Dedicated readers, if you were away from campus last week you might not be aware that the most colourful student election, that of our Union Board Directors, has begun. Whilst many are caught up in the rainbow storm of promised change, it’s important to focus on what the Union actually does and what capacity to implement change Union Board Directors have. In the past we’ve been promised everything from large-scale renovations of Manning, Holme and Wentworth, to scores of new food outlets and more bars than you could drink at on a Young Labor pub-crawl.
Be aware that almost no candidate has fulfilled many of their promises in the past. Partly because board directors are not individually in charge of many of the activities of
the Union and partly because directors only gain the institutional knowledge to figure out what can be done once they’ve been elected. Regardless, as students we have a right to vote for the candidates that speak to us. I urge readers to take the time to question the politics and vision that candidates have for the Union, as this is arguably the way they can shape the board the most. Do they see the Union as run by students for students, or do they want it to maintain its current trajectory of increasing corporatisation? The incoming Union Board is also significant in that the CEO of the Union’s contract is up for renewal.
Despite the election campaign, this week is also important as the federal budget will be delivered on Tuesday. By the time you read this we will know what sorts of changes the University sector faces. Regardless of whether or not we are facing drastic changes, it is important to remember that this is only the first budget of this federal government. Changes to the sector might not appear until next year or the year after; what matters is that we keep reminding our politicians of the views of students.
Turning our eye to what your SRC has been doing: Oliver Plunkett, one of the SRC Welfare Officers has been working on a campaign to lobby the university to allow HECS for Winter and Summer School – check it out on Facebook. This is a terrific idea and long overdue. At both UTS and UNSW students can claim these units on HECS, ensuring that they are accessible to all students, not just those who can pay $3000 upfront. Finally, there is an SRC meeting on this Wednesday, 6pm in the Professorial Board Room within the Quad. All students are welcome to come along to hear the motions being discussed and to ask questions of their student office bearers.