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USyd Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence is on QandA tonight

The National Union of Students is organising a sneaky protest, which you can support from your favourite armchair.

QANDAARTICLE

After a week of stuvac, things are looking dire. You’ve procrasti-binged the entire Netflix back catalogue. Your room has been stress-cleaned to hospital grade standards. There’s nowhere left to run—and it’s almost like you’ll have to actually study. But never fear, Honi has your back: tonight only you can dedicate a whole hour watching USyd’s very own Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence answer uncomfortable questions in a public forum while some student politicians chant slogans and maybe even throw their shoes.

Tune in to the ABC at 9:35 AEST for QandA, Austraia’s favourite political panel show. Tonight’s episode is called “Defence, Diversity and Higher Education”, and will also feature Simon Jackman, the CEO of USyd’s United States Studies Centre.

The other panellists will be Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds, Federal Labor MP Tim Watts and Aubrey Blanche, global head of diversity at software company Altassian (because there’s nothing more diverse than a panel of five rich white people).

Hot-button issues are likely to be:

  • University investment in the arms industry
  • The Ramsay Centre’s controversial proposal for a Western Civilisation course at USyd
  • The higher education funding freeze
  • Universities’ treatment of international students
  • Chinese and American foreign influence
  • How many war criminals there are in the SAS
  • Whether self-congratulating questions and tortuous, evasive answers are the highest form of political discourse
  • Whether Tony Jones will take that as a comment

If that’s not enough fun, the National Union of Students (NUS) will be there making some noise.

“Angry students are descending on the ABC Ultimo studios this Monday night”, according to the NUS. With tonight’s weather, it’s unclear whether students are descending on anything other than Netflix and hot soup.

But those who do show up will be “demanding that universities cut all ties with the Ramsay Centre and the war industry, calling for more money to fund higher education and financial independence of academic institutions”.

USyd has invested over $15 million in arms companies, including in Thales, where our illustrious Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson serves as a board member. The United States Studies Centre also has close ties to weapons manufacturing, notably through a partnership with missile makers Northrop Grumman.

NUS will also be protesting USyd’s proposed course in Western civilisation, which is set to be funded by the conservative Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. The ANU recently rejected a similar proposal from the Centre, whose board includes luminaries like John Howard and Tony Abbott.

In a press release, Hersha Kadkol, NUS’ Ethnocultural Officer described the Ramsay Centre as “a propaganda machine that seeks to promote racism and erase the horrors inflicted by western ‘civilisation’ on this country and around the world”.

It’s unclear what form tonight’s protest will take. You could of course head down to the ABC’s Ultimo Studios before 9:30pm and get involved—but if you stay home you can at least lie to yourself that you’re studying for that exam tomorrow.

Editor Janek Drevikovsky will be live-tweeting the protest tonight over at @janek_dr.