Acting President’s Report
At a recent Undergraduate Studies meeting, the Committee approved a request from the Sydney College of the Arts to remove the option of part time study for an offered honours course. When the faculty’s representative was asked why this was necessary given the necessity for part time study as an option on equity grounds, they the suspension of study rates were too high for their liking.
So there it is. Yet another stark reminder that we attend a university that is more concerned with how they rank in the latest international tertiary education poll (yes Usyd, we get it and there is no need for yet another Facebook status about it) than the welfare of its students. The importance of a part time study option for undergraduate students is well documented, yet the University of Sydney continues to drag behind on this part with faculties such as Law and Medicine only offering part time/reduce load study to students with exceptional circumstances at the Dean’s discretion. The practise of applying to the Dean in and of itself can be incredibly daunting or intimidating for students who require part time study to complete their degree. It gives Deans the power to interpret ‘need’ as they see fit and gives
them absolute and unquestionable control over a student’s life. Part time study, particularly in coursework-heavy degrees such as Arts/Law or Medical Science/Medicine, the option for open part time study is crucial, as it means students are allowed to prioritise and comfortably work around work, health and other responsibilities over an arbitrary time frame of acceptable course completion.
The University of Sydney prides itself on being an institution that supports its students and gives them ‘flexible study options’ but a closer look at Senate and Faculty resolutions reveals this is not the case. In fact, Undergraduate classes have not run past 6pm in recent memory which makes most undergraduate study completely inaccessible for prospective students who are carers, live with a disability or are working. I know it’s hardly a shock to most of us that the University is caring less and less about the welfare and wellbeing of its students, but it seems the higher the University rises in the international ranks of tertiary education, the less they are trying to hide it.
General Secretaries’ Report
Chiara Angeloni and Max Hall.
Since our first meeting at ~6pm on March 4 2013, we have gradually sunk through the Hermann’s lawn to the SRC dungeon. Remarkably, this turned out to be productive. How productive, you ask?
Well, as your General Secretaries we delivered one of the best orientation handbooks in years and worked with SUPRA to produce a brand new publication distributed in the ACCESS showbags. We brought home the largest proportional increase in funding of all student organisation this year. We are proud to have used this increase to: expand the Legal Service to five days a week; fund the Casework Department to give financial advice; establish a resource pool for activists; increase funding to collectives; give the Honi editors a well-deserved pay rise; give a ~more reasonable~ amount to ‘the NUS’; and end up with a slight surplus. Throughout the year we had perfect attendance at Executive and Council meetings. In sum, we turned up and got stuff done.
To the students who will run the SRC next year: the easiest way to be an effective student representative is to forget your factionalism; use the incredible resources available to you, particularly the SRC staff; and spend more time doing things than you spend talking about doing things. Just because a project can’t be completed in your term does not mean it isn’t worth starting—the SRC needs a better long term vision. Students would benefit from wider engagement with the University policy process, more collaboration between the Executive and other representatives, and a group of Office Bearers willing to skillshare for a stronger student movement. Many of these things have happened this year, and we hope they continue to be prioritised for the benefit of students.
So we must now board the strike bus and ride off to the eternal picket. Farewell friends, comrades and those we lost along the way (Tony, SLS, optimism and Vitamin D).
For now but not forever, Unicorn Faction.
Wom*n’s Officers’ Report
Subeta Vimalarajah and Xiaoron Shi.
What a year! It is a pleasure to write my last Honi Soit report as Wom*n’s Officer.
2015 has undoubtedly been a huge year for the Wom*n’s Collective. It has been one of the most difficult, but rewarding years of my life. I have been lucky to have so much support from members of the Wom*n’s Collective, who have given countless hours of unpaid labour to our campaigns and initiatives this year.
The nature of collective organising is that there are always too many names to name, but there are two people that I must thank individually: Anna Hush – there is not one campaign or initiative I have run this year without your enthusiastic involvement. You have been the greatest source of support, wisdom and friendship. Julia Readett – not only did you commit completely to your year as Wom*n’s Officer, you guided and supported me through my term (and your honours year!) as well. You were there when I needed intra-Collective grievances resolved, to answer my questions and to assure me to continue as Wom*n’s Officer, even when I considered resigning.
The year has involved too many projects to list, so I will just draw attention to the ‘biggest’ ones I’ve been a part of. The University sexual harassment and assault campaign! We are nowhere near finished with this project, but we got a great survey that will continue this important conversation on an institutional level.
Our campaign against gendered violence! From the panel at Radical Sex & Consent Week, through to the workshop recently given by Karen Willis and the money raised in collaboration with the Sydney University Law Society (SULS), each event and initiative is something we should be proud of.
The feminist education workshops! Talking to students about intersectional feminism and introducing them to figures like Laverne Cox, Stella Young and Zadie Smith has been, and will continue to be, such a rewarding experience.
And of course, the tampon tax. We did not succeed, but to be on national television with the Wom*n’s Collective holding a giant tampon behind me and to get a ‘yes’ from a Liberal treasurer, was, to put it modestly, a moment I will never forget.
Activism by it’s nature is thankless, but I want to thank everyone who has worked with me this year. I look forward to a bright future of continuing to smash kyriarchy!
Residential College Officers’ Report
Tim Sullivan, Issy Hellig, Will Khun and Laura Webster.
The University and Campus Infrastructure team have recently launched an imitative to examine the lighting and safety measures around campus, in a bid to increase campus security and the safety of students. A recurring issue for students who are on campus after dark has been the complete lack of sufficient lighting, especially on Western Avenue which students who live in the residential colleges and student housing have often cited as a significant issue. The SRC has participated for the past few weeks in campus ‘walks’ to determine these areas and Western Ave and the somewhat frightening after hours’ trek to St Johns and Sancta Sophia, have been noted as areas of great concern and a priority for the University thanks to the work of the SRC President and Vice President who were very vocal about this matter. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their work on this issue.
On another note, we strongly encourage all students to take a look at the colleges websites if they are interested in applying for 2016 or beyond as each college has announced an array of exciting and generous scholarships for students studying at the University of Sydney.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have at