SRC ELECTIONS 2018

USU Board candidate interview: Rebeccah Miller

The full transcript of Honi's interview with 2018 Union Board candidate, Rebeccah Miller

USUBec

NLS | Arts II | Quiz Score: 45%
Interviewed by Elijah Abraham and Janek Drevikovsky


HS: Could you please state your name, degree, and year

BM: My name’s Rebeccah or Bec, I’m studying Arts and I’m in second year

HS:  and your slogan?

BM: My slogan is Bright, Bold Bec

HS: Colours?

BM: I’m running on hot pink

HS: So why would you say you’re running for the USU?

BM: So I guess what’s really driving me to run is I’ve kind of been on the outside of the ACCESS program. When I first started university, my first O-Week, I couldn’t afford ACCESS. $75 was just too much for me at that time. I had textbooks to buy, I didn’t think it was worth it, I didn’t really understand what all the benefits from it. So I couldn’t join any clubs or societies, didn’t go to any events, I didn’t make a lot of new friends and my first year, or my first semester was quite sad. And since then, when I finally got ACCESS, I realised the actual great benefits that it has and how it really does make university all the things that you imagine it to be.

All the fun things at least. So I think that gives me a lot of perspective and allows me to be critical of the USU because I’ve seen how it doesn’t engage students and how students can be left out. And I think the biggest challenge for the USU in the coming years is going to be being relevant to students. And engaging them. So I think I have a lot to bring there. Because I understand that. I, you’ll see in my policies, a lot of them, they’re not coke in the bubbler style policies. They’re what students really need and what makes ACCESS and the USU really make a difference for students.

HS: Is ACCESS really as crucial as you say it is for students involving themselves in Uni life, I mean there are lots of parties that people can go along to, club events which you can pay, admittedly a slightly higher entrance fee for but you’re not barred from coming along because of a lack of ACCESS.  

BM: Well, having ACCESS, it means you can actually be a member of those clubs and societies and that’s where students really get involved and they really make those experiences that add value to their student, or their university experience. As well as developing their skills as well.

HS: So I guess, are you saying that for students who don’t have ACCESS they’re necessarily doing uni in a less good way. They’re taking their time through uni in a way that’s less valuable because they lack ACCESS?

BM: Yeah I really think so, that was kind of my experience. When I got ACCESS, it really makes a big difference, even down to the discounts.

HS: So what about those students who choose not to get ACCESS even if they could afford ACCESS?  

BM: Yeah well, I mean everyone’s free to make that choice. But, and if they don’t want to get involved in Clubs and Societies that’s fine for them. There’s also lots of other things you can get involved in – collectives. Yeah but, I still think ACCESS is really worthwhile.

HS: Are you in a political faction?

BM: Yeah so I am, I am a member of NLS which is National Labor Students. They’re Labor left faction here on campus.

HS: What’s your faction’s policies, how would you describe it politically?

BM: So it’s Labor Left, it’s very left-wing, very progressive, very progressive on social issues.

HS: And how do you think that translates to a platform for USU board?

BM: That’s an interesting question. I think definitely in terms of making the board and the USU maybe more left wing. We have kind of seen the USU over the past few years kind of become more corporatised, which obviously is necessary to keep the USU financially feasible. But I think the USU, it also has a role to play in providing student welfare. And I think that, left-wing progressive ideas is, yeah, where that really happens.

HS: Do you have any examples of left-wing ideas the USU should be implementing?

BM: Well, one of my policies is a sex and consent campaign during O-Week which I think is a good example.

HS: You use the word left-wing a lot, what does it mean to be left-wing?

BM: I think, to use more buzzwords, to be more progressive. Yeah.

HS: But in terms of being a union, how is a union, oh sorry, the USU as a service provider, how does it function as left-wing?

BM: I guess, um, uh, I’m not sure.

HS: I guess would you want to see the USU getting involved in protests?

BM: Well in terms of USU’s position as, in regards to activism, I think activism is more the role of the SRC. But I would like to see the USU definitely play a more supportive role in terms of supporting the SRC’s activism and the SRC as a whole. I’d like to see a lot more collaboration there.

