This is my last report as your President. I want to say that this has been one of the most challenging years of my life so far and will probably be one that I look back on, in hindsight, as one of the best. I want to take this time to thank every Councilor, Office Bearer, Collective Member, SRC Staff Member, and all students for their organising and participation of rallies and actions across the nation, particularly those that came to the National Days of Actions. Thank you to the Executive for being an amazing team that has thrown their life and effort for a year behind the 87th Council.
Throughout this year we have tripled the amount of Indigenous involvement in the Council since I began in 2012. In doing so, we have secured representative positions for Indigenous students inside University Management Committees and Groups, hopefully putting the University on its path to better cultural competency and relationships with Indigenous students. We actively took part in the recreation of the Freedom Rides for the 50th Anniversary of 1965 trip, led by Uncle Charlie Perkins. This acted as a catalyst for the formation of an independent group fighting for Indigenous causes known as Students Support Aboriginal Communities (SSAC). These people, along with members of the wider community, put in a huge amount of effort and courage to defend the Block with the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy; a colossal victory for local grassroots members of Aboriginal Redfern.
I am also happy to report that most of your faculties have agreed to have automatic lecture recordings from the beginning of the first 2016 semester. Along with this, the Uni has conducted multiple safety reviews on campus including the improvement of lighting around campus during the night and the procedural matters relating to assault and sexual harassment on campus. The Wom*n’s Department has also worked hard to lobby the NSW Government and led a national campaign to end the tampon tax. There will also be an upgrade to the Uni bus service at the SCA campus with new buses and a more frequent timetable. The debate to keep Simple Extensions is most likely going to be one that I will need to hand over to the next Council.
With a vicious Government taking the Bill for Fee Deregulation off the agenda for at least the next year it is important keep momentum in the education movement up to dismiss this idea completely. The USYD SRC and the National Union of Students have a strong history of free education campaigning and it has been one of the only continuous constants within the complicated and daunting world of student politics. Keep up the fight and as always, pass it to the left.
Comrades, it was an honour to serve as your President. It’s been a fucking pleasure. I wish the 88th Council and its President Chloe Smith all the best.