ACAR Report – Week 12, Sem 2, 2016

Aparna Balakumar, Lamya Rahman, Una Madura Verde, Adam Ursino

2016 has flown by, and it’s hard to believe that this is our last report for the year! We’d like to thank everybody who’s been involved in the Autonomous Collective Against Racism this year, whether it be in the form of popping by our OWeek stall and picking up a badge, getting involved in ACAR Revue (or even just seeing the show), coming along to the Black Lives Matter rally with members of the collective, posting in our Facebook group, performing in our Verge Festival event last week, attending or speaking at the SUDS/ACAR panel discussion, writing in the brilliant ACAR edition of Honi Soit that came out last week, or any of the other events or initiatives we’ve held throughout the year. 2016 has been a big year for ACAR, and it’s been a privilege to end the year by releasing ACAR Honi. Last week’s edition was brought to you entirely by writers, artists, and designers of colour, and we hope you thoroughly enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Also last week, we held our Verge Festival event “Rehearsals for Life”. We’d like to thank all the talented dancers, musicians, poets, writers, and comedians who contributed to the celebratory and heartwarming night. The end of the year is fast approaching, but we’re not done yet: next Wednesday at 4pm is also the launch of the USU Ethnocultural Space, a room on campus available to those self identifying as an ethnocultural minority. Previously the Loggia Room, this room will now be used as a meeting room, social room, and relaxation space for all ethnocultural students and members of ACAR. We also welcome our 2017 Office Bearers: Maddy Ward, Radha Wahyuwidayat and Sophia Chung. We’re sad our time is over however we’re certain that the incoming OBs will continue to build on our successes and learn from our failures in order to transform ACAR into an even better collective in the year ahead.

Education Officer’s Report – Week 12, Sem 2, 2016

Liam Carrigan & Dylan Griffiths

Considering the seemingly unstoppable neolibralisation and corporatization of Sydney University and the mainstream narrative of student apathy to activism it’s pretty humbling to once again sign off on another year of incredible education activism. Since 2012 this campus has been the scene of the last vestiges of radical student struggle. We have stood in solidarity with staff, struggled against fee deregulation and fought against the restructuring of our University.

2016 begun with our ‘Insipid’ poster campaign that called out the hypocrisy of the University’s marketing campaign. We worked with the NTEU to hold a rally against the restructure on March 16th and oppose the cuts in senate representatives. We have opposed the presence of Liberals on campus, protesting Simon Birmingham in with Fisher library and opposing the University awarding an honorary doctorate to the very undeserving John Howard. With the scrapping of the start up scholarship, two billion in cuts to Universities and lowering of the HECS repayment threshold we worked in conjunction with the National Union of Students to organize student resistance. Education activists were also involved in the organizing of the inaugural Radical Education Week.

By far the most significant campaign of the year was ‘Let SCA Stay’, a blueprint for opposing the restructure and student radicalism. The attempts by the University to destroy this community of artists sparked a mass campaign that included hundreds storming the senate; the most visually striking action EVER at the Archibald prize and a hugely successful student strike on August 17th.

Oh and we saved simple extensions so remember to thank the SRC every time you use one!
As the NTEU enters the EBA period students must be ready to stand in solidarity with staff if they go on strike as we did in 2013. Staff teaching conditions are after all student-learning conditions. The fight to save SCA must continue as they attempt to move them onto main campus and sack staff in the process. We must continue the fight for free education and fee deregulation.

Dylan and myself are proud to have continued the tradition of an unapologetically radical education department this year. Thanks to our comrades, families and every student who involved themselves even in the smallest way in the fight for a better education.
Never forget, study, be silent and die. Question authority, fight the system and oppose the liberals at all turns. Be radical and never let anyone make you feel bad about it.