HS: Would you vote to give money to SRC campaigns?

BM: I mean, I would look at it on a case by case basis probably. But, one of the main aims of the USU is to better student interests and student conditions. And a lot of the stuff the SRC is fighting for is to do that. So I think those two aims really align.

HS: But surely if you position yourself as left-wing, wouldn’t you take a look at the huge resources that the USU has compared to the SRC and say well, these are resources we should be spending on direct action, we should be getting out there and mobilising students. If particularly, what you want to oppose is corporatisation?

BM: No I really don’t think that is the role of the USU. It is to provide the student experience and I guess, you’re referring to the reserves of the USU that the USU has and which is really vital to the functioning of the USU and it spends money to perpetuate itself so it can keep providing services. If it gives out money to too many campaigns or activist endeavours, like you’re suggesting, then there’s no return on that, in terms of that.

HS: But hold on, what’s the point then in billing yourself as left-wing if you accept that this is a corporate entity, it’s a service provider, you’re talking in terms of return and finances and keeping the organisation going, if you accept all those things, and this is about student welfare, ultimately, isn’t this just throwing around the buzzword of left-wing, whereas the reality is very different?

BM: No, I think the USU can still be left-wing without spending all of it’s resources on activist campaigns. It can still support students without running activist campaigns and without functioning in the way that SRC does.

HS: What about students who aren’t left-wing?

BM: Well, I think it’s, they’ll still feel the benefits of the more left-wing USU. Even if-

HS: How so?

BM: So if the USU does, for example, support campaigns of the SRC or for example, my idea of a sexual harassment and consent campaign during OWeek, students that happen to be more right-wing will still feel the effects of that.

HS: What about, I mean presumably, would you vote for instance to shut the USU during NTEU strikes in solidarity?

BM: Yeah, so I am a strong unionist and I believe in solidarity. I probably, if, it were a hypothetical vote, it won’t be in my hypothetical term, I probably would vote to support the strikes, unless there was information made available to me, that proved it to be financially just unfeasible.

HS: So does that, would that benefit students who aren’t left-wing, who might want to use the USU’s services and wouldn’t be able to for the duration of the strike?

BM: Well, so I do believe in unionism and solidarity. And the staff working conditions are student learning conditions and I believe in the bigger idea that those strikes will benefit students in the long term.

HS: I mean, I guess you believe this but there are lots of people who use the USU services who are militantly opposed to unionism, in fact, the union should be a service provider and that’s it. So it seems like there’s a tension between saying, on the one hand, union is a corporate service provider and that you should be looking out for it’s bottom line so you can continue benefitting student welfare in general, but on the other hand, billing yourself as left-wing, how do you resolve that tension, particularly when some students will definitely disagree with your decision to close the union?

BM: Yeah, sure. I think that is very valid and it is a big tension. It’s a big tension that plays out even on the board itself between particular directors. But, I, still believe in the long-term value of solidarity with the striking staff, and the strikes are just a couple of days. Students not being able to use those outlets on those particular days is not going to you know, have long lasting effects on them. It’s more just a minor inconvenience.

HS: Just one more question on politics, is NLS a binding faction?

BM: Yep. So NLS is a faction that binds on certain decisions but it really doesn’t come into play in regards to board directors. If I were to become a director, any USU matters that I would be bringing to the caucus would just be in a purely, consultative scenario, so just asking for second opinions, advice. Also, so much of the board business is confidential, so it can’t be shared with the caucus anyway. So I can’t be bound to follow any decision, because, in that case, then, the caucus becomes shadow-directors which is not on.

HS: So you are guaranteeing that the caucus will never bind you on any matter?

BM: Yeah, if there were some big disagreement and I was in the scenario where, I was being pressured to bind. Which is very unlikely because we all share similar values anyway.

