As your Residential College Officers on the SRC we are committed to improving the experiences of campus and university life for Residential College Students

As your Residential College Officers on the SRC we are committed to improving the experiences of campus and university life for Residential College Students through fighting directly for their interests. At the outset of our term as Residential College Officers, the four of us decided that a major priority for us would be to foster a positive dialogue between the SRC and the administrative, leadership and student bodies of University of Sydney Residential Colleges. An important step in achieving this has been to enact processes to boost the profile of the SRC and its important services within the college community by liaising with key figures within the leadership bodies of colleges as well as initiating discussions with college students. Some of the SRC services that are directly relevant to college students include the legal representation that can be provided by the SRC, support in academic appeals, emergency financial support, support against discrimination and safe spaces for marginalised groups. Integral to our conversations with college students has been outlining the processes they can undertake to access these services.

As Residential College Officers we wish to express our support for the work of individuals within the college community to create safe spaces for LGBTIQ* students within their community with the establishment of networks such as the “Intercol Free Alliance” and other similar groups. We are aiming to continue to work closely with these groups in the coming months to ensure their growth and outreach. We believe there is significant scope for spaces such as these to connect up with similar spaces on the main university campus and the SRC is best placed to facilitate interaction and dialogue.

As Residential College Officers we are passionate and determined to fight for the physical and emotional welfare of Residential College students and ensure that they have access to adequate information and support services. Knowledge of sex and consent is important for all University of Sydney students and we want to ensure that information is disseminated to everyone, especially given the poorly lacking sex education offered in High Schools. In light of the success of the USU’s Radical Sex and Consent Day last year, we are currently working with the Sexual Harassment Officers to look into initiating sex education programs in tandem with the administration and leadership of Residential Colleges.

We would like to take this opportunity to further encourage any college students reading this article to get in contact with us, and the SRC, about absolutely any concerns that they have that are relevant to campus policy. This includes any improvements that could be made to the services that the SRC provides or to university services that the SRC has the capacity to lobby for on behalf of college students.

For more information, email us at residential.colleges@src.usyd.edu.au

Ehnic Affairs Report

Hey friends! Your Ethnic Affairs Office Bearers/Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) Office Bearers here! We’ve had a busy time at ACAR finalizing our plans for 2015 and we’ve got some fantastic things in the works!

As mentioned, we are currently assisting the USU in developing their new sensitivity training program so we can ensure that the USU is a welcoming and safe space for all People of Colour (PoC) on campus.

Many of us continue to attend the Critical Race Discussion Group (CRDG). Let us take this moment to clarify that CRDG isn’t owned or run by ACAR, but we love supporting the group and facilitating students seeking to engage in nuanced critiques and understandings of race.

We are also collaborating with the Muslim Wom*ns Collective to support a campaign based around tackling racism and Islamophobia on campus and in wider society.

Lastly, we have Verge Festival coming up in October this year. We will be organizing an autonomous poetry slam event for a non-autonomous audience! If you identify as a PoC, as an individual marignalised by White supremacy or structural oppression, please pen your feels into a poem and prepare to share your heart with us on stage. We’ll be ready with a sign-up sheet and beatnik clicks.

In more serious news, concerned students have approached us about the state of PoC politics at UNSW. As a result, we’re planning the rollout of a PoC awareness campaign, one in which we hope to work together with UNSW students with the aim to create awareness in university communities of understanding the term “People of Colour” and why autonomous representation is valued and important.

The official government definition of CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) is a problematically homogenizing acronym that fails to distinguish the structural hierarchy of oppression and White supremacy of which manifest in the lived experiences of people of colour.

Please remember you can contact us on our facebook page—Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) or find us at our regular weekly meetings on Wednesday 12pm at the Education Studio Room 229.
Lamisse Hamouda, Eden Caceda, Kavya Kalutantiri and Deeba Binaei

Wom*n’s Collective – Update on the many projects and happenings!

