SRC Presidents Report – Week 4, Semester 2017

Isabella Brook

This week the union representing staff at USyd, The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), voted to take industrial action. The actions will include a strike at the University’s Open Day on August 26 and a further 24-hour strike on September 13. Industrial relations and union talk can be a bit confusing, so I thought I’d break down what is going on and why it matters to students.

For the past six months the NTEU and university management have been engaged in a process called ‘Enterprise Bargaining’. This is a process that determines the Enterprise Agreement that set out all the basic terms, conditions and pay for staff at the university. The university has failed to offer staff basic job security and failed to provide casual workers with better conditions. To top it all off, the university has offered a real pay cut to staff.
Due to the universities refusal to meet these key demands, NTEU members have decided to strike in order to put pressure on University management. Striking is a way for staff members to exercise their power by withholding their labor.

As students, our learning conditions are directly shaped by the working conditions of our staff. Cuts to the pay and conditions of our staff means more overcrowded tutorial and lectures, less face to face teaching time and longer lines for students support and services. An injury to one, is an injury to all.

It is important that we stand with our staff and acknowledge the contributions that they make to our university experience. Students standing in solidarity with staff will put even more pressure on the university. So strike with staff on the 13th of September, don’t come to your classes, and join the picket line.

Also, PLEASE make sure that you are enrolled to vote for the postal survey on marriage equality and that your details are up to date by this Thursday the 24th ! You can visit aec.gov.au to do all of the above so you’re able to vote YES to marriage equality.

SRC International Officers Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2017

International Students Officers’ Report
Helena Ng Wai Ting, Yifan Kong, Wenxin Fang and Zhixian Wang

During the last semester, our collective has organized a revue watching after the election, helping international students to get more familiar with Aussie humor culture, and wanting to make international fellas from uni before semester 1 ended. Collective officers saw a great interest from our collective members in watching the revue, and successfully get 11 fellas signed up, from both Facebook page and WeChat personal messages. At the same time, our new event officer got in touch with JEWS and they kindly offered us a discount price. We gave out free tickets, also were planning to arrange a social dinner after the show. However, due to the miscommunication with both parties, the event had been cancelled one night before the show. Our officers and event officers showed our sincere apologies to all the students signed up for the inconvenience, and promised that we would organise better event in the second semester.

Our plans for semester 2:

1. The FairFare Campaign

New South Wales is the only state that does not offer travel concession to both under- and postgraduate international students. But we want you to have cheaper bus/train tickets. We will do this by organizing campaigns in cooperation with other student organizations.

2. International Student Council Meeting

The International Student Council (ISC) is the consultative body to University of Sydney Union. International students basically tell USU what they want through this platform. Last year USU launched a new WeChat Official Account (Hooray!) to better communicating with Chinese international students on campus out of demands of the Council.

3. International Students Honi Soit

Is there anything cooler than having articles published in Australian’s oldest student newspaper? YES! That’s having a whole edition contributed to international students’ stories.

4. International Students Revue

For now, we have Jew/Queer/ Wom*n/ ACAR revues produced by USU, and we are planning to have International students’ revue to showcase our identity proudly on stage.

Note: The international students’ officers were due to submit their report last week but have sent it in this week.

SRC Sexual Harassment Officers Report – Week 4, Sem 2,2017

Sexual Harassment Officers’ Report
Nina Dillon Britton and Jessica Syed

We write to you at a pivotal time regarding tangible progress relating to sexual assault and harassment on campus. The results of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) national survey into sexual violence in Australian universities was released last week. Though its results were shocking, with more than half of students experiencing such violence in 2016, they were not surprising. In particular, they were not suprising for survivors who have been adamant about their experiences for years – experiences which Universities did not take seriously and in, in spite of this report, experiences that universities will still not take seriously.

It’s important to remember USyd’s track record when an event like this puts its reputation in the limelight. Hastily condemning St Paul’s College after a sexist Facebook post goes viral, absolutely committing to the recommendations put forward in the AHRC report, et cetera.

Then, behind our backs, deploying campus security to remove posters advertising the August 2nd anti-sexual violence rally, refusing to take on board the advice given by student representatives and survivors during consultative committees, not instating a sexual-assault specific counsellor within CAPS, not publicising its own helpline for complaints. It’s not good enough.

What we’re saying to you is: don’t let your guard down, and don’t let USyd ride this PR wave. If you identify as a woman or non-binary person, join the USyd Wom*n’s Collective on Facebook and help continue to build the campaign. Call out rape culture if you spot it in your tutes or amongst your friends. Keep an eye out for rallies and events; take a stand.

Some good news: the National University Support Line is now active 24/7 until November 30; if you need to speak to a trauma-specialist counsellor, the number is 1800 572 224.

We would like to use this space this week to congratulate the work of 2016 Wom*n’s officer Anna Hush, and her 2017 counterparts, Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn who in tandem with each other continue to do inspiring and important work in the face of a system which won’t budge. It is only through the tireless work
of activists like them – such as the organisation of the mass multi-university protest that happened on Wednesday – that we will see change.

If you have experienced sexual assault or harassment, feel free to contact us at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Presidents Report – Week 4, Semester 2, 2017

Isabella Brook

Last Tuesday the Australian Human Rights Commission released their landmark report on sexual assault and harassment at Australian universities. At The University of Sydney 31% of students surveyed reported experiencing sexual harassment at university and 2.5% were sexually assaulted in a university setting. If you are sitting in a lecture with 100 students, its likely that 7 of your peers sitting in that room will have been sexual assaulted in the past year and 50 of them will have been sexually harassed.

