Independent | Commerce & Civil Engineering II | Quiz Score: 18%
Interviewed by Janek Drevikovsky
JH: So my name is Jacky He. I’m in my second year Bachelor of Commerce and Civil Engineering degree. And what else was it?
HS: I think that was everything. So, what’s the name of your campaign for SRC and what are the colours you’re running on?
JH: Yep. So my team that I’m leading is called Panda. Panda for SRC. And we are running on a colour of grey, light grey.
HS: And why are you running for president?
JH: Well so for me, I think, two main reasons that inspired me to run for this presidential election. So, one reason is because I feel like when I go around and ask my friends – when I go around and ask my friends, I feel like no not a lot of people I know about SRC. Now, I do recognize that a lot of our SSAF fees do go into the SRC. Correct me if I’m wrong. And with 35,000 bachelor’s students in the undergraduate degree. And SRC probably, there’s a lot of people obviously putting in those money into the SRC. Now I feel like, a lot of students don’t actually know where those SSAF fees actually going to. And a lot of students don’t really know what SSAF fees are being used for. And I feel like. It is. Like for me, I feel like with SRC, it’s expenditures should be more transparent for our students. And also I feel like we should raise our awareness amongst undergraduate students so that more students can receive our services for the money that they pay. So that that’s one reason…
HS: Yeah, no, we’ll definitely discuss some of these in a bit.
HS: Before we go on to that I guess. What about your political background. Are you in a political faction/political party?
JH: Ok, so for me firstly I am a permanent resident in Australia. A little bit about my background. I came here when I was 10 with my mom who came here for technical migration. So, like migration like technical assessment. And so, I’ve always been a permanent resident. So firstly, I’m not legally allowed to be in any kind of party. Secondly, I’m totally independent. I do not have any party affiliations. So, for me I’m more like a value based person and a friendship based person. Like if you’re a good friend to me or like if you treat me I like you. I don’t really care which faction or political party you come from as long as we get on together.
HS: Sure. There are allegations that you’re a member of the Liberal Party. Would you say that’s [That’s definitely not true] correct?
JH: If there are allegations like that, I can tell you right now that in 2016, I was campaigning for a Labor left candidate and also I, I’m good friend with a Kogarah member of Labor who, who also came to my high school as well. And also, I’m also a personal big fan of Bob Carr, who is also in Labor so there would be people saying you know I come from a Labor, Liberal, I don’t know. But like, obviously for me I just feel like ‘hey look, this person, I like his values, that person you know I like his friendship’.
HS: So would it be right to say one of the people whose values you like is Hengjie Sun.
JH: Hengjie has been my friend. Yes. We are good friends, but not too, I haven’t been too close. Yet. [What about Hengjie’s -] Does that answer your question Janek?
HS: What about Hengjie’s involvement in the Panda campaign this year?
JH: Yep. So Hengjie wouldn’t be taking a very big role with the Panda campaign. Last year, he did take a very big role in becoming the campaign manager for the 2017 Panda election as you would have known. This year, he will take very minimal role, perhaps just campaigning for me. That’s about it. Yep.
HS: Okay. How would you describe I guess your political views then?
JH: So for me, like you know how saying like when you were asking me the question about why you’re running for presidency, there’s that second reason which I think is about international student activism. I think, I think what I really love about the University of Sydney Student Representative Council is that we have that kind of activism, that allows people from perhaps a disadvantaged background to actually raise their voice and tell people ‘look, this is what we are and this is what we stand for’. With the international student community, I believe that there’s been increasingly more awareness towards that sector of our school community. But for me if you’re asking about political views, I can’t classify that as a political view but more like, I feel like, international students should, you know, they pay four times as much as school fees and they probably endure more mental stress than anyone else, and I feel like their place in the school should be more appreciated. And there should be more events that are more related to international students being held.
HS: Okay sure. You must be able to categorise, I guess, some basic political beliefs. I mean, for example, do you think taxes should be higher or lower?
JH: I mean I’m not too involved with corporate; being an engineering student, I’m not too too sure about the like tax and gov and all that stuff.
HS: So from an engineering point of view, do you think we should build more public transport or more roads?
