Sydney University Students’ Representative Council President Chloe Smith has been absent from two thirds of the meetings of the Academic Board and its committees this year.
As President, Smith is required to attend the Academic Board and three of its standing committees: Academic Standards and Policy, Undergraduate Studies, and Admissions. Publicly available minutes from each of of these indicate that Smith attended only seven of 19 meetings held so far this year. This analysis excludes meetings that were cancelled or held via email.
The Academic Board or its committees are often the sole opportunity for student representatives from the SRC and the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association to have input on changes to University policy in all areas of academic life.
The SRC’s caseworkers prepare briefings for the President which summarise and contextualise the content of meeting agendas and list specific items for the President to raise at each committee. A briefing for the most recent Academic Board meeting, which Smith attended, identified eight such items. 1 Honi understands that extensive briefings were prepared for nearly all of the meetings that Smith failed to attend.
Smith is able to nominate another SRC member to attend meetings on her behalf. She did this for just one meeting this year.
The missed meetings, which Smith is required to attend as President, included discussion of changes to academic dishonesty policy, special consideration and all elements of the academic restructure. The restructure includes the recent decision to reduce the 122 current degree options to just 42 in 2018.
Smith will be paid $40,208 this year, the federal full time minimum wage. Despite this, she also works for United Voice, a union which represents a variety of industries including hospitality workers and many casual employees.
Smith is a member of at least two other formal committees – the Senior Executive Group (Education) and Student Consultative Committee – that do not publish records of members’ attendance.
Smith did not respond to detailed questions and declined to comment on this article because it’s a “polling day”. A member of National Labor Students, Smith is supporting the Stand Up candidate, Isabella Brook, for SRC President in today’s elections.
As SRC President, Smith is required to review each Honi article for illegality prior to publication. Asked if she would do so in this case she initially declined, but subsequently agreed, when reminded that it is her job.
Voting for Smith’s successor is taking place on September 21 and 22.