HS: Right so you mentioned confidential information, that goes in hand with certain duties which board directors have to the board, on the other hand, you’re very keen to stress your left-wing commitment which presumably comes with a set of values. If you were required to do something by your board duties which you thought violated those left-wing values or wasn’t in student’s best interests, would you take that action and act against your duties?

BM: Yep. Well I guess this conversation or this question comes up a lot in light of the Tom Raue saga from a couple of years. In regards to my fiduciary duties, I think I would set the bar a lot higher than Tom Raue and I really, breaking fiduciary duties would be um the absolute last option, I would pursue every single other avenue before it came to that. That being said, if I were to come into the knowledge of really really extreme information, about the welfare of students or something like that, then it is something that I would consider. And, take on responsibilities and repercussions of that.

HS: What’s the USU Club or Society that you value most?

BM: That’s an interesting question. I would say revues but they’re actually, they’re not clubs and societies anymore. Actually I think a really important one and maybe a bit undervalued is, well not undervalued, but I think, less known, is SURG. I’m a really big fan of SURG, it’s one of my policies to make it, to move it from a club and society to a program.

HS: Let’s talk about that SURG policy. Is that really your policy?

BM: Well, yes, I am running on it.

HS: Is it a policy that you came up with? As opposed to the current SURG executive?

BM: Well, no, so it’s not something that I’ve come up with myself, I didn’t just have it. I have a lot of friends involved in SURG and I know that the SURG executive is looking to/has been working on making this transition from a club, to a program. But I really like the idea and I think it has a lot of potential. I think, it really needs director support to make it happen.

HS: So, why do you think it’s important for SURG to transition to a program.

BM: Yep, so, being a program. So being a program goes hand in hand with SURG making the transition to digital radio, which will allow it to be broadcast through Sydney and on USU outlets as well. The significance of it becoming a program is it’ll help it kind of more administratively, it’ll be similar to the revues transition to programs in that, SURG would like receive a lot more support, not just in funding, but in training for exec as well as probably, we’ll see some like extra help from USU staff.

HS: At the same time, you said that it’s important for a director to support this. What kind of support are you going to give to this transition, beyond just voting for it?

BM: Well, I’d like to be really involved in making it happen, whether that’s in a working party, or however it comes into being. Yeah I’d like to work with the staff to see that the change happens in the best way for SURG.

HS: How are you going to be framing this policy during the election campaign? Are you going to be standing up and saying “I have this big idea, it’s to make SURG into a program, this is radical and new and you should vote for it” or are you going to be telling the truth, which is this something which is already in motion and you’re just committing yourself to support it.

BM: Well, I think it’s not, it is a motion but it’s still in the very early stages. I think how I’ll be selling it to students, well not selling it, but telling students about it, is like, SURG may not be something that they’ve really heard about, so I’ll definitely be telling them about it and how great it is, and, what was your question again?

HS: How are you going to represent whether this is a nice, new, shiny policy that you’re bringing to them or whether it’s something, which, the credit can kind of probably en bulk be claimed by the current executive?

BM: Well I guess I wouldn’t really say that’s true, we’ve had a lot of discussion with them and they really appreciate the support and would really like to work with us as well. I think I’ll just be selling it truthfully, to how I interpret it.

HS: Can you name a USU initiative or policy in recent years that has impressed you?

BM: So I think I’d say well I’m a really big fan of Liliana and Adam’s work in introducing more sanitary items into USU. Sorry, sanitary bins into USU bathrooms. Just kind of more broadly. I’ve been really impressed by Koko’s work. And her revitalization of the international student portfolio and she’s done a whole heap of work including making a USU WeChat to connect with that community more.

HS: Of the candidates running this year, who are your top three and who would you work well with?

BM: So first, I would probably say Connor. I really like Connor. We get along really well. I’ve seen him in action at National Conference and in the SRC. He’s got a lot of those collaborative skills that I think are really important on the board and he works really hard and is very diligent. I think he would be a good addition and I’d love to work with him.

