Welfare Officer’s Report – Week 1, Sem 1, 2016

Hey guys welcome to the welfare department for 2016 ! We’ve started off the year really strong with the “These Cuts are Killing Us” rally to end health care austerity drawing a super big crowd. The Liberal government’s proposed health care cuts include reduced funding for pathology services such as pap-smears, blood tests and x- rays. These cuts are particularly harmful for women, the working class, and people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. The welfare department stands for free and universal healthcare and will be building campaigns around these cuts in the upcoming year.

The welfare department is now fighting to stop the ‘restructure’ of Sydney University. If management get their way, 120 degrees will come down to 20, more students will be pushed into expensive postgraduate degrees, and 4-year liberal arts degree will eventually replace BA and BSc to take another year of student fees out of your pocket. A rally has been called for Wednesday, March 16 to stop the attacks on our degrees and our staff.

The welfare department has some other exciting campaigns lined up for the year including a “Know Your Rights” campaign focused on educating students in their rights at home, at uni and at work. The department is also looking to provide students with pill testing kits and unbiased drug information as part of a campaign focused on drug harm minimisation strategies. So keep an eye out for these campaigns throughout the year !

If you want to contact the welfare department feel free to shoot us an email at welfare.officers@src.usyd.edu.au or by liking our Facebook page “USYD Welfare Department” and joining the Welfare Action Group.

April Holcombe, Isabella Brook, Matthew Campbell and Dylan Williams

Indigenous Officers’ Report – Week 1, Sem 1, 2016

Hello! My name is Georgia Mantle and I am one of the Indigenous Office Bearers for 2016. Before I begin my report I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land in which I am writing this report, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. I am apart of the Gadigal mob which gives me great pride to live and work on the land of my people. I would like to welcome my Indigenous brothers and sisters to USYD and to this land as we start another year of study.
The Indigenous Collective is an autonomous collective group for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students. My role and the role of my Co-Office Bearer Madison is to ensure that the voices of Indigenous students are being heard. This year we hope to hold regular collective meetings and events to really build the presence of Indigenous students across the campus.

Not only do I represent your voices to the Student Representative Council I also sit on SEG ATSISS which is the ‘Senior Executive Group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy and Services Committee. Sitting on this committee means I am able to voice the concerns of the Indigenous student body straight to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Indigenous Strategy and Services. If there are any issues that you believe need to be brought to this committee I will always take them to the meetings which happen monthly.

I would also like to mention that In Week 8 this semester the Indigenous student body has a chance to take over this whole paper! For the third year in a row we will be publishing ‘Indigenous Honi’ which will be a paper that centers on representing the voices of Indigenous people and issues affecting Indigenous people. An official call out will happen very soon but in the meantime start thinking of something you could contribute whether it be an article, a poem, or art.
This year I hope the Indigenous student body can mobilise around issues that affect us the most so we can ensure that our voices are heard and we are able to make effective change within the university and broader community.
If you have any questions about the Indigenous collective and how to get involved or you just want to chat send us a message at: indigenous.officers@src.usyd.edu.au

Georgia Mantle

 

Education Officer’s Report – Week 1, Sem 1, 2016

The Education Officers didn’t see summer. On the last day of work for 2015, University staff were emailed by the University chancellor, Belinda Hutchinson, and given confirmation that massive changes to the University’s structure would occur over the next few years. The changes include a shift from the current 16 faculties and standalone schools to nine faculties and standalone schools. The email also confirmed the University would be cutting the amount of degrees offered from 122- 20. Unlike the cuts to the alumni and staff elected Senate Fellows the faculty amalgamations and degree cuts have not been heavily scrutinised in the media.

We oppose the restructure and demand no faculty and school mergers, no staff cuts, and no degree cuts. The University in one of their 2015 strategy papers noted that the restructure aimed to ‘ease the burden of administration’ (code for staff cuts) and to prevent ‘overlapping’ and ‘duplication’ in the curriculum. But we don’t want a generalised undergraduate education which is understaffed and poorly funded!

The University wants to swiftly push through these changes. There are signs that suggest the process of amalgamating the faculties is already well underway with current faculties Agriculture and Veterinary science now appearing under the Science faculty’s new school of Life Sciences and the Environment on USYDs website. But we will not be left on the back foot!

The Education Action Group has met regularly over the break and been a site of robust debate including a discussion over the first steps of the restructure campaign, would the EAG call open meetings for students to discuss the changes? or should we be calling a rally immediately? The EAG voted to call a rally for March 16 1PM at the Carslaw Building, we hope to see you there! Students can win, we stopped the merger of Political Economy in 2011 and prevented the cutting of over 300 jobs in 2012. We can stop the restructure!

But the immediacy of the faculty mergers demands a campaign which is centred on radical student democracy. This is why we have started calling open meetings such as Wednesday’s (02/03) meeting in Sydney College of the Arts’ Auditorium to discuss the proposed shutdown of its Rozelle campus. If you’re in a faculty or school affected by the mergers keep an eye out for similar events and get in contact with us Education Officers.

Learn more about the changes on the Fight the USYD Restructure Facebook page or by picking up a copy of the SRC’s Counter Course. The Counter Course Handbook contains a non–marketing washed undergraduate subject guide and a variety of articles concerning our campus and education. This publication has also been subject to EAG and SRC executive scrutiny, indeed the subject data received to write the Counter Course has declined over the years and when the Education Officers are busy with a campaign (like the restructure) it can be a challenge to finish such a time consuming task. On the flip side this magazine looks and reads amazingly with articles on discrimination, education activism, pedagogy, and of course the restructure.

We’re here to fight for your education, but we need your voice to join the debate! So every Tuesday at 2PM on the Law lawns join the EAG meeting and lead the fight forward.

Education Officers
Dylan Griffiths and Liam Carrigan

President’s Report – Week 1, Sem 1, 2016

If you’re reading this, you survived the 40+ degree heat on Eastern Avenue during O-Week – well done! O-Week is an exciting, hectic time where you can discover where you fit in at uni and explore some new things as well. The SRC stall was pumping for all three days, running out of our free goodie bags sometime mid-morning Friday – a great result for everyone who helped pack all 500 of them! Our office bearers and caseworkers spoke to a huge number of undergrad students, answering all your questions from how to access Centrelink to what’s the best value food on the Darlington campus (Uni Bros of course). Thanks to everyone who stopped by, especially everyone who signed up to collectives!

Student Services and Amenities Fee negotiations should be finalised in the very near future. SSAF is critical for running the SRC, funding our free services, resourcing student campaigns, and paying staff that keep the organisation functioning. Once we know the final amount, myself and the General Secretaries can start work on the budget and plan projects for 2016. The budget will be presented to the student council – speaking of, our second council meeting for the year is on Wednesday evening from 6pm in the Professorial Boardroom. All are welcome to attend to find out more about how your SRC works – I can guarantee you’ll fill your entertainment quota for the evening too!
We are also in the final stage of agreeing on a simple extension policy that will cover all faculties. This is vitally important, so that if you ever face circumstances that prevent you from completing an assessment on time, you know where to go and what to do so your grades don’t unnecessarily suffer. Your SRC will make sure that whatever the final policy, all students are made aware of the changes.

Lastly, to everyone who’s starting their very first week of uni – I hope you find your classes engaging, your after-class beers cold, and you don’t get lost too many times. This is the start of a new chapter of life so make the most of it! And remember your SRC is always here for you.