This week we saw the Macquarie University Postgraduates’ Association (MUPRA) taken to court in a heated ongoing battle between the student organisation and the university in what appears to be a step by Macquarie Uni to dissolve the organisation and consume its assets. In the most recent Ordinary Meeting of Council a motion was moved that our SRC stand in solidarity with MUPRA during this period. This move by Macquarie sets a dangerous precedent for student unionism across the country, as it is a threat to student representation and the right to have operating unions to support students, which are independent from universities. I encourage all students to take interest in their student unions to maintain accountability within not only universities around the country but also within the government and political arena to ensure that our rights as students and future builders of this nation are not compromised.
I have also received a lot of emails from concerned students about their student card, as this year’s new student card does not have an expiry date. This appears to have created complications with students who need student concessions. As there is no way to tell whether the person with the card is still a student at this university, goods and service providers have started denying student concessions. I will be raising this concern to the next Student Consultative Committee Meeting on June 30th. If there are any other concerns amongst the student body please don’t hesitate to contact the SRC or myself personally.
Education Officers’ Report
It’s that time of semester—you’ve got scary assessments due. You haven’t paid rent in two weeks. You’ve run out of toilet paper and are stealing rolls from Fisher and the few cool rallies you’ve been to were awesome but you’re feeling obliged to go to more. There’s a lot happening and not much time to do it in. We know, we’ve been there.
Well, as the semester rolls on and seems unaware of our woes regarding assessments and ca$h flow problems, the Education Department is happy to report that gettin’ it done has been our aim as of late.
The Federal Budget release date is rapidly approaching—it’ll be May 12th, and we’ll be having a blitz day on campus for the 13th, with stalls and fliers to help engage students. If you want to get your club or collective involved pls look up Sydney University Education Action Group on Facebook.
The NUS NDA will be held on the 20th in response to the budget so pop that in your calendars too.
Our Refugee Tutoring Program will be ready in the coming weeks too; contracts and guidelines pending, and we encourage everyone who’s interested to get a Working With Children Check (found at https://wwccheck.ccyp.nsw.gov.au/Applicants/Application). The program aims to give Asylum Seekers who don’t have access to education (bridging visas don’t ensure a well rounded education an Australian citizen would get) more variety than an ESL school could offer them.
We’re planning on working out of Parramatta Library first, and if the program takes off, expanding to a space more suitable to our needs.
We’re looking into covering student tutor’s travel to and from Parramatta for these sessions, and hope that this hands-on sort of program will create strong ties between students and the large refugee communities around Sydney.
Textbooks will be donated by local high schools, and you don’t have to have much of an education past the HSC level to be a tutor, as most students in the program will have a fairly limited education.
You can thank the Liberal and Labor parties for that.
Intercampus Officers’ Report
Fiona Lieu, Mary Osborn, Jason Kwok, Mary Ellen Trimble.
Hey Intercampus peeps for the last couple of weeks the Intercampus Officers have been hard at work, toiling away in the dark corners of our satellite campuses to ensure that this year your SRC delivers for you and we’re very excited to announce that this week you’ll get to see some of that work come to light. This week we’ll be at Cumberland chilling out with a sausage sizzle and getting to know what Intercampus students have to say about their problems and how the SRC can help them. If you’re not a Cumbo-crawler don’t worry, you won’t be missing out on any of that sausage/tofu sizzle lovin, the Intercampus Officers are planning to make sure that we’ll be visiting and sizzlin at as many satellite campuses as we can afford to this year.
USU elections are also coming up and our self-obsessed cousins at main campus are getting right into the thick of things. Given the appalling and persistent failure of previous USU directors and candidates to actually do anything to give Intercampus students even a slight incentive to buy an Access card, you may feel that there is no point in voting. But we urge you not to waste this opportunity to improve how our Union treats us, the Intercampus officers this year will be interviewing candidates and compiling an objective Election Guide which we aim to be dispensing sometime this week to ensure that you have plenty of time to read them and make sure that you know who you’ll be voting for. Vote for students that having taken time to seriously consider what policies would be welcome and useful (not just tokenistic like “i wanna intergrate satellite campuses and help them” or “vote for me plz I used to be intercampus officer lol”) and vote for students who have thought about how to implement these policies when they’re elected and seem to demonstrate that they care about following through. But above all do not let this be the end of your involvement with the Union til next year, our vote is not a gift but the establishing of a contract; demand more from your Union Board Directors and refuse to be ignored.
Interfaith Officers’ Report
ast week in Texas, a “Muhammad Art Exhibition and Contest” was held by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a professed ‘anti-Muslim activist group’. It provoked the anger in particular of two jihadi gunmen who attended the exhibition and were killed in the ensuing turmoil. This event should remind us of how easily tensions between different cultures and faiths can escalate, and how important it is to inspire peace and cooperation between religions, instead of seeking to provoke anger and worsen interfaith relations.
In this spirit, this semester we have been busy planning an inaugural month-long Interfaith Festival, to take place in Semester 2, from 13 August to 11 September. So far we have a range of faith-based societies involved, from the Muslim Women’s Collective to the Sikh society to the Atheist society. Each society will be able to plan up to four events to be held during the month, some of which will include public speakers and panel discussions between societies. We hope that through this event we can give people the chance to find out about religions they are curious of, or faiths they know little of. Perhaps more importantly, this is will be an opportunity for the different faith based societies to interact with each other, and begin cross-cultural dialogues to engender tolerance and friendship. If there are any faith-based societies that would still like to get involved, or if anyone has an idea they would like to see incorporated into the festival please contact the Interfaith Officers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Environmental Officers’ Report
May Xuan Chew, Jay Gilleat, Callista Barritt.
This week the Collective is very excited to welcome two new Office Bearers! Congratulations Jay and May! Callista is so happy the one-woman team has turned into three, because three heads are definitely better than one. With the help of the new OBs, the Collective can only get better! And now for some updates on what the amazing environment activists in the Collective have been up to:
Last Wednesday Fossil Free USYD was out on Eastern Avenue taking part in the National Day of Campus Divestment Action by talking to students and adding their photos to our photopetition. We are also talking to Academics about divestment, getting staff to join students in our call for USYD to get out of a dirty business. And we’re planning a wind-turbine protest for the end of semester! Big exciting news on this front soon, so watch this space!
The Community Garden is planting for the winter season, planning for new beds, and going on excursions together to learn new skills at the worm farm & composting workshops.
Frontline Action Group is working on top secret upcoming missions with Front Line Action on Coal and 350.org. Can’t explain more now but stay tuned!
Some Collective members went to Canberra as part of ASEN (Australian Student Environment Network) on the ANZAC weekend to march with the Aboriginal Tent Embassy crew in memory of the 120,000 Aboriginal people who died in the Frontier Wars. They also had fun bonding times with the awesome ANU collective.
COP21 Event Group have collected ‘The Monster Climate Petition’ signatures and plan to continue campaigning in late May-early August with petition and August -September in lead up to our awesome event that will happen at the end of sem 2 to put pressure on Australia for the Paris climate meeting in Nov-December!
Look for us on Eastern Avenue this week! On Wednesday the Environment Collective will have a stall in response to the federal budget released on Tuesday, so come visit us to have a chat about how the budget will affect environmental issues.