We’d like to begin this week’s report by talking about another collective on campus, and a pretty wonderful one at that. The Wom*n of Colour Collective is an autonomous space where people share experiences, discuss future projects, and generally are rad intersectional feminists. In fact, the collective just elected their new office bearer, Aulina Chaudhuri, and we’re beyond excited to work together on film screenings and autonomous discussions that focus on re-education and prioritising wom*n of colour perspectives. One project we have in the works, currently titled “fucking up a white hot mess” is a wom*n of colour feminism workshop, potentially (hopefully) to be submitted to run at this year’s NOWSA (NUS Wom*n’s Conference).

It’s been a while so we have a long list of things to report. We’ll try and be comprehensive. (And we’re sorry that wom*n’s activism on campus can’t be sufficiently summarised in so few words; we’ll endeavour to fight against kyriarchy less productively in future.) The National Day of Action took place before the mid-semester break, you may have seen our glorious hot pink 8 metre long banner that read “FEMINISTS 4 FREE ED”. That was a sweet cross-collective initiative —thanks to UTS WoCo for letting us use their space and everyone who helped out. After the workshop a few of us went to a public lecture given by intersectional feminist theorist Sara Ahmed on calling out and challenging hegemonic norms. If you’d like to read some amazing notes taken by collective member Julia Readett, shoot us an email (usydwomenscollective@gmail.com) and we’ll send them over!

Another project we’ve been secretly working on is our “fEMPOWER” workshops. During our first meeting, collective member Georgia Behrens pointed out that very few wom*n have any knowledge, let alone a critical knowledge, of feminism before they come to university. As a result, being bombarded with asterisks, kyriarchy, and the names of radical black activists (luv u Angela, bell) can be very overwhelming. As a result, we’ve decided to look beyond the hallowed halls of Sydney University and are searching for consenting young feminists in local public high schools. More on this later (the project is developing as we speak and we’d need the whole of wom*n’s honi to give you a proper update), but if you’re interested in getting involved, request to join the “USYD feminist education workshops” group on Facebook.

Other things include: our Pride Week stall, sexual harassment campaign, writing letters to Purvi Patel, discussing the USU’s BROSOC, a stall at the Other Worlds Zine Fair, Wom*n’s Honi, self-defence workshop for the USU Health & Wellbeing day etc. etc. Thank you loyal readers, may you return first timers.

With lots of feminist love and rage,

Xiaoran & Subeta

Report on the Student Services Amenities Fee (SAFF) Allocation

Three months of negotiations and two rounds of funding applications later, the University has announced how the 2015 Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) will be allocated between its student organisations. This was decided by the SSAF Allocation Committee, chaired by Professor Tyrone Carlin (Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Registrar)) and comprising the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services) Professor Shane Houston, two Deans (Professors Peck and Rhodes), and the Director of Corporate Finance, Mr Matt Easdown.

The Committee has determined that the SRC will be receiving just over $1.65 million from SSAF this year. This represents an increase of 9% on last year’s $1.51 million.

We have since begun preparing the annual budget. Max and I would like this to be as consultative and collaborative a process as possible. Office Bearers have been invited to submit a funding application for their department, outlining the projects they’ve got in store for 2015 and how much they plan to spend. After having reviewed them, it’s safe to say that many exciting and progressive ideas abound, which we aim to support wherever possible.

We would also like to ensure our hardworking members of staff are supported in the budget. This includes allocating sufficient funding to maintain and (where possible) expand the casework and legal services the SRC provides, which face increasing student demand each year.

We have also been in contact with the National Union of Students (NUS) regarding affiliation in 2015. Throughout the first 4 months of our term, we—together with the President, members
of Executive, and other SRC Office Bearers—have attended NUS National Conference and been in contact with NUS Office Bearers regarding the union’s plans and funding arrangements for 2015.
Ultimately, the SRC is a student organisation that runs entirely on student money. With that in mind, we welcome any input from you, dear student, as to where your money goes and how it should be spent. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to drop us a line at
general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Vice President – not happy with the reactionary bipartisanship in our Asylum seeker policy

It’s now been 118 days since Christmas. As a good, Jewish boy, you may not have expected this nativity commentary from me. This is not from any newfound religious awakening (cue disappointed Rabbis worldwide), but to emphasise a broken promise.

