SRC Queer Officers Report – Week 13, Sem 1, 2017


Connor Parissis and Will Edwards

Everything is fine. Semester one has been successful for the Queer Action Collective (QuAC), with some obvious hiccups only standard for such an active group. With assistance from the USU, we created a terrific Pride Week that was educational and enjoyable! Our best events included an educational, inspiring Queer&A Panel, comedy and karaoke, and an impressive rainbow flag chalking on Eastern Avenue. We’ve been collaborating immensely with groups on certain actions, including the Chechnya rally, the National Day of Action and the Palm Sunday rally, and have participated in on-campus actions involving anti-fascist actions and protesting the Red Pill screening. QuAC were delighted to have collaborated with the Wom*n’s Collective on an effective stunt against the politicians who voted against decriminalizing abortion.

The collective are working closely together to rectify internalized issues that have become publicized. The Queer Officers are very passionate about maintaining a collective that is safe and productive. Additionally, keep your eyes peeled for an impressive, large-scale ‘Students for Safe Schools’ campaign, a protest at the Indonesian Consulate standing in solidarity with queer people overseas (16th June), and a sexual assault campaign addressing same-sex attracted people. We look forward to future actions, and remain awe-inspired by the amount of member engagement remaining at this time of semester. We hope to see you joining us for End of Semester Queer Beers at Hermann’s Bar, 7 June 5pm.

In Solidarity,
Connor & Will

SRC Wom*ns Officers Report – Week 13, Sem 1, 2017

Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn

This week has seen a spate of controversy surrounding the culture of male entitlement and sexism that exists at St. Paul’s, but also throughout the University.

We are not concerned about the man who made the sexist post – this isn’t the case of one bad resident. We’re concerned about half the college laughed at it and condoned its message. It’s clear there is an institutional failure within the colleges – especially all male colleges – to address a culture of disrespecting and degrading women, and unethical sex.

This event is just one high profile case that fits firmly within St. Paul’s long legacy of degrading women. In 2009 there was a “pro-rape” Facebook group called “Define Statutory: Pro-Rape, Anti-Consent”. The “She can’t say no with a cock in her mouth” graffiti. Multiple reported sexual assaults and rapes. The “animal act of the year” award going to a man accused of gang-rape. And most tragically, in 1977, an 18 year-old woman who was visiting was found beaten, raped, and murdered on the college oval.

Whilst we are pleased that St. Paul’s will join the Elizabeth Broderick review, the fact that students and survivors had to advocate for change shows how reactive the college’s decision was and how the safety of women is always secondary to reputational risk.

It’s clear that segregating wealthy men from the general university community creates a culture of toxic masculinity and entitlement that is inconsistent with basic codes of decency. With such a toxic culture entrenched in the college system, we must ask ourselves whether they have a place at all in the 21 century. [Short answer: No.]

If you want to join the fight against sexual violence on campus and within the broader community – email USyd WoCo at usydwomenscollective@gmail.com

SRC General Secretaries’ Report – Week 13, Sem 1, 2017

Daniel Ergas and Isabella Pytka

A fitting sequel to the 2004 film classic, ‘Million Dollar Baby’, our 2017 budget bonanza – ‘$1.8 Million Dollar Baby’ – will be hitting SRC Council next week. (And yes, it really is our baby. We love it.) As General Secretaries, we have been working hard over the past two months to finalise this budget, and we are both incredibly proud of what is being presented. It is no small thing. We have consulted with each of the SRC collectives – the activists who work tirelessly for progressive change – as well as the SRC departments – who provide legal and casework help to undergraduate students – to fund new and existing projects that will make a tangible difference on campus. to make sure every undergraduate student on this campus is supported. You will be able to see the Budget on the SRC’s website when it is approved by Council – trust us when we say that is a cracking read. (Both Margaret and David give it five stars.)

