Welcome to semester one 2018! First and foremost,
I am Imogen Grant and I will be your President of the Students’ Representative Council this year.
As you will discover during your time at university, student unions play a crucial role in defending student rights, disseminating information, and organising resistance. In essence, the SRC is run by students, for students; and it both wants to help students at an individual level (in its casework and legal services) and at a collective level (through defending public education and resourcing student activism). Essentially, if you don’t wish to just study at university – but want to shape it – then the SRC is the organisation for you.
This week is O-Week – one of the most dangerous weeks of the year for students. Sexual assault service providers receive a spike in calls from university students and one in eight attempted or committed rapes at USyd colleges will happen this week. This is why we call it ‘The Red Zone’.
For over a decade, student activists from the SRC have been at forefront of the fight against sexual assault in university communities. Over the past week vile college rituals and abuse were exposed at universities across the country, along with the complete failure of colleges to address rape and misogyny within their own communities. We have seen stories from St John’s College where women residents are ranked in order of attractiveness, setting pubic hair on fire, the Green Goblin rituals, and ‘No Jets Friday’ where male college students refuse to make eye contact or talk to female students (who are called ‘Jets’ for ‘Just Excuse The Slag’). But students have resisted, and we have now reached an apex in the campaign where our voices can no longer be ignored.
There is no doubt that student unions have been critical to mobilising student struggles and will continue to be so into the future. The possibilities for significant student protest to impact the political climate are far from dead. Now more than ever we need to draw on the radical history of student organisations, which can only be strengthened by the participation of students who recognise their potential and fight to revive it.
My challenge for you to become a student in the broadest possible sense. University provides an almost unparalleled opportunity to become politicised and contribute to a better society through your education. Join the SRC’s collectives, embrace student activism, and do not be afraid to seek support when you need it.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. I wish you the best of luck for the year ahead and look forward to seeing you on the streets!
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, help is available – call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 and ask to speak to a specialist trauma counsellor.
Nina Dillon Britton and Yuxuan Yang
Hello clueless first years and returning ancient stupol hacks! Welcome to O-Week and welcome to the part of Honi that no one, except you apparently, reads! We’re you’re General Secretaries for this year and will be sorting out budgets, the SRC’s O-Week stall (if you’re reading this this O-Week please come say hi!!) and generally helping collectives do their best work. Thrilling stuff.
If you’ve gone to the effort of reading this part of the paper, here’s a word of advice: our SRC is here for you – that means it fights for your interests and will support you when uni management fucks you over. There’s probably a lot that you will get out of your time at this degree factory, including (hopefully), but not limited to a degree. But what you will probably get most out of is meeting people like you, the sort of people who will meet the parts of Honi that only true stupol hacks read, and who hopefully care about issues that are larger than them.
Not that we’re biased, but the best way of getting doing this is through collectives and campaigns. Come to the National Day of Action on March 21 to protest the billions of dollars in cuts to higher education, join the Wom*n’s Collective to fight for an end to sexual assault and harassment at uni or join the fight to end racist discrimination against international students who have to pay for $100,000 degrees and aren’t even afforded concession Opal cards.
Sounds like you? Come have a chat with us at our stall or pick up a copy of Counter-Course (our O-Week publication) where you can read more about everything from the history of student activism at Sydney to the best places to take a shit on campus. We put a lot of effort into it so…please actually read it.
None of this interest you? Despite the fact you read to the end of a report from someone you probably don’t know? Congrats! If all this SRC “activism” is too scary for you try the simpler route: call Malcolm Turnbull to tell him what you think about cutting billions from your education on 02 6277 7700.
Jessica Syed and Madeline Ward
Your somehow-not-yet-burnt-out wom*n’s officers have let out a sigh of relief in our cavernous office as we realised that, yes, we did indeed do three hundred words worth of work over the summer break. We can now fill up this report word count, all the while doting on the fruits of our labour.
Much of the break was consumed in putting together Growing Strong, our annual autonomous publication. After a gruelling week of laying up in late January during which we saw through both space and time, the magazine is now bound up as a neat and glossy thirty-two page marvel. It features feminist art/poetry/prose created by collective members. It is diverse in both its content and contributors, and we are proud to be showcasing such a great spread of voices. It is available on the SRC issuu.com page for your viewing pleasure.
We have put our scheming hats on and met with a vast array of Big Personalities, such as MPs Penny Sharpe and Mehreen Faruqi, and Elizabeth Broderick, to discuss safe access zones around abortion clinics/abortion decriminalisation, and the cultural review into St. Paul’s College, respectively.
We are pretty pissed off about Consent Matters as it is a) NOT what our collective recommended b) NOT geared toward Australian students c) NOT going to change people’s actual behaviour re: consent. Sexual assault at USYD is still an issue, and we will be continuing to pester the university with our discontent. Stay tuned.