Scott Morrison, in the midst of a coercive rhetorical kidnapping of a hapless cross-bench, committed to taking all children out of detention by Christmas. A little, merciful compromise wrapped in abhorrent, archaic legislation.

And yet, there are still 227 children in detention centres. 103 on the remote, lawless Nauru. How can this be? Offshore detention centres are no place for children. Or people.

I wish there was at least a little contention about our treatment of asylum seekers, instead of a quiet, reactionary bipartisanship. I saw a small bit of what that contention could look like at this past Sunday’s rally for asylum seeker rights. And yet, not a single major news organisation covered it. These, the same bureaus that report on asylum seekers almost academically, an ethnographic study in inhumanity. I’ve met so many people in just the past week that care deeply about other people’s rights, albeit in different ways: from the presidents of Faculty Societies, to the executives of SUSF’s sporting clubs, to everyone at the rally. I know that these are people who together will stand up for refugee rights. It is only a matter of time.

118 days is a really long time. To be honest, I know very little of the man born in a manger. But from what I do know, He, too, was a refugee.

Report from the Queerkat Collective

Queerkat’s focus project for this semester will be to start a clothing swap, hopefully including binders and breastforms, and as such the swap will be aimed to cater for trans and non-binary folks. We would like to make this a cross-campus event as the Queerkats collective is not just for students of Sydney University. Clothing swaps can be a very useful tool as they allow students who may not be able to afford new clothes to obtain a wardrobe they feel comfortable in, and mean that trans people do not have to face potential transphobia when shopping for clothes. More details to come about this event and if you would like to be involved please contact the Queer Officers:
queer.officers@src.usyd.edu.au

SRC Indigenous Officers Report

Howdy y’all! Hope you had a good break. Now, just in case you missed it over your alcohol study fueled break, here are a few important issues.

What is the intrinsic aspect of Australian politics? The humble thought bubble. Warren Mundine in his role as Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council has suggested a national database of Aboriginal people. Now I understand the rationale, it can be quite difficult to prove ones Aboriginality but having a database of one specific group seems reminiscent of some dystopic science fiction.

Last Friday night there was a march from Belmore Park to The Block to stop the forced closure of remote communities, held simultaneously with one in Melbourne (which was eloquently described as a ‘selfish rabble’, at this point newspapers are just trying to prove their absurdity). The 2000 strong march consisted of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, students and non-students, unionists and small children. Starting in Belmore Park with several speeches then marched through the pouring rain, with the gutters overflowing to the Redfern Tent Embassy.

These marches were in solidarity with the Indigenous communities in W.A and S.A that are under threat of forced closure. The speeches also highlighted issues of racism in our society, deaths in custody and more close to uni, the plight of the Redfern Tent Embassy. Now all of these are important issues but we can only overcome them through a set of national actions and movements.

Last month the Indigenous officers met with the Bridget Cama, the NUS National ATSI officer, to discuss Sydney Uni’s involvement in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student conference in Sydney 2015. The conference will be held from the 22nd – 25th of July, with approximately 50-70 Indigenous officers, representatives and student leaders predicted to attend. The conference aims to develop relationships between Indigenous student leaders, building and gaining skills in the areas of policy writing, fundraising, and campaigning.

The conference will establish a network of young indigenous student leaders in which the communication of Indigenous issues and the organisation of events such as rallies and protest, can be made efficiently and effectively. This conference will reflect the Indigenous values of community and solidarity, particularly important considering the current relationship between the Australian government and Indigenous Australia – reflective in the closing of communities, the Redfern tent embassy, and The Intervention. This year’s conference will have a focus on representation and access as expressed in the conferences motto ‘Equal Access, Equal Representation = Equal Education’.
Stay tuned interested parties; there will be another protest on the 1st of May.

Continuing the Fight for a Fair Education

First of all, David and I would like to thank and praise those who turned up to the National Day of Action on the 25th of March and yelled, carried banners and exercised their democracy. It was such a touching and energetic demonstration that didn’t lose momentum once all the way from Sydney Uni to UTS and then to
Town Hall.