JH: I feel like we need better public transport. So for me, obviously, as we are seeing during the past few weeks that you know, we had, we had a few train breakdowns over like the last two months and I think that really affected the lives of many people living simply. I just feel, I feel like, on a national level I feel like there’s two things that should be done. Firstly changing, you know, because last time I remember it was when like a signal kind of broke down and there was like a technical issue that affected the travel of many people. I feel like the whole transport system, like, signalling or technical system should be updated. And one thing is that I feel like there should be a wider variety of things, a wider variety of means of transport. And I am somewhat disappointed in, you know, the George Street, that light rail being sitting there for like two or three years now and having not being completed yet. Because from a construction point of view having them having the job, they’re doing not a lot. Not only is it a detriment for the government and also the tax that we’re paying. But you know it’s also like making it inconvenient for people.
HS: Sure, in terms of your beliefs as they effect international students, since you’ve flagged those before, Are you – what’s your involvement in the China Development Society?
JH: So for me, last year, I was quite involved as a marketing co-ordinator. So doing like kind of WeChat, like Facebook promotion of our events. What else was I doing, like I was also doing, essentially writing articles about our event. And also finding like different kind of marketing groups to kind of promote our event as well. This year I’ve been more involved in the sponsorship side of staff, meaning communicating with like media and also like dining restaurants. And yep, essentially asking them to sponsor our society. Other than that I haven’t been too involved this year, more involved last year.
HS: What do you think the role of the CDS on campus is?
JH: When we are first established I think in 2017 – September 2017 is when we actually got officially approved by USU. But when we were first established, our main, our core purpose was that we’ve seen a lot of different Chinese societies on campus doing different stuff. There’s been. Sorry. There’s been societies that do like debating, societies that do services for students, and there’s also you know societies that do a lot of fun and entertainment stuff for our students. I feel like there’s a real need to have a society that really promotes academia for students. And if you’ve ever come to one of our events and, feel free to come to all of our CDS events, is that you’ll see it’s all about you know, like, about education of you know, like, contemporary factors that are going on in society right now. Because I feel like me, who is coming from an engineering degree, I don’t really know a lot about like what’s going in the world, and what’s the relationship between this and that. You know and I feel like those CDS lectures and seminars really taught me a lot about those relationships and issues that are going on in the world right now.
HS: Some people suggest that the CDS is very close to the Chinese government and that there are consular connections between different figures in the CDS and even the Chinese Communist Party; what do you say to that kind of allegation?
JH: So with that kind of allegation, that’s completely false. We are not associated with the Communist Party in any kind of way. And you can even ask around, all our members in the China Development Society, no one is really involved with the Communist Party. So obviously growing up in China and obviously in Chinese communist country, there will be will be some that would infer, just you know, by nature that because you come from China then you might have that possibility of being a communist. We are very neutral. We, the only thing that we really do care about is to kind of educate our like Chinese students about you know issues on the world, leadership and all that and helping them to be Confucian leaders of the world. But like we are not affiliated with the Communist Party any kind of way.
HS: Ok. So speaking about your views on world issues yes. Do you think that Tibet is entitled to independence from China?
JH: It’s very controversial. I wouldn’t say I’ve been watching on that issue too deeply. But one thing I do believe in is that you know all humans are equal and we all have our independence and our freedom to think about our positions very, like very independently. I believe that you know it’s more about how closely tied, You know the  to a country rather than, you know being geographically being decided, you know, which country and which part, which city belongs to what country or whatever. Like, for example, I’m probably born in China but I’m probably more culturally associated with Australia because after have been growing up in Australia for a long time. So I don’t, like many people’s view will be different on that and I haven’t looked into that issue very deeply. I might do some more research on that and probably. [Cool] Yeah.
HS: Switching focus now to the SRC itself. [Great] What do you think the most important role of the SRC is?
