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Office Bearers’ Semester One Report Cards

How did our office bearers perform this semester?

President: Swapnik Sanagavarapu

  • Pay: $42,921.37
  • Reports submitted: 14/14
  • Hours per week: 25-30
  • Notable achievements: defeating 12-week semesters, appearing for various campaigns and committees
  • Grade: A

Sanagavarapu has so far chalked up some impressive achievements, advocating strongly for the defeat of Pip Pattison’s doomed 12-week semester plan and helping restore Medical Science Honours students to their labs after they were kicked out by management. Earlier in the semester, the free textbook scheme was well received. In committees, Sanagavarupu has hailed victories in clearer policy and shorter wait times in Student Appeals. He has also involved himself in campaigns around SLAM cuts and for stranded Indian international students. Sanagavarapu regularly submits his Honi reports, even if they are very long, and hasn’t been afraid to weigh in on controversial issues in Honi’s opinion section. All in all, this Sopranos simp has earned his minimum wage salary.

Vice Presidents:

  • Pay: $14,307.03 per person
  • Reports submitted: 2/7
  • Notable achievements: fixing VPNs for international students
  • Grade: D

The Vice Presidents told Honi that they had a “very busy semester.” The rest of their statement, considering their $14,000 salary, suggests otherwise. Ge mentioned they provided volunteers with certificates, created a Facebook group for volunteers and promoted SRC caseworkers – pretty simple stuff. They submitted a report to a University committee regarding VPN issues for international students, but the effectiveness of this initiative is unclear. The VPs have been slack with submitting Honi reports, and there seems to be little cohesive communication between the two. Their performance raises questions about their exorbitant stipend, first introduced in a factional powerplay in 2019. Students should rightly question why their money is being pissed up the wall by the SRC; $28,000 could be much better spent on welfare programs, or increasing budgets for more active officers.

General Secretaries: Priya Gupta and Anne Zhao

  • Pay: $14,307.03 per person
  • Reports submitted: 6/7
  • Notable achievements: organising SRC finances, Welcome Week, Orientation Handbook, supporting Office Bearers
  • Grade: A-

As the bureaucratic backbone of the SRC, Gupta and Zhao have run a tight ship this semester. They have been a reliable pair of hands dealing with the nitty-gritty of the SRC’s finances: coordinating budget requests, SSAF submissions and applications for contestable funding. Keeping students informed has been a focal point of their tenure — they were at the helm of a successful SRC Welcome Week stall and Orientation Handbook, and have distributed a resource for internal SRC procedures. They deserve praise for their presence in activist campaigns and handling the logistics of events such as the 12-week semester forum; Gupta has been particularly active externally and internally. Given their accomplishments, they can almost be forgiven for missing one SRC report.

Education Officers: Tom Williams and Madeleine Clark

  • Pay: $14,307.03 per person
  • Reports submitted: 7/7
  • Notable achievements: four petite protests
  • Grade: C

Following the political maelstrom of 2020, which saw militant protests on campus weekly battling against the Job-Ready Graduates Bill and University cuts to staff and funding, Honi wonders where the energy behind the education campaign has gone. Williams and Clark have organised four ill-attended protests, mobilising around 12 week semesters and demanding cops off campus, but it is admittedly disappointing to see the decline in education-based activism this year. God knows there’s cause for more agitation; the University’s increasingly corporate business-model structure demands a far stronger response than, for example, a protest against SLAM cuts, over a month after the cuts were revealed. Perhaps they can be cut some slack, as the Socialist Alternative jumped ship from Education after Maddie Clark left, and with Solidarity refocusing much of their attention to Enviro organising. But from where Honi stands, non-Education Officers Swapnik Sanagavarapu and Lia Perkins have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

Women’s Officers: Amelia Mertha and Kimberley Dibben

  • Pay: $14,307.03 per person
  • Reports submitted: 7/7
  • Notable achievements: Growing Strong, organising various campaigns, reviving Radical Sex and Consent Week
  • Grade: B

Mertha and Dibben have continued WoCo’s colourful history of activism. WoCo contingents and banners can be seen at most Sydney protests, and WoCo themselves have organised their fair share of protests, most recently a Sorry Day rally with Grandmothers Against Removals as they aim to centre Indigenous justice in their activism. They’ve also single-handedly been attempting to revive Radical Sex and Consent Week; no thanks to the USU.

Some of the political choices made by the Women’s Officers this year have drawn criticism; for example, a boycott of the March 4 Justice sparked concerns of political purism, after the march was deemed not radical enough for the Collective. The Women’s Officers also condemned a ‘put the fetus in the bin’ chant at the Day of the Unborn Child counterprotest, with the collective divided in an explosive comment thread. The Women’s Officers will have their hands full next semester, with Women’s Honi and the National Day of Action against Sexual Violence, but we have high hopes.

Environment Officers: Isabella D’Silva, Drew Beacom, Lauren Lancaster and Deaglan Godwin

  • Pay: Nil
  • Reports submitted: 3/3
  • Notable achievements: Student General Meeting, publication of Combust and Embers, Climate Strike.
  • Grade: B+

Even though the Environment Officers aren’t paid, we’ve included them here to review the significant work they’ve done this semester. They held the first SGM in 14 years, with over 200 students attending, to build for an upcoming climate strike – even if the University had already resolved to waive penalties for students attending the strike. They also galvanised a dedicated group of collective members from Grassroots, Solidarity and Socialist Alternative, though it all may be for political point-scoring (see this week’s Miss Soit). Overall, the Environment Officers have done a good job in putting climate back on the agenda in a crowded field.

Honi Soit Editors

  • Stipend: $5,500 per person 🙁
  • Grade: A

The Honi Soit editors, who are horrendously underpaid and overworked while other OBs (looking at the VPs) swan about on extortionate salaries, have nevertheless produced a sterling semester’s worth of work. News output has increased remarkably, opinion pieces have drawn controversy and debate, while culture and features have been consistently high-quality. Comedy has also provoked thunderous, thigh-slapping laughter throughout the university. The Honi editors have gone above and beyond, pumping out extra pages in their weekly editions. Notable highlights include driving a wedge through Grassroots with the USU op-ed, exposing the Medical Science palaver, revealing burdensome disclosure requirements for HDR students, and drawing the ire of Facebook Zionists and Sinophobes. Often pulling all-nighters, and confined to a wretched windowless office, the Honi editors deserve a pat on the back and a significant pay rise.

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