Looking forward to Semester 2, we thought we should take the time to explain to you a phrase that you may not be familiar with: ‘Enterprise Bargaining’. To put it simply, the University has an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) with its staff. Conditions outlined in an EBA can include pay rates, entitlements, and so much more. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is one of the unions that represent staff on campus and has been negotiating with the University all through Semester 1. The three main asks include increased staff participation in the democratic life of the University, ruling out forced redundancies of staff over the life of the agreement (it lasts several years), and rights for casual workers, giving them fair pay and entitlements. The University has rejected the NTEU’s agenda. On June 8th, the NTEU will be voting on whether they take industrial action. Staff conditions are student conditions; if industrial action is called, stand with your lecturers and tutors.

So we have all made it, to the last week of Semester 1. Good luck with STUVAC and finals, and we will catch you in Semester 2.

B and D x

SRC President’s Report – Week 13, Sem 1, 2017

Isabella Brook

As semester one draws to a close I thought this week’s report would be the perfect opportunity to update you all on the work I’ve done in my first six months as president of your SRC.
I’ve spent a large part of the year so far working with our General Secretaries, Dan and Bella, on the SRC’s budget for 2017. This has included negotiating our SSAF allocation and deciding on the internal budget of the SRC. Whilst this process hasn’t been entirely sunshine and roses I’m glad that we are able to continue to support our office bearers in the great activism they do and also continue to provide important services for students on campus.

This semester the SRC has put a broad focus on the federal state of higher education and student welfare. We’ve seen the federal government announce cuts to higher education, an increase in student fees and countless other attacks on young people like the slashing of penalty rates. The SRC has stood in vocal opposition to these attacks and we have strongly supported the National Union of Student’s campaign against the war on students. I will be attending NUS’ education conference over the winter break to continue this work.\

We’ve also been working closely with the National Tertiary Education Union and supporting them in their current round of Enterprise Bargaining. The SRC stands in firm solidarity with staff at Usyd and their campaign for better and fairer working conditions.

Amongst all this I have continued to raise important student issues with the university. This includes things like the lack of academic advice, affordable student housing and the need for concession opal cards for international students. I’ve advocated for a compulsory consent module to be introduced university wide. And we’ve been doing work around the centralisation of Student Admin and Special Consideration (keep an eye out for our student Survey that will launch Semester two).

The SRC has lots in store for next semester and we will continue to fight for the rights of students at USYD. Good luck with your end of semester assessments and exams and enjoy your well deserved break !

Refugee Rights Officers’ Report: Week 12, Sem 1, 2017

Kelton Muir de Moore, Jess Whittall and Caitlin McMenamin

It’s been a successful semester for the Campus Refugee Action Collective as more Sydney Uni students than ever in recent history have become active in the refugee campaign, fighting to end the injustice of offshore detention of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. There was a record contingent to the national Palm Sunday rally with over 80 students arriving an hour before the rally to assemble en masse and march together as a block and join the rally of thousands. Students energy at the rally led from the front with passionate chanting reflecting the politics of the day, decrying Trumps bombing of Syria and our governments continued involvement in the wars of the Middle East and consequential refugees. The collective has published another bulletin this semester updating on and analysing refugee politics over the past 6 months, smashing the narratives that both major parties push in an attempt to gain votes and racially scapegoat from their unpopular neoliberal policies. Over 60 students attended the first of 5 meetings this semester on an intro of how to be an activist, and dozens more have joined the collective since in activity protesting to #SaveSaeed blockading Villawood and the Immigration department and #SackDutton. We’re looking to have more students join us next semester and will be setting up regular meetings (every 2 weeks) and some social events to build an even more organised, educated and active collective. We organise to fight for refugee rights and against the racism that originates through our government and media’s scapegoating of refugees for the ills of Australian imperialism and neoliberalism.

Note: The Refugee Rights Officers were not due to submit a report this week but have done so as they missed submitting in past weeks.

International Students’ Officers’ Report: Week 12, Sem 1, 2017

Zhixian Wang, Helena Ng Wai Ting, Yifan Kong and Wenxin Fang

This month has been a fruitful one for international student collective. The very first constitution of the collective has been finalised, and was implemented in the first election of the collective. Consequently, about 10 students were elected in the first election to work on several major issues outlined in the annual action plan.