JH: Service. I believe that as the student representative council, and growing up I’ve always been educated about this idea that being a representative or being a leader is all about service, being a servant to our students. And I feel like, like I said the reason why I’m running for the Student Representative Council is so that our students can be heard by more students – sorry, our service can be heard by more students on the campus and that more undergraduate students can actually have or enjoy our service. Right now I feel like we have, we have a lot of services, for example academic appeals, legal consultations, mental health consultations, plagiarism help. What else, student housing service, which I have been doing over the past few years in the council. These are all very, very valuable resources that you know our students can’t get help from and I just feel like. It’s all about service. Yes.
HS: So how would you, if you want to make these services better, how would you increase their profile?
JH: So I feel like something that we should do because, I mean we have all these good services and we have a lot of strategies being implemented this year about having stalls on the campus and having you know like awareness days, awareness weeks that we can promote to our students about our service. I feel like … what really attracts, what really helps with promotion is firstly to attract students to come to you know you know, the SRC so maybe something like you’re having a, something more functional like for example having a welcome party for undergraduate students or having a new students seminar, like attending, you know giving our students advice about how you’re able to progress through uni, what kind of leadership position you should be able to take, academic advice and things like that. That would really attract our students to say ‘OK look I know about the SRC and I know what kind of help I can get from there because after all, like welcome parties and those seminars are really useful things that would really attract our students and through these events, I think it’ll be a good way for them to know about us.
HS: What about the SRC’s activist role? What –
JH: Yes so, oh sorry. [No, no, please] Sorry to interrupt. I feel like we’ve done a lot of really great activism on campus especially you know having the refugee signings and sometimes I see Adani mines as well. And international student Opal card, that’s a very important issue for me as you would know from last year’s Panda campaign and also this year’s. So one of my policy is definitely to push for international student Opal card even more and over the last, sorry just deviating from the topic a little bit, last week, like my teammates on Panda, we went to the Parliament House handed in the petition to, I think it’s the member of … I can’t remember the name quite well. But yes so we, essentially we’re handing the petition to the party member. And I think that was a very landmark achievement for us because after signing petitions, and as you know earlier in the year we’ve had petitions signing and stalls on the campus, on Eastern Avenue, and we’ve had for about two or three times held a few different like, for example International race or like you know the stalls, you know like promoting awareness, we’ve put in all that effort, it’s like our efforts have finally come to like a landmark achievement.
HS: So how do you think the service side of the SRC coexists with the activist side; you’ve got a limited budget, if you have to spend it differently, how are you going to have parties and welcome events alongside good campaigns like international student Opal cards?
JH: So can I repeat the question again, so you’re asking how does the service, welcome parties coexist with like the activism –
HS: Particularly if you’re going to presumably put a lot of budget into things like publicity events, welcome parties, like orientation week events that presumably don’t actually themselves offer a service or aren’t themselves about activism but are just designed to increase profile [Yep]. How are you going to make funds for that and keep up things like activism and services on the side?
JH: I’ve definitely thought about it and, am I allowed to say like the SRC budget in the interview or? [Yeah, sure, sure] I’ve been very aware of you know, very aware of you know, so we have all of those identity like groups like OB groups on Facebook and I saw the budget and this year we are left with a surplus of about two hundred dollars. So which is quite minimal if you want to do any kind of like big event or even campaigning. So I feel like, there are two ways, one of the way is to find sponsorship. So I’m having, well known companies coming in. For example, we know that our students really, a lot of our students really, want to work for particular organisations, for example in the financial industry, for example in the law industry. And so on. And Student Representative Council being a very major part of the University of Sydney can provide a kind of platform for those companies who are looking for employees, talented student employees and also for the students to kind of know about the company.
HS: Do you really think that major, often conservative companies, are going to sponsor an organisation that has historically and continues to be very radical?
JH: Well, for me, I feel like that, that’s more a bit technical on the side of sponsorship. I just feel like sponsorship is all about providing value. So say, for example, they can look for talented students on the campus and our students appreciate having those companies –
HS: Well, sure they can do that, but whether they will do it in direct response to the SRC is another question. I mean the SRC currently leads protests that disrupt business, it’s known as a ragtag kind of bunch of radical activists. [I don’t think so] Can you, see like Allens or a big five law firm putting money into the SRC?
