Fishing for laughs
Last week the staff of Fisher Library fell victim to a series of prank calls that helped soften the thesis stress of many students studying in the building. At 4:15 pm on Thursday, and 12:30 pm on Friday, Fisher Library staff made an announcement that a “Mazda 2 with the number plate ICUP69” was blocking a car outside the library.
The message was heard throughout the library with some students erupting with laughter and others taking their reactions to Facebook. When contacted, library staff seemed oblivious to the prank. The identity of the prankster remains unknown but if you have any further information feel free to prank email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LifeChoice, a pro-life USU society, was due to hold their annual general meeting (AGM) last Monday. The society, which was founded in 2012, has been thought to be virtually inactive since backlash against the distribution of inaccurate and inflammatory pamphlets regarding the abortion drug RU-486 in 2013.
The group appears to be revving up again. LifeChoice Sydney’s Facebook page shows an event called “Lifenight for Lifers” on April 22 proclaiming “#wereback” and imploring members to “get your life-loving butts over to…JACKSONS ON GEORGE.” Those who had held concerns about the group’s presence on campus probably don’t have to worry too soon though.
The only people who turned up to the AGM were an Honi reporter and two protesters. It was later revealed the meeting had been cancelled, though with no prior public announcement.
Honi understands that disorganisation was a contributing factor. It probably speaks to the dominance of progressivism on campus however, that the only people to turn up to the LifeChoice’s AGM were people seeking to protest it.
Culture wars on campus
A recent USyd Inter-Faculty Pub Crawl has generated heated online debate about cultural appropriation. The event, organised by multiple societies, encouraged Engineering and Information Technology students to dress up “Mexican”.
Student Bridget Harilaou posted on Facebook asking “who on earth decided Mexican and Luau were appropriate themes?”
“Marginalised races and cultures shouldn’t be used and abused for ‘themes’…I look forward to whoever okayed this contacting me and owning up to this racist mistake”.
In response, other students and certain executive members mocked Harilaou and her profile picture (a promo for ACAR’s upcoming revue) was photoshopped to compare her to a snarling dog.
Honi understands that Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) officers wrote to the Engingeering Undergraduates Association to express concern, and have recently contacted the USU.
SUEUA issued a statement that “the Mexican theme was chosen as a tribute for the many Mexican restaurants that have frequently hosted and catered events for the engineering societies over the past few years… as an executive team of diverse cultural background, we regret that this decision may have caused some personal offence.”
Honi‘s take? Don’t dress up as other races.
Spence’s lava lamp
There is a lava lamp on Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence’s desk.
NDA-zed and confused
Physical USU campaigning is set to begin this Wednesday, but before the A-frames have even hit pavement, drama’s been a-brewin’.
Last week, SRC Education Officers Liam Carrigan and Dylan Griffiths approached the candidates with a proposal to support the National Day of Action (NDA) protest against fee deregulation.
The agreement asked for candidates to stop campaigning for 2 hours on May 11 (the day of the protest); to mention the NDA on all campaign material, A-frames and shirts; and to verbally spruik the protest in lecture bashes and walks.
Honi understands that every candidate, except Esther Shim and the Liberal-endorsed Dom Bondar, signed the accord. Yet a few days later, they began pulling out. Yifan Kong withdrew entirely, claiming the NDA failed to represent international students.
“The foundation of my USU Board campaign is that international students need to be represented more in student organizations…the main organizer of the NDA, the National Union of Students (NUS), currently does not do much to represent them,” she said.
At the time of the agreement, the NSW NDA did not feature any international student speakers. Carrigan has since approached the organisers about the issue.
Honi understands other candidates remained signatories, but began proposing softening amendments to only promote the NDA “when possible”.
A source in Grassroots complained to Honi that “in a year when deregulation is a real threat, you’d think the candidates could see outside themselves to work towards something bigger, but apparently no”.
Exec members of the Sydney Uni Drama Society (SUDS) were left scrambling on Sunday when an online faux-paus raised questions of racial insensitivity.
In a Facebook event for auditions, one play, “A Freshwater Gentleman” described its cast breakdown as requiring “11M, 2F and 3 NonWhite” actors. Critical commenters asked if this meant “only three parts would be given to non-white people” or if by extension, every other play also being auditioned was therefore “fully white”?
The event was swiftly cancelled, with the Vice-President penning a prompt apology for their “callous miswording”. “There is no excuse…It was ignorant and we are deeply sorry.” the statement read.