginaries that intersect experiences including feminism, race and governmentality. The event was a great success and well received by both collective members and the student community in general.
During the winter holidays, two office bearers – Adam Ursino and Lamya Rahman – attended the first ever national ethnocultural conference at the University of Melbourne. We’d like to thank Betty Belay, NUS’s Ethnocultural Officer for organising the conference.
The conference alerted us to the fact that the SRC’s Ethnocultural Department is one of only eight equivalent departments or collectives within the student organisations of Australian universities.
This functions as an inspiring reminder that USyd, in terms of ethnocultural representation, inhabits a space of relative privilege. It’s important for us to use the resources available to us, and our attempts to do that man that we have a very busy semester ahead of us!
Towards the end of semester, we’ll be producing an ACAR edition of Honi Soit, showcasing diverse and traditionally marginalised voices on campus.
While there have been some delays in our communication with the USU, we are in the process of attaining an ethnocultural space! We will continue updating you in the coming weeks, and look forward to holding meetings and other events regularly.
If you’d like to keep up to date with what the collective will be up to this semester, feel free to like our Facebook page (facebook.com/usydacar) or join the ACAR group (facebook.com/groups/168430210190760). Please note that to join the group, you must first be a member of the University of Sydney group.
We hope you have a brilliant start to semester!