JH: Well, I don’t know too much about a lot of law firms, but I definitely don’t think SRC is like what you said, I think the activism that we’re doing is very meaningful in that they are very necessary on campus.
HS: Meaningful messages are valuable I agree but probably not aligned with the interests of big corporate players don’t you think.
JH: I think that idea obviously, Janek, you’re asking me about a question that I haven’t thought about too deeply before. I think that’s still accessible but it is still an option. What do you think Janek?
HS: My thoughts aren’t relevant. So what do you think in the last like five years has been the most important achievement of the SRC?
JH: Well obviously, I’ve only been like in the university for two years, I can’t tell too much about the last five years. [Sure but you might know something about the history of it]. Yeah so I mean for me, let me think. There’s quite a number of things that you know I really like about SRC I guess. Did you ask about like achievements for SRC? [Hmm] So at least I think, one important thing that we have definitely achieved is about saying yes to gay marriage. I think. That because, I think all humans are equal, love is love and we have been doing a lot of activism on campus that really supports that and I believe that on the day when we declare that ‘yes’, you know, it, same sex marriage has been approved. I think that’s when I feel really proud being a part of SRC and I can say ‘hey look it’s been approved’
HS: So activism is really important?
JH: I think it definitely is and I’m really looking forward to one day when like after all our effort into international student Opal card, that we can one day actually get it approved and say to our students, ‘look it’s the SRC who helped us, who helped Opal cards for international students’, of course you know Postgrads as well to secure those international student Opal cards.
HS: So what about a different activist campaigns at the moment. Do you agree with the campaign for instance to urge the university to divest from arms sponsorship.
JH: Is that, sorry, do you mind repeating the question?
HS: So one of the SRC’s campaigns at the moment, is protesting the fact that the university has investments and has invested in arms dealers and arms manufacturers like weapons [like weapons, yes yes]. Do you support that campaign?
JH: I’m more about peace. Like for me, I don’t think weapons should be legally possessed. Like should be legally possessed by anyone personally.
HS: Sure, but do you support the campaign to end investment in arms companies by the university?
JH: I definitely don’t support like investing money into weapons because I think it’s very dangerous. Yep.
HS: Even if those arms companies are bringing into the university exactly the kind of corporate sponsorship that you want –
JH: No. I think, it’s very value based. Like I don’t think that a weapon company brings out the same value as what a university does.
HS: So what’s, if we cycle back I guess to questions of outside players, given that arms companies currently are fulfilling a corporate role of giving donations to the universities similar to how you want to run the SRC, what would be an ideal company to give donations to the SRC?
JH: Well for me, I feel like. Look, I haven’t thought about it. Like I said I haven’t thought about it too deeply. It still remains an option but I guess companies like, like, because we have Honi Soit, I think major newspaper companies could be sponsoring us because they want talented writers like yourself to be in their company.
HS: With their streams of gold; newspaper companies aren’t doing well at the moment with their money.
JH: Right. I see, I see. Well, or perhaps, you know companies like, have you heard of IDP? [No, I haven’t] So like that that’s a officially approved company that collaborates with all the universities and stuff, helping students to come into the university. I think that these companies have very strong ties with, the university and I think there’s that common value of helping students. And I feel like those would be good choices of a university sponsorship.
HS: Ok. You mentioned Honi Soit there. One of the president’s main roles is reading and what’s called DSP’ing Honi Soit, that is making sure nothing has a legal throat involved in it [Yep, yep]. So there’s been a couple of controversial articles have gone to print this year. One in the last week or so, published by a student called Jay Tharappel, which offered a somewhat positive take on North Korea. That article got a lot of controversy online and made its way into the mainstream media. Would you, if you had been president at that time, would you have tried to stop that article going to print?
JH: I know there has been a very controversial article about North Korea. And I haven’t been reading through because I think it’s just last week right? This week or last week, that it was printed? [Last week] Yep. I don’t think I read it for last week because I had a lot of assignments on, do you mind just briefing me on that?