And also, importantly, he’s in centre-unity which is another Labor faction. Does that influence your support

Yes. Well I guess in terms of that we share a lot of similar politics. Yeah that’s probably the extent of it. Second I would say Maya. She’s another left wing candidate and I was really impressed by her policies especially around her wanting to make better ` improving the relationship between SRC and the USU which is something that I share as well. And third I would say Janet I was really really impressed when I met her. She’s really bright. I think she’d bring a lot of energy to the board. A lot of new ideas and I really see her on board.

HS: So have you done preference deals with these three candidates?

BM: No I haven’t started looking at preferences as something that’s going to happen probably until campaigning has started proper. In terms of who I think I’ll be preferencing, I’m really not sure. It would be. I would love to preference those candidates but I don’t want to say anything final because I haven’t made a decision at all.

HS: Out of the candidates, who do you think you wouldn’t be able to work with and why?

BM: Yeah I would probably say Lachlan, we get along fine but we would probably just clash over our politics. He’s running as an independent but he is a member of the Liberal Party and part of the liberals on campus. I really don’t think that the Liberals have the best interests of students at heart.

HS: Are there any specific policies of his that you’re in disagreement with?

BM: I think his policies were fine.

HS: But the labelling of who’s liberal, who’s labor, who can be more progressive or do better for corporate entities. Seems like you and Lachlan have some pretty similar touchstones, in his interview with us, he said that he was all for student welfare, for as many students as possible. You also mentioned that was important for the to be a sustainable organization. He talked a little bit like you did in terms of returns and spending of the Union’s budget. Sensibly. Are there any real differences between you.

BM: Like I said I think I get along with him fine. We’d probably,I’m sure we would work together find on board. But if I had to pick someone last it would probably be a Lachlan just because of his politics.

HS: In terms of if you do get elected then, who would you vote for in the upcoming board presidential election?

BM: Okay so as I understand it, it’s Liliana and Jacob who were interested. In that case I’d be voting Liliana. Mostly, just because I think she would make a really amazing president and I know she works really hard behind the scenes doing a lot of the nitty gritty unglamorous work as well as she’s just really really passionate about the USU and I think she’d make a great president. And I guess I probably wouldn’t be voting for Jacob again, the liberal thing. As well as their, his conduct during the SASS AGM and stuff. Yeah I guess it’s not really the conduct you can expect from a president.

HS: Do you support the board’s affirmative action policy?

BM: Yeah yeah 100 percent.

HS: Would you support a similar policy for international students.

BM: Yeah sure, I would definitely as principal, I’d like to see how it would work exactly. And but yeah no 100% International, the international community is a huge portion of students and really important to the USU.

HS: On another USU policy, you might be aware of recent changes to alcohol funding for Clubs and Societies which means they can now no longer get alcohol funding unless it’s at a USU outlet. Do you support this policy?

BM: Yeah I do. And I think clubs and societies need to be drinking and holding events where alcohol is consumed, is consumed in a safe environment and having it on USU outlets allows for it to be that safe environment. I think.

HS: What makes the USU safer than other environments that also liquor licenses?

BM: I guess the fact that it’s on campus and it’s under the university’s security. Yes.

HS: There was a lot of controversy with that change because a lot of C&S executives felt like they weren’t consulted properly. How do you think you would manage that change.

BM: Yeah I guess that is a fair criticism. I think a lot more consultation I guess, was needed. In terms of how that was, how that would work. I guess probably I think the best method would be meetings, physical meetings where clubs and societies execs or whoever with concerns can actually talk to the directors or USU staff who is actually making a change and can express their concerns in person.

HS: If you think there wasn’t enough consultation, do you think that there are any issues with the policy as it stands?

BM: No I. I still support the policy.

HS: Do you think it’s the USU’s role to, if it is case where the USU thinks it’s the best outcome scenario for C&S, even if C&S disagree. Do you think it’s the USU’s role to sort of parent that?

BM: The USU does really need to be sensitive to the degree that clubs and societies disagree or agree. And if it is overwhelming disagreement then that really needs to be taken into consideration.

