Not content with its monopoly over our Courtyard caffeine addictions, the USU is itching for control over every cranny of university life. Nothing is sacred: at last Friday’s Board meeting, the USU unveiled a plan to become the sole on-campus provider of kitsch. the USU has designed a snowglobe so gut wrenchingly naff that even your grandmother who collects spoons with pictures of cats on them would feel slightly sick. The globes feature a miniaturised Quad, floating in a flurry of pink, sparkly snow. The globes are allready embedded in the mind of the masses: Unimart, the USU’s merchandise outlet, ordered 350 of the globes last week; after an instagram promo went viral, the globes sold out in one day. Now, hordes of kitsch-addled students are said to be demanding a restock. One “faculty”, said the report, has placed an order for 500 globes. Soon, every graduating student will walk down Eastern Avenue, toting a shiny pink orb as a reminder of the totality of the USU’s corporate empire.
Debating: The pros and cons
As you may know, at this year’s recent Australian National Championships (or Easters), our exchanged a streak of victories for a defeat. The organisation is looking for something to blame, and has set its sights on the longstanding ‘novice policy’. Unlike any other Australian debating society, the USU sends teams to Easters which are made up of only novice debaters. A ‘novice’, under this policy, is a debater who has debated at no more than two previous Easters, and who has never debated at the other major intervarsity tournaments USyd takes part in. The justification is that as many new debaters as possible should attend Easters, which is seen as an entry-level development opportunity.
But faced with this year’s ignominy, Director of Debates Kevin Lee, along with Libby Johnstone, tried for a radical shakeup. At Debates Committee, they moved a motion which would have scrapped the novice policy, allowing in ‘pros’ (debaters with more than two Easters under their belt, or another major intervarsity appearance). The proposal, if carried, would have restricted pros to one per team, meaning two novices would have been able to debate alongside a more senior debater. This is the model used by other major universities.
An explanatory note claimed the proposal would push back against the ridicule Sydney teams alledgedly face: “Remarks like ‘I thought Sydney was meant to be good’ are not uncommonly heard at Easters”. Having a wizened pro on the team would give emotional support to the innocent novices, the argument seemed to go.
But, in the end, the motion was voted down. Looks like novice debaters will be monopolising Easters for another year yet.