HS: Sure, So Jay is, exists in the activists sphere, he went on a tour of North Korea which was sponsored by the government, by the North Korean government, as an official tour. He wrote an article which effectively described his experience in positive terms. He said that things like low homeless rates were noticeable in North Korea, alongside like, generally good quality from what he saw. Obviously the criticism of that has been, this was a government sponsored tour, you saw something that was manicured, you didn’t see like the real truth. And there are also questions about Jay’s background as well. So, that’s led to a lot of controversy. And I guess the question is what would your stance have been if a similarly controversial article crossed your DSP hands?
JH: So you’re saying that they are, that they think what you Jay wrote wasn’t the truth. [Yup]. OK. Well look I think. Honi Soit should have the control over what should be published on there and what’s not. Because after all, it is a student run newspaper and that everyone, Australia is, has the speech freedom. I don’t think. Because everyone’s going to have many different opinions on different stuff. I definitely don’t think you know something like, ‘oh I should reject this’ of yours to be uploaded or anything like that because, everyone should have their own voice, everyone have their own perspective on seeing stuff. You can’t say one truth is more true than the other. So I definitely think it should be in Honi Soit. Why not.
HS: Cool. Let’s move on to your policies now. So you’ve got a lot of policies. Yeah. A lot of them focus on like you mentioned radically expanding the SRC’s services. But, to my mind they radically expand their services into areas that the SRC traditionally hasn’t been involved in. So things like offering scholarships for academic tutoring, they’re services which other bodies on campus currently provide. Why do you think the SRC should invest its efforts in these areas?
JH: Because I still. Coming back to the idea of what the SRC’s primary role is, we are set up for two purposes. Obviously one is our service for students, as you know like we have free legal consultation services and our students always come in. You know students would come up to me and ask for like student housing advice. So about like six to seven International student housing, things like in the past. I still feel like, I mean obviously the other part of SRC is about activism which is also very important, like we discussed before. But I do feel like you know students putting a lot of their money, you know $288; that’s quite a fortune, especially for student who’s paying their money by working part time. And –
HS: Well let’s just note, all those $288 dollars don’t go to the SRC. [No not all of it]. It splits between SUSF and the USU and the Cumberland [Yeah, yeah definitely] Students
JH: I just feel like, I guess students will appreciate more if it’s being used for a service that’s available for them, that they can use that they can use more. And coming back to the question about policies, I still feel like, I know service is so important for our students, it makes them feel safe on campus, it makes them feel more, you know have a better academic environment on campus.
HS: Sure. But is this just a list of kind of window-shopped items that you think will have electoral appeal? [What do you mean window-shopped?]. I mean have you, you’ve taken policies as disparate as more charging stations, mobike subsidies, electronic textbook subsidies. It sounds like things which the average student group probably get around, it might make their life a little bit more convenient. But it has very little to do with what the SRC currently offers in terms of its services. Have you just chosen these policies because [Well no] they can get you elected?
JH: So, why did, what I did. Do you mind if I get my laptop out? [Sure]. So I conduct a survey and I’ve got a few data. So it was sent off to around 100 students and I actually asked them like, so I posted like a few week or month ago when like we were setting up like an information, like want to know what students actually want from the SRC. So I actually conducted this survey and I’m like I can read some stats to you? [I believe you that you conducted the survey]. So for me, I just think that by conducting those surveys and having those stats there, I actually know what the students need. And that I can meet their requirements. And if it’s something that the students actually need, I think that’s something that the Student Representative Council should provide. What do you think?
HS: Sure, but this brings me back to the point. The Student Representative Council currently has like three or four core service areas that you mentioned. Housing service, visa service, legal service, academic appeals. None of your policies are about those areas. Why is that?
JH: Well because it’s already existing and I think it’s a very good system that [Could it may be improved?]. For me, so, I view like legal consultations and obviously I’ve been practicing student housing service as well. I think it’s a good system. We’ve been like, the Student Representative Council has been existing for you know, like, correct me if I’m wrong, around 100 years, or like a little bit less than that. Yep. And I think over the over all these years we’ve developed a refined system of service that meets the requirement of a very, a very large number of students on campus.
HS: Even if permanent staff here like in the Legal Service say that the backlog is huge, that there are massive delays because they’re understaffed and underfunded?