Speaking of discontent, we have had contingents to pro-Palestine rallies, and rallies in support of justice for Aboriginal people, most notably Invasion Day. We continue to prioritise the struggles of Aboriginal people in our collective and recognise that women of colour and Aboriginal women are fucked over so much more than white women.
Hello and welcome to the new uni year to everyone except our anti same sex marriage vice chancellor Michael Spence! Hope you’re all ready for 9 am lectures and spending $300 on textbooks in one go! We’re definitely not!\
Quac has been super busy over the holidays – both politically and in preparing for O week. As always we’ve had some very strong and passionate contingents to rallies – standing behind some very nice banners we have painted.
Members of our collective attended the annual Australian student environmental network (ASEN) training camp in Minto, where we participated in a variety of workshops on things such as how to organise collectives effectively and decolonisation. Overall it was an incredible week long camp which absolutely prepared and inspired us for another year of effective activism.
If you’re reading this completely unsure what Quac is, let me try and explain in the best way I can. First and foremost we are an autonomous politically active collective who organise around queer issues and participate in other social justice and environmental campaigns. We are intersectional in our activism, as we know that all oppression is linked, and that there is no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us. Over the holidays we’ve had members of our collective on the front lines blocking coal trains to stop Adani, busy organising rallies for invasion day, standing outside abortion clinics to ward off angry Catholics from harassing women – and so many other incredible things. We are a collective that values our members for each of there strengths and passions, and would encourage any queer person reading this to join us. Find us on Facebook “usyd queer action collective” or send us an email “firstname.lastname@example.org” and we’ll let you know how to get involved.
We’re super excited for another year of queer activism! Last year we won marriage equality- let’s keep going until we have true equality.
Adriana Olguin Malavisi
Since the beginning of my term, I have been trying to think of ways in which I can actively get involved in my role as vice-president. I have spoken to my co-VP to see what our goals are this year, I’m very excited to help out with the campaigns he will be running, and have very high hopes for what we will achieve. What I wish to do during the first part of 2018 is an initiative which helps students access services on and off campus for things such as mental health, student housing, financial help, special considerations, etc. Although there are quite a few services available on and off campus, it can be quite overwhelming, and they’re not often well advertised. Students need to know how to access the services available to them in such a way that they are comfortable, and confident that they will receive genuinely meaningful advice and assistance. Another thing is making sure students know all the options they have when it comes to appeals and special consideration, as the schools and faculties sometimes fail to make this clear. Obviously the special considerations system can often be quite brutal, but it does provide a lot of safe guards and support for students who are struggling with their mental and/or physical health, though we should still push for a more compassionate system, we must first make sure students are aware of what’s available to them. At a meeting with some of the executive the idea of a ‘Services Week” was brought up. This would be a short 3-day occasion which, much like Radical Sex week or Radical Education Week, and run similar to student elections (but less annoying and way less stressful.) It would involve directly engaging students during events, on eastern avenue, and in lectures. The purpose of this would be to publicize all services provided by the University, USU, and SRC whether it be financial, personal health, student housing, etc. as well as services not provided for by the university.
Tanushri Saha, Nischeta Velu, Tanya Ali and Geneve Bullo
Hope your 2018 is off to a wondrous start as we approach the new uni year, and make our way well into the Lunar New Year of the Dog.
We are really excited to launch into Semester 1, and have some awesome things lined up for the upcoming weeks. We have been working hard on designing personalised ACAR tees and stickers(!) that you can come and pick up at our OWeek stall. There will also be flyers/brochures/magazines from a range of awesome and super important organisations, such as RISE, Sanction Australia, CPAC Youth, and Pencilled In, to name a few.
We also have an event lined up on the 8th of March (Week 1) where we will be cutting and pasting, collaging and zining through the afternoon, and we can’t wait to meet both new and continuing members, and chat about our exciting plans for the year over pizza and funky tunes. More details on our ACAR FB page. Looking forward, another event we are working towards is an ACAR Attends for the new, free White Rabbit Gallery exhibition opening early March.
Most importantly, we are planning an ACAR contingent for the “Stop Black Deaths in Custody” protest (May 12), in solidarity with First Nations brothers and sisters. Colonialism continues in this country – you will find it in the disproportionately high rates of Aboriginal incarceration in Australian prisons, deaths in custody, and heightened rates of child removal since Rudd’s important National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008. Whilst the many struggles against colonialism is seen in the histories of PoC families, our diasporas and bloodlines, and continues today for many PoC, we believe it is the duty of our non-Indigenous collective members, who benefit from living on stolen land, to take a stand against the racism and injustice faced by Aboriginal peoples. To fight back where possible, and to stand in solidarity with Aboriginal people, as allies in the pursuit for recognition of Indigenous sovereignty. We’ll see you there.
If you see us at OWeek, or around campus, come and say hello! We would love to chat and meet you.