General Secretary – Week 12, Sem 2, 2016

Lachlan Ward

Hey all, Well this is it, the final report, my term has come to a close. Well technically it ends on November 30 but the point is, this is the last time my words will grace honi soit. It has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience being one of your two general secretaries. Mostly people recap the year in these final reports, and that is what I will do to the best of my ability. We start off with OWeek preparations, which arguably fell to me and Georgia, when inevitably as is a time honoured tradition, the OWeek Committee failed to deliver in terms of attendance. Thankfully, that has been restructured, so no future general secretaries will have to deal with the awkwardness of calling a meeting which no one will actually turn up to. Georgia and I, also had the pleasure of doing SSAF negotiations, which secured funding for the SRC for another year. With these funding, we did something that all fiscal conservatives can be proud of, and passed a surplus (who says that the left can’t be fiscally responsible), which of course will mean that more ‘jobs and growth’ within the SRC was achieved, through secure investments, at least that’s something that would occur if Georgia and I didn’t want to adequately fund services and activism for students. I am proud of us boosting funding to the legal service to cope with the higher demand that the SRC’s Legal Service. I am also proud, that we managed to find the funding for EDCON to be hosted at USYD this year, which saw numerous students attend to constructively debate and learn about educational policy and activism. I am also proud of my efforts regarding business school referencing policy, with most schools in the faculty continuing to elect not to include references in the word count. I would now like to take time, to commend and thank Georgia for her efforts throughout the year. Georgia has truly been an exceptional counterpart, going above and beyond the job description regarding her activism and enthusiasm in fighting for students and wish her the best of luck in her coming years. I wish the next person/people to take the role of General Secretary the best of luck and hope that they will be able to serve students to the best of their ability, knowing that I will probably be the last ‘NLS’ person to hold this position for a while. I also wish Isabella Brook luck with her term as President of the SRC, I know she will be amazing. As for me, I have enjoyed myself but now it is back to return to the excitement of commerce and out of the factional warfare that student politics can be. As far as regrets, I have none, including the way I got my position, but I stand by my decision. Well If you need me, I will be busy preparing for Quidditch Nationals (arguably my true passion in life). Long live the SRC, Ciao, Lachlan

President’s Report – Week 12, Sem 2, 2016

Chloe Smith

This week, for one of the last reports of my term, I want to talk about student representation and the important role it plays within the machinery of this university. Many of you don’t really understand the nature of what student reps do, and that is our fault and to our detriment: we don’t publicise our work well enough or take the time and effort to communicate with students about what we do. But it is important and vital for all of us.

The reason I want to discuss this now is because of some recent changes the university has made to the nature of student representation. A few weeks ago, the SRC was alerted, by chance, that the University Executive had removed the presidents of the SRC and SUPRA from “ex officio” members of the Senior Executive Group Education Committee (SEG Ed) and replaced them with one student member to be nominated by the Chair of the Academic Board from the pool of student representatives on the Board.

SEG Ed is one of the most important committees student reps sit on, as it reports directly to senior university management and can approve a range of policies relating to curriculum, admissions, teaching and learning, academic standards and practices, and so on.

This change was made with no student consultation, nor any warning that it was happening. Effectively, it cuts the number of student reps on the committee in half and allows a member of staff to make a captain’s pick rather than it being the elected undergrad or postgrad rep or their nominee. This is fraught with potential issues about who is chosen and whether the choice was made with the best interests of students in mind. Additionally, the presidents of the student organisations are paid a fulltime wage, have a team of experienced staff to brief them, and by virtue of sitting on a range of other committees, possess a broader understanding of the issues that the committee discusses. Students without these resources available, who may be juggling a range of other commitments, might not be able to provide the same level of understanding and commitment to the role.

University management likes to say that it values student representation, but this process suggests that we aren’t given the same respect afforded to other members. It suggests that management doesn’t care about ensuring that student representation is effective and engaged rather than tokenistic. And it shows that management doesn’t understand the importance of students being able to raise and resolve issues at an early stage, rather than allowing them to develop and multiply because no one else realised there was a problem to begin with. The best people to represent students are their fellow students, who they have elected to the role. This should be a fundamental principle. Clearly, it is not.
We have raised these concerns with the university. But our voices can be bolstered if our fellow students write to their faculty representatives, both students and staff, and back our case up. You can find out who yours are by looking up the Academic Board members at http://sydney.edu.au/secretariat/academic-board-committees/academic-board/membership.shtml. Don’t let your voice be ignored.