JH: Well actually I think. So for me, my experience is that there hasn’t been too much delays with the Student Representative Council because well. While we’re going to Tom who is one the Legal Service, who is one of the lawyers of the SRC, he was very very efficient. And well, so dealing with this student housing issue, the tenant-landlord issue between an international student and the landlord were consulting Tom and asking him, we’re consulting Tom for like about, this decision, where I was like about, the entire two weeks, and Tom was able to get to the landlord very fast, get to us very fast, you know, notifying us which, you know, what progress or stuff.
HS: So I guess the next question is, if you managed to introduce all 10 of these policies. Are you not just going to smash a wrecking ball through everything that the SRC does currently, because of, simply because of how expensive these policies will be?
JH: So I kind of, so there’s quite a few policies that, a few that probably won’t incur a very large expense for the [a few, there are a few that will be very expensive] for example.
HS: So I mean, have you, have you costed the policies?
JH: Okay. So for example with the, I guess one of the things they’ll be pointing to, will be those charging stations and all that? [Sure] So yeah.
HS: And in particular your textbook subsidies.
JH: Yeah. So I think. Textbook will be one, that I think we need to reach a collaboration with those textbook providers. And I do think that, so right now what I’m saying is because, right now you might have those instances where you go to a lecture and a lecturer is like ‘oh don’t worry, the textbook is kind of online, you know you can all share it between you guys’ but like you go online and you find out there’s only five licensed copies. Whereas there’s like 200 students in like a whole lecture. So I feel like it’s not like saying providing kind of textbooks for everyone, but like let’s say if you purchased one and –
HS: Well hang on, your policy says “further, we would fund and reach negotiation with Co-op bookstore to give every student 20 per cent off the original textbook price”. [Yes]. Doesn’t that sound like you’re going to reduce the textbook price by 20 per cent? For every textbook?
JH: That’s what I hope to do. That’s what our whole – [Have you costed that?] I guess I haven’t quite thought it through that much into that aspect.
HS: I mean, I did some really rough maths, I think if you make this more reasonable, like you subsidise say the five most popular textbooks at USyd. Say there are a thousand students a year that use that textbook, that’s going to cost you something like a hundred thousand dollars. You’re the one who said that the SRC’s budget is $250 in surplus. How are you going to pay for this?
JH: Well for me. I think. So. When I look at the budget this year. I believe that around. I can’t be too sure how much was exactly spent on like, I guess … what was the…. I can’t be too sure how much was exactly spent outside of the operations. But what will be left is around, like outside of the operations, obviously we need to pay the workers in the Student Representative Council salaries and all that. What will be left is actually around 70 to 80 thousand dollars. But –
HS: But where does that 70 to 80 thousand dollars come from?
JH: So I guess there are places where, so this year there were probably like a few events that are happening right now, are happening this year. For example, with our campaign for same sex marriage, we definitely did put in some money and also in some of our other areas, similarly. But there are some campaigns that have been done this year that hopefully won’t incur another cost like that next year.
HS: But surely they’re going to be replaced with different campaigns of different issues which happen next year?
JH: I feel like with those money that have been, that are coming from the campaigns that, has been terminated this year, because you know it’s being legally passed through; Those money can be reinvested into electronic textbooks. And I do agree with you, Janek, that I do feel like 20 per cent is probably a little bit too much and my primary focus is actually more the electronic textbooks. And I think, that is probably a bit inconsiderate of me. Yeah I do confess that.
HS: I guess my question here is are you going to manage to implement any of these policies?
JH: I definitely am. Especially, so for me. For me. I think so, I’ve definitely had a look at the charging stations, if I can have. So right now, you know how the charging stations are only available in Law, Fisher and what’s it called. Law, Fisher and Sci-Tech library. What each one of those costs about three, two-three hundred dollars to set up because it’s one podium connected with wires and you just have to provide the wires and all that. So I’m looking to have maybe two down into PNR and two down in Education Building. That way, you know, like in the main buildings so that way, you know students can actually get access to them.