HS: This comes up a lot with the candidates we’ve been talking to this year. It’s really easy to say well the obvious thing a board director should do is act in students’ best interests. What is in students’ best interests. When you admit that clubs and societies disagree between them immensely. How would you go about solving those disagreements and doing what you think, as a board director, is the right thing to do.

BM: Yeah. Well I guess I guess everyone does have their own interpretation of what is in students’ best interests. I think you can use a lot of markers though, in terms of alcohol policy. I think the board was thinking, or the USU was thinking that, maybe parties and stuff we’re getting a bit out of control. I don’t know. Yeah. And I think that the unions duty is more to primarily to the safety of students as well. And maybe something that’s something that clubs and societies can’t maybe can’t see the USU and directors see. All the clubs and societies and the USU they see it on a broader picture.

HS: So you so do you think the USU should be, should the USU be bowing to pressure from the University at times especially considering SSAF negotiations and the like.

BM: Yes. No I think the USU shouldn’t bow to pressure from the university. It’s fundamentally a democratic student organization and it should be what the students want.

HS: But then stuff comes into play later during SSAF negotiations. Obviously for the USU’s interests, you want to try and make it the best outcome for the union, and how would you go about negotiating the tension that exists there?

BM: I guess there is a fine line to walk between not jeopardizing SSAF negotiations or something. But I think the union has a strong record of pushing student interests not always not always just bowing to what the university wants and SSAF negotiations or SSAF is increasing every year.

HS: It’s tough, it’s one that takes a lot of dealing with people. Which brings us on to I guess, how your experience sets you up for success in this role. So I mean compared to some of the other candidates you list not very much experience. You say that you’re a welfare officer at the SRC and director of student publications, for about ten months of this year so far. Is that enough experience to head up a $28 million organisation?

BM: Okay, so yeah that’s a fair question. Like I said before my involvement with the union, has been kind of slight, up until this point or up until the end of last year. But I think being involved in clubs and societies is not a prerequisite for being a be a good board director. I think the most important thing for directors is those collaboration skills which I have. I have experience in through my position as welfare officer on the SRC. And I think even more important than that is passion for the USU and dedication to get to get what you want done and to achieve actual change. And I think in terms of know being a 28 million dollar organization I don’t think really any 18 19 20 year old has that kind of experience. But we still have directors and they’re still capable of learning their necessary skills that they need. Passion to learn that and to understand the organization and having a good idea eye for detail and really understanding.

HS: I guess if it’s about learning on the job, then you actually have to show up and put your foot in, in your role as a DSP of the SRC, one of your obligations is to come on a certain number of Sundays to read through Honi before it goes to print. Is it true that you’ve only done that once out of three scheduled times.

BM: Yes so. That is true. And it’s also another very fair criticism. I guess the difference between DSP and my potential role as a board actor is that there is, with a board director, if you miss two meetings without leaves of absences or apologies, it’s kind of like two strikes you’re out. With DSP, there is there is no kind of disciplinary action. And I actually think it’s a big problem for that.

HS: So only if you were forced to be there would you show up?

BM: No that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is with DSP and I’m not the only DSP that hasn’t showed up, it’s I think it’s a structural problem.

HS: It’s a very low standard to hold yourself to.

BM: Yeah. I’ll finish. So why I missed the two meetings was one I was very sick the other I just had to go to work. And the problem with DSP is that there is no system in place for us to really, the set up for someone to cover our shifts to start with. I’m not sure who the other DSPs are. And in any case there’s no point contacting them because they don’t cover their own shift. So Imogen has reached out to us and is wanting to start with having a meeting about it. But I would like to see a lot of change come to that role.

HS: This is a role that you receive a stipend for, it’s a substantial role.

BM: Uh, no there’s no stipend. Oh the director?

HS: The directorship, yeah, yeah. In which do you think it’s just the money that would be motivating you to participate more than with the comparable DSP which isn’t paid?

BM: No definitely not. It is a paid role so there is a lot more expectation and a lot more work is required of it as compared to DSP. And that’s something I’m fully prepared for. It’s not just one Monday on Monday morning where I just had to go to work or I was really sick. They’re very different. But I do understand your criticism.