Enjoy your week!

Wom*n of Colour Report – Week 11, Sem 2, 2016

Vanessa Song

The women of colour collective has been looking at developing ways in which to better hold meetings and engage more collective members. The lack of engagement from collective members has proven to be difficult to combat despite numerous attempts to remedy this.

We hope to host a picnic or end of semester wind down event towards the end of this year which will hopefully set the collective on a more constructive course for 2017. At this picnic/event we would discuss the outlook for 2017 and any feedback from collective members that can be handed down to the next women of colour convener.

In 2017, I would personally love to see the collective grow and engage more with itself as well as with other different collectives on campus. The next collective convener election will be held soon and despite the fact that the collective can no longer hold a paid office bearer position, I hope the next office bearer will persist regardless.

Despite being disheartened by the controversy surrounding the collective at the beginning of the year, I know the collective can rebuild and work towards a bigger and stronger collective for 2017.

Some of the main directions I would like to see the collective move toward in the next year include: Greater engagement with women of colour on campus (inclusive of a more visible presence on campus), greater autonomy that is not relient on the women’s collective; so that the funding, function and operations of the collective do not depend on whether or not the current collective would like to allocate it more funding/less funding, restrict/enable its functions and operations, more educational events and workshops and more regular physical face to face meeting times which is a task in and of itself considering the predominantly online space that WOCC occupies. Again these are just suggestions but they definitely worth taking into account moving towards 2017.

Environment Officer’s Report – Week 11, Sem 2, 2016

Maushmi Powar

The past couple weeks have been a haze of productivity and business for the Enviro Collective! During the mid-sem break, students went on the roadtrip to Vickery State Forest with Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN)! Lots of fun and learning was to be had, with students meeting First Nations people from Gamilaraay and Gomeroi country, mining officials and local farmers from Maules Creek. Working with First Nations people is a priority of the Environment Collective and road-trips are a fantastic way for us to learn how to be the best accomplices we can possibly be!

Additionally, Fossil Free USYD has their commitment ceremony action on the front lawns of the Quadrangle last Tuesday! The action was to raise awareness of the Universities investments into coal, oil and gas and the University management’s slow progress in moving investments away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy. However the electrifying bride, Renewable Energy was left at the alter. With the groom, Michael Spence catching cold feet and once again failing to fully commit to a safer climate for everyone. For photos, catch us on our Facebook page @ Fossil Free USYD and to get more involved with the campaigns from the Enviro Collective make sure to join the ‘Enviro Collective 2016’ Facebook group! OR come to our weekly meeting @ 1pm Thursday at Manning Lawns!

Hope to see you all soon!

International Student Officer’s Report – Week 11, Sem 2, 2016

Alexander Shu, Jasmine Yu, Anqi Zhao

As for result of the election for 89th SRC, we would like to congratulate Stand Up for International Students and International Students for SRC getting on board for the next year term. Also, there are many new members joining the International Students Collective during the election and other time, which is really great for the development of the collective and our voice.

At the same time, there are close collaborations with SUPRA for NSW Opal Card Travel Concession Card Campaign, and with USU for International Students Council meeting to improve international students’ unilife.

We would like to draw attention on the articles published by Honi Soit as international students being racially targeted during senate election. We express our deep concerns among the current result of the senate election and disappointment on that no action was taken in response after numerous complaints raised with Returning Officer David Pacey. We would like to suggest that the Collective should keep working closely with ACAR so that we can team up to build up safer, more equal, more diverse campus.

Please do not hesitate to email international.officers@src.usyd.edu.au , if you have any concerns of your university life. Also, welcome to the Facebook group of International Students Collective, we are all here for you, we are all here for a better unilife, we are all here for international students.