After the massive sign-ups collected during Oweek, the awareness for the collective has been raised like never before. The collective has been recognized as a community for international students, therefore, more and more students are getting involved in the collective this semester.
At the beginning of the semester, four office bearers had a meeting and discussed the outline the details of our first constitution. The constitution is divided into several parts, important ones are electoral regulation and position descriptions.

Our first collective election took place on 4th April in Carslaw 173, the election was the first meeting which followed the new constitution. There were about 30 people signed up for the election and about 15 people went. 4 officer bearers were assigned to different duties: secretaries, grievance officer and treasurer. There are 4 departments divided by duties: event, marketing and special programs. There were 10 positions taken at the first election meeting.

Due to high demand, another round of interviews was held later on in SRC office. 5 students showed up in the second meeting after the election, we discussed some critical issues on special programs, precisely, we discuss the Honi Soit special edition with the president and after this conversation, more details on the concession opal card petition has also been discussed in the office.

This week, we are going to focus on the spending within the collective and make some decisions and plans regarding to the budget. We are currently planning an event for the collective to attend Jew revue, this will be our first social event of the collective.

Join our Facebook group ‘USYD International Students Collective’ and like our Facebook page ‘USyd International Students Collective’.

Indigenous Officer’s Report

Jackson Newell

Last report, I stated that the Koori Centre is trying to obtain a new printer for Indigenous students. I raised this issue at the Indigenous Strategy and Services Committee meeting around a month ago and was met with mostly positive reactions. I am continuing to speak with members of the Indigenous aid team, Mura Yura Student Support Services in relation to this issue.

I am currently considering our budget to the SRC General-Secretaries, and if there are any ideas you have that will advance community within the Collective that will need funding, please get in contact. I am currently re-instating ‘Koori Lunches’ as part of our SRC budget for one.
RECONCILIATION WEEK is THIS WEEK, 29 MAY – 3 JUNE. It’s great to see the university celebrating the need for Reconciliation and hosting a number of events, which can be found at whatson.sydney.edu.au/events/published/reconciliation-week-2017 (link includes bookings forms).

Events includes:

– Hands of Reconciliation interactive artwork, 10am – 4pm daily at the University lawns, Camperdown campus.
– 1967 Referendum – Implications for health then, now and in the future, Indigenous health discussion panel, Tuesday 30 May, 9am – 1pm (bookings essential).
– Jane Gleeson-White on ‘The Swan Book’ by Alexis Wright, literature discussion in land and country, Tuesday 30 May, 6:30 – 7:30pm (bookings essential).
– ‘Arts and Aboriginal Australia: decolonisation or reconciliation?’, discussion on ATSI museum collections, Wednesday 31 May, 6 – 7:30pm (bookings essential).

As always, any issues, contact me at indigenous.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

Wom*n’s Officers’ Report: Week 12, Sem 1, 2017

Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn

On Friday Women’s Collective attended the Sorry Day Rally. Sorry Day marks the day Kevin Rudd ‘apologised’ to the Stolen Generation. However, since then child removal rates of Aboriginal children have increased, and are now at the highest rate ever. Indigenous children are taken at a rate ten times that of non-indigenous children. It’s important for WoCo to fight alongside Aboriginal activists against a racist system that removes children. Whilst WoCo has also been fighting for reproductive justice in the fight for legal access to abortion (abortion is still in the crimes act), it’s also important to not ignore the unique issues facing first nations women.

On Tuesday WoCo pulled a stunt on the fence of Parliament house. We hung coat hangers attached to the faces of the 25 elected representatives who kept abortion in the Crimes Act. The action was to ‘name and shame’ those who had the opportunity to save lives by making abortion legal, and thus doctors more able to perform the operation. We remain in 1900 when the Crimes Act adopted an even older British law rooted in misogyny that women are to be breeders and have no control over their bodies.

