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SRC Education Officer asked to leave campus during stunt

Siobhan Ryan reports on the counter-marketing campaign from the Education Action Group at today’s University Information Day.

A Students’ Representative Council (SRC) Education Officer, Dylan Griffiths, was asked to leave University campus today while participating in a stunt countering the current Inspired campaign being run by the University of Sydney.

The Inspired campaign features twenty-nine alumni and was launched in August last year.

The campaign is scheduled to end soon, with the University’s fundraising targets rumoured to have been met a year in advance.

The announcement of the campaign roughly coincided with the release of a September discussion paper proposing a restructure of the University that has since been approved by the University Senate.

In response, the SRC’s Education Action Group (EAG), led by 2015 Education Officers Blythe Worthy and David Shakes, proposed their Insipid campaign, designed with the assistance of the SRC’s Publication Managers.

The Insipid campaign was funded by the SRC’s Education Department budget, costing $300.00 for 10 adhesive posters. It launched online in November. Shakes said it was a protest “against the marketisation of higher education.”

He specifically referred to the university funnelling large amounts of money into marketing “in pursuit of prestige and reputation, but at the expense of learning and working conditions.”

At 9:30am today, the EAG stuck an adhesive poster on Eastern Avenue auditorium, which featured Malcolm Turnbull and the caption “I will strive to cut your pay for work on weekends while investing in the Cayman Islands”.

The first poster was placed over the image of 2015 SRC Wom*n’s Officer, Subeta Vimalarajah, with her express consent.

The poster was removed by midday.

The EAG proceeded to put up more posters at midday, including one depicting the silhouette of an ‘anonymous’ fictional staff member, with a caption indicating that their job was possibly at risk as a result of the university restructure.

The posters were taken down immediately, not by security, but by Student Ambassadors employed by the University.

When questioned by EAG members, the Student Ambassadors allegedly stated that the removal was at the direction of University management.

As Griffiths was installing the anonymous poster, he was “approached by three people who didn’t identify themselves”, but whom he believes were staff members.

They asked him for identification which he presented, and then told him to leave campus. Griffiths left without protest.

One current year 12 student whose attention was caught by the Malcolm Turnbull poster thought it was funny, clever and “a bit cheeky”.

He also said he liked it because “it kind of suggests that the people on campus are interested in topical issues”.

He and his friends did not think it would influence their decision of where to attend university.

Another student’s mother thought the use of the university’s exact format and aesthetic made the posters particularly effective.

After being ordered to leave campus, Griffiths commented, “there’s nothing inspirational about people coming out of a university, and [then] locking up refugees, cutting penalty rates, and generally doing disastrous things which are only going to harm students”.