As semester one draws to a close I thought this week’s report would be the perfect opportunity to update you all on the work I’ve done in my first six months as president of your SRC.
I’ve spent a large part of the year so far working with our General Secretaries, Dan and Bella, on the SRC’s budget for 2017. This has included negotiating our SSAF allocation and deciding on the internal budget of the SRC. Whilst this process hasn’t been entirely sunshine and roses I’m glad that we are able to continue to support our office bearers in the great activism they do and also continue to provide important services for students on campus.
This semester the SRC has put a broad focus on the federal state of higher education and student welfare. We’ve seen the federal government announce cuts to higher education, an increase in student fees and countless other attacks on young people like the slashing of penalty rates. The SRC has stood in vocal opposition to these attacks and we have strongly supported the National Union of Student’s campaign against the war on students. I will be attending NUS’ education conference over the winter break to continue this work.\
We’ve also been working closely with the National Tertiary Education Union and supporting them in their current round of Enterprise Bargaining. The SRC stands in firm solidarity with staff at Usyd and their campaign for better and fairer working conditions.
Amongst all this I have continued to raise important student issues with the university. This includes things like the lack of academic advice, affordable student housing and the need for concession opal cards for international students. I’ve advocated for a compulsory consent module to be introduced university wide. And we’ve been doing work around the centralisation of Student Admin and Special Consideration (keep an eye out for our student Survey that will launch Semester two).
The SRC has lots in store for next semester and we will continue to fight for the rights of students at USYD. Good luck with your end of semester assessments and exams and enjoy your well deserved break !
General Secretaries’ Report
Daniel Ergas and Isabella Pytka
A fitting sequel to the 2004 film classic, ‘Million Dollar Baby’, our 2017 budget bonanza – ‘$1.8 Million Dollar Baby’ – will be hitting SRC Council next week. (And yes, it really is our baby. We love it.) As General Secretaries, we have been working hard over the past two months to finalise this budget, and we are both incredibly proud of what is being presented. It is no small thing. We have consulted with each of the SRC collectives – the activists who work tirelessly for progressive change – as well as the SRC departments – who provide legal and casework help to undergraduate students – to fund new and existing projects that will make a tangible difference on campus. to make sure every undergraduate student on this campus is supported. You will be able to see the Budget on the SRC’s website when it is approved by Council – trust us when we say that is a cracking read. (Both Margaret and David give it five stars.)
Looking forward to Semester 2, we thought we should take the time to explain to you a phrase that you may not be familiar with: ‘Enterprise Bargaining’. To put it simply, the University has an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) with its staff. Conditions outlined in an EBA can include pay rates, entitlements, and so much more. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is one of the unions that represent staff on campus and has been negotiating with the University all through Semester 1. The three main asks include increased staff participation in the democratic life of the University, ruling out forced redundancies of staff over the life of the agreement (it lasts several years), and rights for casual workers, giving them fair pay and entitlements. The University has rejected the NTEU’s agenda. On June 8th, the NTEU will be voting on whether they take industrial action. Staff conditions are student conditions; if industrial action is called, stand with your lecturers and tutors.
So we have all made it, to the last week of Semester 1. Good luck with STUVAC and finals, and we will catch you in Semester 2.
B and D x
SRC Wom*ns Officers Report
Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn
This week has seen a spate of controversy surrounding the culture of male entitlement and sexism that exists at St. Paul’s, but also throughout the University.
We are not concerned about the man who made the sexist post – this isn’t the case of one bad resident. We’re concerned about half the college laughed at it and condoned its message. It’s clear there is an institutional failure within the colleges – especially all male colleges – to address a culture of disrespecting and degrading women, and unethical sex.
This event is just one high profile case that fits firmly within St. Paul’s long legacy of degrading women. In 2009 there was a “pro-rape” Facebook group called “Define Statutory: Pro-Rape, Anti-Consent”. The “She can’t say no with a cock in her mouth” graffiti. Multiple reported sexual assaults and rapes. The “animal act of the year” award going to a man accused of gang-rape. And most tragically, in 1977, an 18 year-old woman who was visiting was found beaten, raped, and murdered on the college oval.
Whilst we are pleased that St. Paul’s will join the Elizabeth Broderick review, the fact that students and survivors had to advocate for change shows how reactive the college’s decision was and how the safety of women is always secondary to reputational risk.
It’s clear that segregating wealthy men from the general university community creates a culture of toxic masculinity and entitlement that is inconsistent with basic codes of decency. With such a toxic culture entrenched in the college system, we must ask ourselves whether they have a place at all in the 21 century. [Short answer: No.]
If you want to join the fight against sexual violence on campus and within the broader community – email USyd WoCo at email@example.com
SRC Queer Officers Report
Connor Parissis and Will Edwards
Everything is fine. Semester one has been successful for the Queer Action Collective (QuAC), with some obvious hiccups only standard for such an active group. With assistance from the USU, we created a terrific Pride Week that was educational and enjoyable! Our best events included an educational, inspiring Queer&A Panel, comedy and karaoke, and an impressive rainbow flag chalking on Eastern Avenue. We’ve been collaborating immensely with groups on certain actions, including the Chechnya rally, the National Day of Action and the Palm Sunday rally, and have participated in on-campus actions involving anti-fascist actions and protesting the Red Pill screening. QuAC were delighted to have collaborated with the Wom*n’s Collective on an effective stunt against the politicians who voted against decriminalizing abortion.
The collective are working closely together to rectify internalized issues that have become publicized. The Queer Officers are very passionate about maintaining a collective that is safe and productive. Additionally, keep your eyes peeled for an impressive, large-scale ‘Students for Safe Schools’ campaign, a protest at the Indonesian Consulate standing in solidarity with queer people overseas (16th June), and a sexual assault campaign addressing same-sex attracted people. We look forward to future actions, and remain awe-inspired by the amount of member engagement remaining at this time of semester. We hope to see you joining us for End of Semester Queer Beers at Hermann’s Bar, 7 June 5pm.
Connor & Will