By the time this report is released a staff rally at our University will be in its final stages of planning for Wednesday 5th August. This rally is lead by the NTEU and the SRC stands in solidarity with it. This is because the SRC will always stand for workers’ rights and values the contribution to our society at the hands of the worker.
As some of you may be aware of, many staff members of this University have received their redundancy letters as a result of the new Strategic Plan 2016-2020. But wait, there’s more. Not only will these staff be cut, but also over 100 degree opportunities for students to be replaced with 4 year vertical degrees—forcing you to pay even more for your education with a further incentive to take up a Postgraduate degree which (as said in my previous report) does not have a cap on how much you can be charged. I encourage everyone to rally on Eastern Ave on the 5th August at 1pm to stand up for staff and your education.
On another note, I am disappointed to report to you that there are proposed changes to the Universities Assessment Procedures that add more bureaucracy between the relationship of students and staff. The changes, which are set to go to Academic Board on the 19th August, remove the clause for Simple Exensions entirely. I will be opposing the proposal when it’s brought to the Academic Board for approval but my vote will not be enough. I ask that those who see the value in having the Simple Extension included in our policy documents to write to me directly before the meeting on August 19th so I can voice your concerns to the board.
General Secretaries’ Report
Welcome back to class!
Since our last report, we’ve been instituting some of the changes set out in the 2015 SRC budget.
This includes extending the hours of the Legal Service, increasing the pay of the Honi Soit editors, and obtaining approval of the SRC’s affiliation fee to the National Union of Students from their Fee Review Committee.
Further, we’ve purchased two megaphones for the SRC’s new shared resources pool – coming soon to a protest near you. We’re also proposing new policy for the loaning of items from the shared resources pool at the SRC’s August Council meeting. The meeting will be held on Wednesday August 5 at 6pm at the Professorial Board Room (in the Quadrangle). As always, all undergraduate students are welcome to attend.
Over the break we were also involved in discussions with the University regarding its strategic plan for 2016-2020. You may have recently received emails from Vice-Chancellor Dr Spence about discussion papers prepared by the university on its strategic plan. Please take time to read through and consider these papers, as they have important implications for the future of undergraduate study at The University of Sydney. We are particularly concerned about the equity implications of this paper, lack of adequate detail in plans for improving cultural competence at the university, and the repercussions of the proposals for staff.
Beyond campus, with fee deregulation still on the Liberal party’s agenda, the National Union of Students has called a National Day of Action for August 19. Mark this date in your diary and join the SRC at the Law Lawns on Eastern Avenue at 1pm as we continue our fight for a more fair and equitable education system.
Finally—a reminder that if you’re looking to sell last semester’s textbooks or buy textbooks for this semester at a discounted rate, check out SRC Books at srcusyd.net.au/src-books/. SRC Books is located on Level 4 of the Wentworth Building (opposite the International Student Lounge).
Indigenous Student Officers’ Report
Howdy y’all. Firstly, before we go into what happened over the break and what we have coming up this semester we need to say goodbye to one of our Indigenous Officers, Jethro Braico. We thank Jethro for all he has contributed to the collective in the past semester, for his spirit at every rally, his participation in the Indigenous Student Games, his Indigenous Honi article and his camaraderie. We wish Jethro the best for all his future endeavours. May the Hairy Man never catch him!
Over the break, a couple of great things happened. For starters a new collective was formed, ‘Students Support Aboriginal Communities’. This collective consists of non-Indigenous and Indigenous students who wish to support Indigenous communities, whether that is locally like the Redfern Tent Embassy or communities such as those in Western Australia. This support is through actions such as fundraising, donating time and attending rallies. If you would like to get involved, you should attend the upcoming rally, ‘Build Aboriginal Housing on the Block Now!’ on the 11th at the state parliament house. The purpose of the rally will be to demand that the NSW State Government support the funding of low cost housing for Aboriginal people in The Block and review the commercial development. For more details regarding the rally, check the Facebook event page of the same name.
Towards the end of the break, I attended the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Student Conference (ATSIC), which was organised by the NUS ATSI Officer Bridget Cama. The conference was a great chance to meet other Indigenous officers from all over the country, learn of their own difficulties and strengths at their universities. This will allow us to organise on a national scale in regards to Indigenous issues. The conference also had some amazing guest speakers such as Dr Lilon Bandler, Professor The Honourable
Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Jamie Parker, Tony McAvoy, Larissa Brendt and Aunty Joan Tranter. It was an incredibly enlightening experience to hear them all.
Now, for this semester we have some awesome things planned such as Indigenous film screenings. Once the dates have been organised for our events we shall let you all know. Now before I leave y’all let us make a clarification. Imaginary spears do not hurt. A man being proud of his culture does not hurt. Targeted booing and vilification of a man for being proud of his culture, for highlighting the racist history and present of our nation, is racist and disgusting.
Wom*n’s Officers’ Report
Subeta Vimalarajah & Xiaoran Shi.
Hey, feminists! Welcome back to another semester of intersectional activism and creativity. We hope you’ve had a restful break and are ready to get back into some feminist shenanigans.
Over the past month or so, a few collective members have been busy wheatpasting Camperdown/Darlington campus and Newtown with anti-street harassment posters, to protest the 87% of Australian women who have experienced verbal or physical abuse whilst walking down the street. Xiaoran is planning to do regular wheatpasting nights featuring original feminist artwork by collective members.
Subeta also organised our first intersectionality workshop with high school students (“fEMPOWER”) across NSW. Thanks to Anna, Julia, Margery, Lane, Brigitte, Freya, Kitty and Arabella, who volunteered and have been consistently committed to this project. From our feedback we scored a mighty 4.94/5 as an average for being “friendly and informative volunteers” and literally all 34 of the students wanted the workshop to be run again in their school, as well as extension workshops—both of which we’re planning at the moment.
Xiaoran is also firing up to launch the new Wom*n’s Library. So far, we’ve received donations and offers of support from Spinifex Press, The Women’s Library in Newtown and Jura Books. We are relying heavily on the generous donations of likeminded organisations and individuals, so donations are welcome. We’ll also be holding a Wom*n’s Library launch and book drive soon.
Finally, the Stop Taxing My Period campaign is not over yet! After a busy break Subeta spent talking to the Senior Advisors to the State/Territory Treasurers leading up to the CFFR (Council of Federal Financial Relations) meeting where the issue is to be discussed, things are looking optimistic. To get those dithering states (including NSW) on side, there are rallies on the 14th of August that you can find on Facebook.
Last but certainly not least, our weekly collective meetings will be held at the same time of Thursdays at 1pm in the Manning Wom*n’s Room. We also have a secret Facebook group where we do a lot of the planning for our projects, so if you’d like to join, don’t hesitate to add us on Facebook and we’ll add you to the group quick smart.