General Secretary’s Report – Week 11, Sem 2, 2016

Georgia Mantle

As an Indigenous student I am constantly being told that it is extraordinary that I am at University let alone at the University of Sydney. I am told that I am an exception to the norm. Myself and my cohort of Indigenous students are often viewed as the lucky ones who surpassed the expectations society puts on us to succeed. I am so proud of what I have achieved to be at this University and to have been able to hold a position of leadership however I reject the idea that I am an exception. I am surrounded by Indigenous people who excel, who continue to work hard and who achieve.

Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people of colour at this University are continuity othered. Throughout this year as a student rep I have continually seen this Unviersity remain inactive over racism at this campus. It is this University’s responsibility to do more. This University needs to act, it needs to explicitly stand against racism but more than that it needs to do more to create a safer environment to stop racist acts before they occur.

This may seem like a lot to ask for the University to stop racism but what I am asking is simple, I am asking for this University to listen to its students. I am asking this University to take down the paintings of golliwog’s in its education building and I am asking this University to take employment of people of colour seriously and seek out the talent of non-white academics in a way that is not simply tokenistic.

I am proud to be one of the leaders of an organisation that openly and proudly supports Indigenous people and people of colour. I am proud that we fund a collective that seeks to end racism and I am proud to be able to write this report that will be published in a fantastic paper put together completely by people of colour.

President’s Report – Week 11, Sem 2, 2016

Cloe, Smith

Many of you will have seen Sydney Uni feature in the news this week, most prominently in the Sydney Morning Herald and again on 60 Minutes, regarding the issue of sexual assault and harassment on campus. Whilst this is by no means a new story, I’m glad that it is finally beginning to receive some of the attention and scrutiny it desperately needs so that we can shine a light on the harmful cultures that pervade some parts of our university community and begin to look at how we can shift attitudes and responses.

One big step forward is the announcement this week that a new specialised sexual assault reporting system will be in place by semester one 2017. This is a project that many student representatives and activists have been pushing for over a number of years, including successive generations of SRC Womens’ Officers, and represents a significant achievement in the campaign to end sexual assault and harassment on campus.

Along with the new reporting system, the university also informed the SRC that all staff members will undergo training by Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, to be able to better respond to cases of harassment and assault, and provide the necessary support to students who have experienced it. These are recommendations that the student representatives on the Safer Communities Working Group have been lobbying for over the course of this year.

There is still a lot more work to be done, but the SRC is hopeful that this represents the start of a genuine, long-term, consultative process to ensure students have equal access to a safe, inclusive campus and university community. In the meantime, the SRC will continue working towards funding a specialised solicitor for sexual assault and harassment cases and running campaigns that hold the university and colleges to account.

Lastly, this week’s edition of Honi has been compiled by members of the Autonomous Collective Against Racism, a student collective affiliated with the SRC for People of Colour, Indigenous students, and those marginalised by White Supremacy. It’s fantastic to be president of an organisation which funds the amazing work collectives like this do, and this edition should remind us why it’s so important that these groups exist and have the resources to produce their campaigns and ensure all students have representation in our community. I hope you enjoy reading it and congratulations to the hard work that brought it here.

Enjoy your week!

Welfare Officer’s Report – Week 9, Sem 2, 2016

April Holcombe

The Welfare Department assisted in the Halal not Hanson BBQ that took place Wednesday 14 September on Eastern Avenue. This was a great success, with many students popping by to grab a halal snack pack, talk to fellow anti racists, and launch a water bomb at Pauline Hanson’s likeness. With the Muslim prayer room having been ransacked 5 or 6 times this year, and racist graffiti popping up all over campus, it is crucial we make a stand and show solidarity with Muslims on and off campus against racism. The appalling opening parliamentary speech by Pauline Hanson later that day shows what we’re up against.

The most recent federal budget cuts was the Welfare “Omnibus” bill, which cut $6.3 billion from the welfare state. This savage attack was passed with support from the ALP. All while Scott Morrison talks of the “taxed vs. taxed-nots”, as if it is students on Centrelink and not multinationals like Apple who are draining our taxes! The Welfare Department is totally opposed to these cuts and will resist them.