CPC Week 11

Wollongong Liberals versus NUS, USU Board bans Twitter

Pulling the Woll over their eyes

After the Liberals took over the Wollongong University Students’ Association (WUSA) in 2015, they disaffiliated from the Labor-run National Union of Students (NUS). The disaffiliation process happened via a referendum that recorded less than fifty votes out of a total student population numbering over 30,000. Now, like a child whose parents have donated a toy it no longer plays with, the NUS wants Wollongong back. A group of far left Socialist Alternative apparatchiks including NUS NSW education vice-president Chloe Rafferty and long-time Paulene Graham antagonist Omar Hassan have been spending a lot of time in Wollongong. According to current Liberal WUSA president Jasper Brewer, Rafferty has even enrolled as a student at Wollongong in order to more effectively solicit students to sign up to WUSA and eventually vote to re-accredit to the NUS. Rafferty did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication. Ironically for a student originally from Sydney, Brewer seemed aggrieved by the presence of non-Wollongong students on his campus. Similarly, like a recently divorced lover who talks constantly about how much they don’t miss their ex, three out of five Facebook posts by WUSA this year have been about the NUS. When asked for his take, former Labor WUSA president and NUS small and regional universities officer Peter Munford said that he was no longer involved in student politics and “would not comment on this issue”. Perhaps Munford is okay with someone else playing with his old toys.

USyd Update and Pulp get a room

In 2015, USyd Update began with grand ambitions of becoming the CNN of USyd, putting out videos weekly at times. Fast forward two years, and Update was on its death bed; so far this year, Update has only released three full, scripted videos. That is, until recently, when from deep in the bowels of the Manning Building came an offer Update simply couldn’t refuse. The USU gave Update a room, and with it, a new lease of life. The catch ­— Update now has to collaborate with the Pulp. We look forward to more travel diaries in video form.

USU, last institution to use term ‘liveblogging’, bans liveblogging

The University of Sydney Union just became a little more opaque. A change in communication and meeting policy announced at the last board meeting bans all board directors from tweeting or using Facebook during meetings. The justification is that it will prevent board directors from getting distracted. The USU does provide an anodyne Twitter feed of its meetings, but it covers only decisions made, rather than the full flow of debate. Honi will still be covering board, but it’ll be a little more lonely now as the USU steps a little closer to corporatisation.

While board meetings over the last two years have been fairly tame, past student directors have clashed with each other and the USU’s professional staff, yet ordinary students have had few ways to witness those conflagrations. Board meetings, which are held around lunchtime on weekdays, are impossible for most to attend. Until now, one could rely on opposing board directors tweeting their views on controversial motions. When the anti-abortion LifeChoice society appealed its rejection by the Clubs and Societies Committee to the baord back in 2013, a tweetstorm erupted between opposing board directors. That will not happen any more.