HS: Sure, but why is it the SRC’s role to do this? I mean currently the university [To help students]. But currently the SRC is involved in providing legal services and casework services like you mentioned. It does activism. There’s lobbying, they have different office bearers, who will contact staff and professionals at the university and government to make decisions. It’s a representative body, you want to turn it into something like the USU, like a service provider. Why do you want to do that?
JH: Well because I think USU is more are more heavily on clubs and societies. As we know it’s main responsibility is the clubs and societies and other than that, is providing more, you know, kind of like fun stuff you know, like raising awareness for our students. But I believe that Student Representative Council take a different role in that we care more about helping out students, in their daily necessity and all that. Like we, how we sometimes would provide students from poorer family backgrounds with funding, right, that’s a sign of you know helping students. And I think if we can provide students from poorer family backgrounds funding, why can’t we have funding to help all the students?
HS: Sure, I mean I guess on that point, a lot of your policies offer general services, whereas in the past the SRC’s case worker and even it’s bursaries have been targeted. So the SRC is focused on people in need. Aren’t you effectively just offering welfare to people who probably don’t need it, to students who are really well off.
JH: It kind of comes back to, the point of like. It’s kind of like. You have. Say for example you have like 100 people who need to be fed and you have like a monster. 100 people, you only have 10 people who doesn’t need to be fed, and like your food has to be distributed to them. Would you just not provide them with the food? I still think that there’s like a very vast majority of the students at our campus aren’t very well off. Like, for example, me, I come from a working class family. I feel like a lot of students are like me. Some are probably you know from even more vulnerable backgrounds. And we do need to support them. Even though at the same time, yes we might be supporting students more well off but, it’s helping. It’s helping the majority, that that’s really important. Yes
HS: Sure. Another question on your policies. A lot of them duplicate policies which other services on campus already run. So let’s say for instance the tutoring services: there are bodies like PASS which service the Law School. There’s similar bodies in the Science Faculty which offer tutoring. Or the same with Mobikes on campus. I mean Mobike already has a presence on campus. [Yes it definitely does] And the university is already in contact with Mobike. So why are you offering policies that other bodies are offering currently?
JH: So for me, so if we go one by one, talking about academic tutoring service first. So you’ve been to lectures. You’ve been to tutorials. And for Business School, only they have PASS, Law School as well.
HS: And different clubs and societies offer their own tutoring events.
JH: Yeah for sure, for sure. It’s kind of like how the student like. The university already offers like mental health in like the Student Services building while we’re still offering you know mental health consultation here. It’s more to strengthen our students. And for example some students they might, you know how with PASS there’s only a limited availability, some students might not like for example, international students, they might not understand English very well. They might like, because of language barriers, and they might not understand the big class tutorials very well and they’ll probably need some one on one consultation with our students who have achieved very highly. So I believe that’s definitely a necessary service and it definitely differentiates from others.
HS: Sure but it brings me back to my point, which is that if you’re, imagine like you’re a voter and you’re listening to two different suites of policies. One of them says we’ll increase funding to the legal service and we’ll bring on another case worker – how boring! Versus yours which says free tutoring, free motorbikes, like charging stations. Sure that student probably is going to see the appeal of your sweeter policies but is it really something that the SRC should be prioritising given that other people are doing it and giving the SRC has its own problems here, that it needs to focus on?
JH: Coming back to my point again. I feel like some of the services that SRC is providing right now is also being offered by the school along with the school staff. You might be wondering. Why do we need them here? Can’t we just remove them? [What kind of services does the SRC provide already?]. So for example mental health. That’s definitely one. And also with student housing, there’s professional student housing services on campus that students can consult with. Or even with the legal side of things they can ask the counsellors at university. So, like the Student Representative Council are really there to strengthen the service for the students. That when students can’t perhaps find, because also our services are kind of here, you know, you go to the front desk and you ask, ‘hey, look you know I’m having a bit of problem right now, can you help me?’ They probably don’t know which specific department they should go to for specific purposes but if they come to SRC, we can always help them.
HS: Well Jacky, we might leave it there yet. Thank you very much.
JH: Thank you very much Janek for this.
Note: this is a full transcript of an Honi Soit candidate interview. Some words have been edited for clarity.