Speeches on our end were wide and varied, calling from students from the Disabilities and Carers, Queer and Indigenous collectives, as well as members of the NTEU (that’s the National Tertiary Education Union). Having a diverse and intersectional selection of people to represent the Sydney University community is really important to us as we believe Queer and POC (People of Colour) voices have always been foundational to radical social movements yet are also those more likely to be silenced.

With contingents from all over the university community including massive Wom*n and Queer blocs, as well as an incredible Indigenous bloc, assembled at UTS.

The fight against the Liberal government’s cuts to education doesn’t end with the defeat of fee deregulation, something many of us are beginning to believe might actually happen due to the latest Pyne defeat a few weeks ago.

Abbott and Pyne will come back for our SSAF or increase other fees for students, which will only serve to target those who have trouble affording to come to uni as it is.
We can fight back though, and have more fun, creative actions up our sleeves as the year rolls on, so if you want to come to some of our panels or law and Photoshop sessions, please look up the EAG on Facebook.

EAGs (Education Action Group) are held on the law lawns (weather permitting) every Tuesday at 1 and the Ed Officers are always keen for a chat, should you want to look us up on Facebook. Maintain the rage.

The Environment Colletive get active – Join us.

The Environment Collective is a fun loving group, with an abounding compassion for the planet, and all of the life that resides here. We hope you, dear like-minded reader, will join our ranks and start making a difference! Our new working groups mean you can engage in a broad range of activities that interest you. The Collective has had a vibrant first half of the semester, building a more active and diverse environmental movement on campus.

In Week 4, the Collective had a fabulous stall at Pride Week. We added to our collection of signatures for the Fossil Free USYD and Monster Climate Petitions. Our friends from the Queer Community were incredibly supportive of the cause because environmental problems are queer problems too!

Fossil Free USYD has been out campaigning and letting people know about the upcoming national day of divestment action at mid day, outside the quad on the 22nd of April. Come and plant a wind turbine, enjoy a picnic with us and sign our petition to the university to divest. Last year we achieved a 20 percent reduction in the Uni’s portfolio carbon footprint, and our rallying cry this year is to “DIVEST THE REST!!” If you would like to get involved in organising, come to our meeting at 11am every Wednesday at the Manning Sunken lawns.

The Community Garden are planning some very interesting and exciting gardening workshops.
At a collective meeting, we agreed to support the organisation SOS Blak Australia with a financial donation and explore other ways we might be able to support this movement supporting communities fighting removal from their land. This reflects our commitment to environmental activism that is in solidarity with First Nations peoples’ fight for justice.

During the break, Collective members ventured over to UTS to support UTS Enviro Collective with their Fossil Free UTS campaign.

Collective members who attended the Wollemi Common Enviro Group this past weekend, camping with members of other enviro collectives from around Australia, reportedly had a great time.

We are excited about our new e-newsletter! It will service as a periodic reminder of upcoming events, campaigns, get-togethers, and other fun activities. We will also share readings and articles that we find interesting and pertinent to the causes we are fighting for.

To subscribe to our fascinating and inspiring newsletter, please find us on Facebook: Sydney Uni Enviro Collective. There you will also find more frequent and detailed updates on the Collective. You can also email us if you don’t have Facebook: environment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

Addressing Anti-Semitism allegations

Recently, the Vice Chancellor sent around an email to all staff and students of the University alleging that student activists had been engaging in anti-Semitic behaviour on campus. This has been a growing controversy within the walls of our University and it’s time that a few things were set straight.

Firstly, as President of your SRC I reject the allegation that our students engaged in anti-Semitism. The views our students hold have nothing to do with a person’s ethnicity, beliefs or religion.

Secondly, the conflict happening right now involving Palestine and Israel is nothing more than an invasion for land. It is the same thing that happened to this country 227 years ago. The only difference is that, due to technological advances, the whole world can see.

Thirdly, I find it horrible that the right to protest has been compromised because people have completely twisted the issue in the direction of race wars and discrimination based on religion. I think it’s quite childish, particularly when the marginalised group in this circumstance still gets the short end of the stick.

I, personally, stand in solidarity with those accused of acting in an anti-Semitic manner because I know that this is only a strategy to silence those wanting justice for our comrades in Palestine.