Finally, we’re fighting for the implementation of a nation-wide 1800 counselling line for those affected by sexual violence in the university community. In August this year, the AHRC report into university sexaul harassment and assault will be released. We expect that the report, and its associated media coverage, will kick up a lot of dormant trauma within the survivor community and result in increased disclosures and strain on existing university counselling services. As it stands, Sydney University’s CAPS (counselling and psychological services) is not equipped to handle sexual assault trauma. As officers, we’ve received so many horror stories about the mishandling of cases, that we make a point of never referring a survivor to the service. CAPS also has wait times and is only available to currently enrolled students and, therefore, survivors are often unable to receive a timely appointment and survivors who have dropped out following sexual assault are unable to access support. Cumulatively, survivors at USyd are currently unable to access timely and appropriate trauma informed counselling. We need a 1800 hotline that’s staffed by trauma informed counsellors. Students and survivors are worth it. To join the fight, sign the petition here: http://www.fairagenda.org/uni_counselling

Education Officers’ Report: Week 12, Sem 1, 2017

April Holcombe and Jenna Schroder

The National Day of Protest on May 17 against the Liberals’ proposed fee hikes was a tremendous success. Thousands of students took to the streets around the country, including disrupting a fancy lunch for Malcom Turnbull in Brisbane. It was a large, public, defiant blow to the Liberals who are on shaky ground and whose cuts to universities are opposed by a majority of the population.

More than 300 rallied on Usyd campus and marched to UTS with rebellious energy – in fact, we had the single largest campus turnout in the country. Activists and the Education officers did a huge amount of work leafleting, postering, lecture bashing and talking to students about the massive cuts, how they affect us, and why protests can stop it. Several smaller stunts in the lead up took excellent advantage of the transient media interest in students, with coverage on multiple occasions by ABC, SBS, Nine, Ten, Seven, SKY, 2GB, AAP, the Australian, Buzzfeed, and Junkee.

Since these attacks have not gone away and we have a lot more beyond that to fight for, the National Union of Students is preparing for a follow up protest on August 16, and we will need to see the same organising effort as this time.
But also on the Education Departments agenda is the crucial task of supporting staff against management’s attack at a local level. The NTEU is quickly moving towards industrial action in the face of proposals by the bosses for forced redundancies, de facto individual contracts for academic staff, and further erosion of rights for casuals. NTEU members are ready to strike if management do not back down on all attacks and if they do not accept all the union’s demands. This level of determination from workers is truly excellent and must be matched by students in solidarity. Come to EAG meetings on Thursdays at 1pm to discuss this campaign and more.

Written by April Holcombe.

President’s Report: Week 12, Sem 1, 2017


Isabella Brook

Its week 12 and that means we’re one week closer to stuvac, exams and the end of Semester One ! I wanted to use this week’s report to update you all on an issue that has been pottering on for the entirety of this semester, and that is the Enterprise Bargaining that is taking place between the University and its staff.

Enterprise Bargaining takes place between employers and employees who are collectively organised and represented by their union. Enterprise Bargaining Agreements set out the basic terms and conditions for all employees. They include things like pay rates, bonuses and leave entitlements.

The main union that represents staff at Sydney Uni is the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). The NTEU has three key asks in this round of Enterprise Bargaining. They want to see secure work that abolishes forced redundancies and improves rights for casual workers. They want increased staff participation in university decision-making and they want fair pay, leave and superannuation for all workers.
Sounds super simple right? Think again. The university has refused to come to the table on many of these key claims and is instead proposing changes that will strip away some of the basic rights of our staff.
You might be thinking, why does this matter? Why should students care about staff conditions? The reality is that staff working conditions are OUR learning conditions. When the rights of staff are eroded we see changes like bigger class sizes and less face to face teaching time. If our teachers are stressed or overworked due to poor conditions the quality of our education will be impacted. This is why it’s important that, as students, we show our solidarity and fight for the rights of the staff at this university.
We’re going to be hearing a lot more about the Enterprise Bargaining in the upcoming months. The SRC encourages all students to support the NTEU in their fight for fair working conditions and pay. Have your voice heard and let your lecturers, tutors and professors know that you support them.