As we move well into the 2nd half of the first semester this year, it’s understandable that many students would be feeling the heat of the inconvenient times that assignments will become due or feeling stressed from preparing for exams in just a few weeks. I would like to wish all of my fellow students luck in their courses this semester and remember that if you need anything, we are always here. Our casework staff are more than happy (and competent) to assist you in anyway we can. This includes late submissions, time management strategies, tips on managing things at home and at work while studying (because everyone else seems to forget that we have lives outside of uni). Simply give us a call on 9660 5222 and make an appointment or just drop in during our ‘walk-in’ hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1pm and 3pm.
Additionally, I would like to thank the people who have been in contact with me about their frustration with the new Student Card system, which was introduced this year. I compiled your emails and followed this issue up at Student Consultative Committee. The conversation is still ongoing and I will be in touch with those who contacted me when an update happens.
For this week though, the University will be looking for spaces on campus where our wireless signal might be low. If you know any spaces that have a low signal on campus please let us know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is anything else I can do for you during this busy time of semester, please let me know via email, as I understand that it is very easy to be stressed out from now until the end of semester.
General Secretaries’ Report
Hi there. Over the last fortnight Chiara and I have had the luck to spend time meeting with the employees and Office-Bearers of the SRC to discuss their plans for the next year and decide how best to distribute our funding. It goes without saying that each part of the SRC is worthy of funding.
Our legal and casework services continue to find ways to meet increases in demand each year while providing support and advice to student office-bearers who represent you in innumerable University committees and meetings. It is this small group of people who keep an eye on the hundreds of rule changes that the University makes each year, making sure that everything from admissions processes to plagiarism policies are in line with the interests of students. This thankless task improves the university experience of every student, preventing (hopefully) some students from needing help later on or leaving university all together.
Likewise, the sheer amounts of work Office-Bearers do for students is incredible. The departments who gathered together last Friday to protest the closure of Indigenous communities in WA and the success of our Welfare Officers starting a conversation about students and substances reflect their commitment. We know it’s May, but if you’re not excited about the rest of the year: you should be.
Queer Action Collective Report
We’ve made it through the first half of semester 1. A lot has been done and a lot is to come. In week 7, we had discussed how we could strengthen QuAC and organise plans for the future. We decided that we will be using about half of our meeting time for discussions and workshops, to have weekly lunch hang-outs in the queerspace and regular social events. We will be moving to a new queerspace this week. The new space is accessible (via lift access) and is located on level 2 of the Holme Building. We are also organising to send delegates to the national annual conference, Queer Collaborations (QC), which will be held in Canberra from the 7th-12th of July. We will also be fundraising to assist students at rural and regional universities to QC in the next few months. One of our first fundraising events will be held on the International Day Against Homophobia on the 18th of May. If you are interested in getting involved in QuAC, coming to social events or QC, don’t hesitate to come to our meetings (Mondays 1pm in the Queerspace) or get in contact with your (friendly) queer officers at email@example.com
Indigenous Officers’ Report
Just as the injustice doesn’t stop neither do we. Last month members of the collective attended a march to protest the closure of Indigenous communities across Australia. Once again we will be taking to the streets for a National Day of Action on the 1st of May to stop the forced closures of Aboriginal Communities. The march will be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in communities facing the imminent threat of withdrawal of essential services, which would once again force Aboriginal people off their own land. The march will conclude at The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy where we will show our continued support of their mob as they stand against corporate development of ‘The Block’ .
As the Indigenous collectives support of The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) continues we encourage everyone, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike to support RATE. For updates on the going ons down there and to show your support you can ‘like’ their Facebook page, ‘Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy’.
The Collective is also supporting our Indigenous Games team as they prepare to send some of our best Indigenous sports people to Newcastle in the first week of July to compete in the 20th Annual National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games. The team members are training hard and I’m sure will do us all proud come July.
The Indigenous Collective is happy to confirm that we have the funding to take seven Indigenous students to NUS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Conference which will be held at UTS in late July. Myself and my fellow Office Bearers are excited to meet fellow Indigenous students from across the country and to share our experiences as Indigenous people in tertiary education. We hope the conference will allow us to learn and grow as members of the indigenous community and provide us with information and skills that we can bring back to our USYD mob.
