Although the SRC has been in full election season mode for the past two weeks (thankfully culminating in voting on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week – go vote!) our work hasn’t stopped in the slightest.
This time of year is one of the busiest for our casework staff, as they deal with discontinue not fail and census dates, show cause, special consideration applications, and various academic appeals. This work is particularly valuable and useful for students who are more vulnerable or disadvantaged when navigating the complex bureaucratic systems that make up our university, such as international students or students with disabilities. They can literally make the difference between students dropping out of uni or graduating with their degree.
At Academic Board last week, the SRC raised the issue of how the university can be more supportive of students with disabilities or carers roles – Carers Australia estimates that university students caring for sick or disabled relatives have an average 97% drop out rate across Australia. This is a shocking and totally unacceptable statistic and one which must be addressed if we are to achieve the vision that Sydney Uni was founded on, of providing quality education for all. The university must commit to providing safeguards and support structures to ensure that students with disabilities and caring responsibilities have the same chance of completing their degrees as their peers.
Meanwhile, our legal service has been busy continuing to prosecute the case for SCA students regarding the closure of the campus and the move to main campus, and working hard on a range of other issues including sexual assault and safety on campus, tenancy and migration rights, and many more. One of the big projects of the SRC in 2017 will be to secure a solicitor for the SRC who has experience dealing specifically with sexual assault cases, to continue to draw light to this important issue and ensure our reporting systems and support structures are fair, accessible, and just.
Your SRC is always here for you and we never stop working. If you need advice and support, give us a visit. It’s your SRC. Enjoy week nine!
When a lot of people think about queer rights I have noticed they tend to think solely about marriage equality, while of course the right to marry the person you love in so important I find that non-queer people don’t understand the full extent of discrimination and margination that comes from being apart of the LGBTQIA community. Access to adequate health and support services are essential for everyone’s well being yet to often queer people are neglected when it comes to these services as health practitioners are woefully under trained in regards to LGBTQIA issues.
I have found during my term as General Secretary that there is still such a need for a better understanding of marginalised identities too often I see people forgot that queer people, women, Indigenous people are people and the issues that we face are not limited to our identities but also that our marginalization is often intersectional.
University management needs to do more to support Queer students, the rainbow campus initiatives have been amazing while the Ally Network has been making huge improvements yet there is still so much more to be done. At the beginning of this semester Sydney Student allowed students to enter preferred names however there is still no place to indicated a person’s preferred pronouns. Also for a student to have their real name on their graduation certificate they need to go through the lengthy and costly process of official name change. Students continuing to work and push management for meaningful change is so important but we also need management to facilitate these changes and meet us students half way. I hope that the University of Sydney will not only pledge their official support for marriage equality but will also commit to making the lives of Queer students better through increased mental health and support services on campus.
As always please remember that our casework and legal service are here to help you. This is a free service provided by the SRC for all undergradutae studnets.
Welcome to week 9! This semester is flying by, and I can’t believe this is my final report as Wom*n’s Officer! The Wom*n’s Collective has been busy as ever – on Monday, we hosted the President of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, who spoke about the newly launched national survey on campus sexual assault. The survey is being rolled out at USyd this week, so look out for an email with details about participation! It’s important to note that while this research is obviously valuable, it must be complemented by substantive action from university management. We are still calling for the demands made in our August open letter to be implemented in full.
One group that often gets forgotten in the conversation around campus sexual assault is staff. Like students, staff are vulnerable to sexual assault and harassment in the workplace; staff can receive disclosures of sexual assault from students, which can be traumatic, especially for staff who have themselves experienced abuse or violence in the past. Staff have been supportive of the undergraduate-led campaign against sexual assault from day one, and we are extremely proud to launch a new network called Staff Against Rape, through which staff can access resources designed to support survivors, and take a pledge to stand with students on this issue. Check out our website at staffagainstrape.org, and give our Facebook page ‘Staffagainstrape’ a like and share. With the support of the Sydney branch of the National Tertiary Education Union behind us, we are so proud to have staff as allies in the fight against sexual assault on campus.
What’s up next for the Wom*n’s Collective? On Thursday 22 September, we are co-hosting an event with the Law Society, called ‘Sexual Violence and Women’s Rights in the Cyber World’. A panel of activists, lawyers and industry experts will discuss online harassment and misogyny – join us in the Law Lounge at 1pm on Thursday!
If you’d like to get involved with the Wom*n’s Collective, or you have any comments or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Welfare Department assisted in the Halal not Hanson BBQ that took place Wednesday 14 September on Eastern Avenue. This was a great success, with many students popping by to grab a halal snack pack, talk to fellow anti racists, and launch a water bomb at Pauline Hanson’s likeness. With the Muslim prayer room having been ransacked 5 or 6 times this year, and racist graffiti popping up all over campus, it is crucial we make a stand and show solidarity with Muslims on and off campus against racism. The appalling opening parliamentary speech by Pauline Hanson later that day shows what we’re up against.
The most recent federal budget cuts was the Welfare “Omnibus” bill, which cut $6.3 billion from the welfare state. This savage attack was passed with support from the ALP. All while Scott Morrison talks of the “taxed vs. taxed-nots”, as if it is students on Centrelink and not multinationals like Apple who are draining our taxes! The Welfare Department is totally opposed to these cuts and will resist them.