HS: I suppose a follow up question with the DSP is, do you intend to continue that role if you are elected?

BM: Probably if I was elected as a doctor I would probably rescind that DSP role. I think DSP, welfare and board director would be way too much.

HS: You’re talking a lot about dedication and passion, all of those are great, a lot of USU candidates go up with those platforms. But much of USU day to day work is very heavy admin work. Yes. Going through the ins and outs of policy administration, liaise with all the different offices in the USU and obviously the experience that you have doesn’t sort of promise that you can sort of step up to administration roles. How do you think you would be able to approach them?

BM: Well I think administrative work and behind the scenes work is and as well as collaborative work is really where I thrive. In my role as a welfare officer is a lot of working behind the scenes a lot working on policy. And I really think that I have that dedication and eye for detail.

HS: I guess a lot of it isn’t just about stepping through policies though, it seems from observing what the USU does, a lot of it is liaising with people and managing staff who are often far more experienced in that particular area than you are. I mean some of the USU staff have been there for tens of years. You’ve got a policy platform, you’ve got a vision for the USU that you want to bring about. How can you ensure that you can actually bring that about when there might be very different views on the staff body from people who think they’re more qualified to actually run this thing than a bunch of students.

BM: Well I guess to start with, I guess ticking off policies isn’t the main role of a director. Sometimes even policies they’re not feasible when they actually go into the building room whatever. So in terms of working with staff and getting your policies actually through. I don’t think it’s such a contentious workplace or relationship as you kind of describe just then. I think it is more collaborative and that you have fewer staff who are really there to help the directors and I think the directors just really … I think the USU staff really appreciate a director that has a lot of passion and has a strong vision of what they want to get done.

HS: So talking about the difficulty of directors achieving their policy platforms. One policy that comes up again and again is reducing the price of access or changing it to some kind of different payment model, that’s something which, in the four years that I’ve been at uni now has been promised every year and it’s never happened. You’ve got a similar policy. How are you going to make that happen?

BM: Well I think afterpay or introducing afterpay or a similar application maybe zippay as well. Is a bit different in that it’s not transforming the way access is sold. It’s not changing the amount that is being paid. It’s just changing the way that it is it is paid in making it easier to pay for students to budget.

HS: Just so we can understand the logistics of that, are you saying that people would still pay the full $75, they’d have to sign some contract saying they’d pay the full $75 and then we’ll get the pay in instalments.

BM: Yes so. How Afterpay works is you purchase whatever it is, it’s used a lot for online shopping. So in this case you purchase access and you don’t have to pay anything straight away after pay the company afterpay pays pay the full price of the of the product. And pay it straight to the to the seller. So the union in this case and the student then pays back the seventy five dollars in installments. So it’s $18.75 over two months, so $18.75 over two weeks.

HS: So I mean I guess for students who are the ones who really can’t access ACCESS. Who really can’t afford ACCESS at the moment. Is this going to make such a big difference. I mean $18.75 is still substantial when you consider that people are living close to the Australian poverty line.

BM: Sure. So this definitely wouldn’t be to replace the current low SES ACCESS scheme. I think that really needs to be expanded. I think it’s not advertised enough as well. And I think if you afterpay were to increase membership significantly then the money from that could definitely be used to expand the low SES ACCESS scheme.

HS: So do you expect that Afterpay will increase membership

BM: I really think that it has the potential to make a big difference. Seventy five dollars is such is such a lot of money for students and stops a lot of people from buying it. Yes.

HS: Also are you suggesting sort of outsourcing the actual logistics of it to Afterpay.

BM: Yes so, after. Not after, not outsourcing Afterpay or Zippay.

HS: Or contracting them?

BM: I’m not exactly sure how the logistics works. So Afterpay offer this service for all different types of stores. And it would be integrated into the current payment system. It’s like when you pay for something online you have the option to use PayPal. It’s similar to that.