Wom*n’s Officers’ Report
Xiaoran Shi and Subeta Vimalarajah.
Happy fortnight! It’s been a busy one. Here are some highlights!
Last week you may have seen people walking around in shirts reading “human rights for human life” or something (we were too blinded by rage to read them carefully) as part of Life Week. In response, we had a fruitful discussion in collective about reproductive rights and how the discourse surrounding them has often been exclusive of many people (i.e. anyone not white, cis, able-bodied, rich, straight). We’re currently in the process of designing some posters to put up around campus to raise awareness, look out for them!
We’ve drafted (thanks, Arabella!) our letter of solidarity to Purvi Patel. We’ll be
sending it off to Indiana soon. We’re also collecting donations to send to victims of the Nepali earthquake through Guthi Australia. There’s a box in the wom*n’s room and the SRC OB room—please add to it! The National Day of Action for the
forced closure of Aboriginal communities is today (i.e. the date our Honi report was due—31.04.15). Some of us are heading to the rally in Belmore Park and we hope you were there too. We’ve attached a picture we’re trying to get #trending on the interwebs, so like/share it if you see it!
With rainbows & sunshine,
Subeta & Xiaoran
Campus Refugee Action Collective
Late March and April saw mass protests demonstrate the depth of community opposition to Abbott’s war on refugees. In Sydney on April 19, around 3000 people energetically mobilized, demanding an end to offshore processing and calling for a humane refugee policy. The Sydney protest came on the heels of a massive pro-refugee mobilization of 15 000 in Melbourne on Palm Sunday.
The protests coincided with yet more revelations about the criminal conditions faced by refugees in Abbott’s offshore camps. In early April an open letter signed by 24 current and former Save the Children and medical staff revealed that the Immigration Department was aware of women and children being abused on Nauru for 17 months and didn‘t respond.The letter reveals that then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison covered up the abuse and effectively ensured it continued by refusing to act. The letter compounds the findings of the Moss Review that exposed evidence of sexual abuse in the Australian Government run Nauru center.
Along with the protests in Australia, protests by hundreds of refugees on Nauru have rocked the Island throughout the year. A new law decreed on March 23 attempted to restrict the ability of refugees to protest by giving the Nauru Police Commissioner absolute power to ban any demonstration. Refugees have made the law a dead letter by continuing to resist. On April 24, 200 staged a protest against the Australian Government’s attempts to find refugees willing to be dumped in Cambodia. They called for “Justice,” and “Freedom,” and “Cambodia – never, ever.” Peter Dutton has been desperately trying to find refugees who will go along with his “Cambodia Solution” but the exercise has been reduced to a farce.
The damning revelations about conditions on Nauru and the momentum out of the protests in March and April have to be channeled into the July 25 rally outside the Labor national conference in Melbourne. We have to demand a real alternative to Abbott’s brutality and say no to mandatory detention and offshore processing—let them land, let them stay!
International Student Officers’ Report
Leah Li and Lu He.
The international students collective of USyd has been trying to get more international students involved on campus in April. We also have a new international student officer get elected from the student representative council (SRC), Lu He. The officers are working together to talk to international students on campus and try to let as many international students to know about the legal service provided by SRC as possible. We try to expand the collective and increase the number of members of international students collective. That is why we are going to hold the first event of international students collective meet and greet night at 7pm on the 13th of May, this is our collective’s major event in May. Free food and drinks will be provided; the purpose of this event is to gather all members or non-members to meet each other, get to know and join the collective, and also introduce the legal service to students which provided by the SRC for international students, local students are also welcome to join, we also need local students to support out collective.
The major program of the collective in May is the free language exchange program. This idea is new from the collective, in order to improve international students’ English and, English communication skills and help them to get more interaction with local students, local students who wants to learn a new language or who are currently studying a specific language in university also benefit from this program, students are paired to teach each other different languages. For example, a local student help outs with an international student with English at the first hour and international student teaches a local student with their mother language at the second hour. Each section is 2hours and the collective will in charge of the match students with their time preference. This program will benefit both international and local students. The program will start from Monday, the 4th of May. We wish more both international students can join our collective and get more involved at university. If you are interested in the language exchange program, please feel free to email: firstname.lastname@example.org