HS: Do you know if it’s something that can actually be done because I don’t know that much about Afterpay, it seems kind of new to me.

BM: Yeah definitely. I think it’s completely feasible that’s why I’m running on it.

HS: Do you think it’s feasible or do you know that it’s something that can actually happen?

BM: Well I would definitely like to find out the USU staffs opinion.

HS: I mean in terms of actually liaising with after pay or ezipay or the third party company who would handle it.

BM: Yeah sure. I don’t I don’t see why there would be any problems with that. in the end the USU is still paid and Afterpay or Zippay whoever is still paid.

HS:  Yep the definition of a member of the USU in the USU constitution is something like somebody who has paid for their fees. That entitles you to a kind of membership. How are you going to navigate that, seems like you’ve got a kind of legal difficulty. In that students won’t actually pay their fees up until the payment is complete?

BM: So in the eyes of the USU it will be that they have paid instantly because. Because afterpay foots their fee immediately.

HS: One of your other bosses, then, is for student music and lunch times at Hermann’s. (Yep.) How is this different from what Funch already does on Wednesday or when there are Wednesday USU events on Eastern Avenue that involve live student music performances.

BM: Well I guess it’s just another expansion. With the focus being on Hermann’s and improving that outlet particularly as well putting a spotlight on student musicians and supporting them. The idea of them performing at lunchtime it would be a paid role and is something that was happening at Manning a couple of years ago. And I’d really to see it happen at Hermann’s.

HS: Do you think, I mean since the renovation at Hermann’s, a lot of criticism we’ve been hearing is now the space is no longer fit for live performance. Is that a concern that you have?

BM: No, I think the current floorspace is very large and a bit underused. Yeah I think there’s definitely room to introduce a stage or a performance area. And I think having that outdoor portion makes a really good choice for that.

HS: On another one of your policies, you talk about introducing clean energy during the Wentworth reconstruction. What do you mean by clean energy there?

BM: So it would obviously have to be figured out in relation to the actual building that is going to be constructed and what’s going to work for that building. I mean a good starting point would be solar panels. Obviously I’m not an engineer and I’m not sure what’s going to work best for that for that particular building. But there is a lot of technology out there that can incorporate clean energy into the design?

HS: It seems like the level of detail that you just gave us, saying that you can’t be sure what the energy will be along with the way that the policy itself is framed is that you’ll demand clean energy. It seems like this is a radical platform rather than a meaningful policy that a board director of a corporate entity with $28 million dollars of budget might put into place. Is this something that’s just too diffuse for you to achieve?

BM: No I wouldn’t agree with that. So the reason it has to be vague is the plans for Wentworth are

still ongoing, the details haven’t been finalized at all and now is the time to be for the USU to be demanding what they want from that space. And Wentworth probably will not be built in my university career time. But it will be very soon after that and now is the time to be making our demands known because it’s the time that the building is being developed or the plans for the building are being developed.

HS: Would you also support a name change for Wentworth?

BM: Oh yes certainly.

HS: The final policy that we wanted to ask about what is your policy for OWeek sex and consent festival or (campaign) that’s the word, as well as trained first responders. Why the focus on OWeek?

BM: Well it’s the focus on OWeek, OWeek is in light of the findings from the Broderick Review and the RedZone report which found which both reports and other investigations as well have identified OWeek as the peak time for assaults to occur; one eighth of all sexual assaults in the university year occur during OWeek which is a phenomenal amount. And yes. So that’s why the focus is on OWeek.

HS: I think that’s really commendable. There’s been recent concerns though as well that a lot of club and society events throughout the year are plagued by sexual assault or suggestions of it. I mean there were recent issues with SubSki that tended in that direction. Would you support. Would you support trained responders appearing at more club and society events?

BM: Yeah definitely. I think, a campaign at OWeek as well as the training of more first responders and club and execs training in general. I think the campaign at OWeek is just the starting point. I would definitely to see it expanded.  

Note: this is a full transcript of an Honi Soit candidate interview. Some words have been edited for clarity.