The prevalence of sexual assault at The University of Sydney is nothing new. For too long our university has protected perpetrators of sexual assault in order to protect their own branding and silenced survivors in the process. At the University of Sydney between 2011–2016 there were 52 formal reports of sexual misconduct and 6 formal reports of sexual assault resulting in only one expulsion.

What is clear is that our university has failed us. They have failed to provide us with a safe campus free of sexual assault. They have failed to support survivors. They have chosen silence over action.

The fight against sexual assault on our campus does not end with the release of this report.
On Wednesday your SRC marched with hundreds of students across the state today to demand an end to sexual violence on our campuses. We will not be silenced. Your SRC will continue to fight for change and won’t stop fighting until Sydney University takes action.

If you are needing support at this time you can make a free call to 1800 572 224 and speak to a 24/7 trauma specialist counsellor.

SRC International Officer Report – Week 2, Semester 2, 2017

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

During the last semester, our collective has organized a revue watching after the election, helping international students to get more familiar with Aussie humor culture, and wanting to make international fellas from uni before semester 1 ended. Collective officers saw a great interest from our collective members in watching the revue, and successfully get 11 fellas signed up, from both Facebook page and WeChat personal messages. At the same time, our new event officer got in touch with JEWS and they kindly offered us a discount price. We gave out free tickets, also were planning to arrange a social dinner after the show. However, due to the miscommunication with both parties, the event had been cancelled one night before the show. Our officers and event officers showed our sincere apologies to all the students signed up for the inconvenience, and promised that we would organise better event in the second semester.

Our plans for semester 2:

1. The FairFare Campaign
New South Wales is the only state that does not offer travel concession to both under- and postgraduate international students. But we want you to have cheaper bus/train tickets. We will do this by organizing campaigns in cooperation with other student organizations.

2. International Student Council Meeting
The International Student Council (ISC) is the consultative body to University of Sydney Union. International students basically tell USU what they want through this platform. Last year USU launched a new WeChat Official Account (Hooray!) to better communicating with Chinese international students on campus out of demands of the Council.

3. International Students Honi Soit
Is there anything cooler than having articles published in Australian’s oldest student newspaper? YES! That’s having a whole edition contributed to international students’ stories.

4. International Students Revue
For now, we have Jew/Queer/ Wom*n/ ACAR revues produced by USU, and we are planning to have International students’ revue to showcase our identity proudly on stage.

Note: The international students’ officers were due to submit their report last week but have sent it in this week.

SRC Sexual Harassment Oficer Report – Week 2, Sem 2, 2017

Nina Dillon Britton and Jessica Syed

We write to you at a pivotal time regarding tangible progress relating to sexual assault and harassment on campus. The results of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) national survey into sexual violence in Australian universities was released last week. Though its results were shocking, with more than half of students experiencing such violence in 2016, they were not surprising. In particular, they were not suprising for survivors who have been adamant about their experiences for years – experiences which Universities did not take seriously and in, in spite of this report, experiences that universities will still not take seriously.

It’s important to remember USyd’s track record when an event like this puts its reputation in the limelight. Hastily condemning St Paul’s College after a sexist Facebook post goes viral, absolutely committing to the recommendations put forward in the AHRC report, et cetera.
Then, behind our backs, deploying campus security to remove posters advertising the August 2nd anti-sexual violence rally, refusing to take on board the advice given by student representatives and survivors during consultative committees, not instating a sexual-assault specific counsellor within CAPS, not publicising its own helpline for complaints. It’s not good enough.

What we’re saying to you is: don’t let your guard down, and don’t let USyd ride this PR wave. If you identify as a woman or non-binary person, join the USyd Wom*n’s Collective on Facebook and help continue to build the campaign. Call out rape culture if you spot it in your tutes or amongst your friends. Keep an eye out for rallies and events; take a stand.

Some good news: the National University Support Line is now active 24/7 until November 30; if you need to speak to a trauma-specialist counsellor, the number is 1800 572 224.

We would like to use this space this week to congratulate the work of 2016 Wom*n’s officer Anna Hush, and her 2017 counterparts, Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn who in tandem with each other continue to do inspiring and important work in the face of a system which won’t budge. It is only through the tireless work of activists like them – such as the organisation of the mass multi-university protest that happened on Wednesday – that we will see change.
If you have experienced sexual assault or harassment, feel free to contact us at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC President’s Report – Week 2, Semester 1, 2017

Isabella Brook

Last Tuesday the Australian Human Rights Commission released their landmark report on sexual assault and harassment at Australian universities. At The University of Sydney 31% of students surveyed reported experiencing sexual harassment at university and 2.5% were sexually assaulted in a university setting. If you are sitting in a lecture with 100 students, its likely that 7 of your peers sitting in that room will have been sexual assaulted in the past year and 50 of them will have been sexually harassed.

The prevalence of sexual assault at The University of Sydney is nothing new. For too long our university has protected perpetrators of sexual assault in order to protect their own branding and silenced survivors in the process. At the University of Sydney between 2011–2016 there were 52 formal reports of sexual misconduct and 6 formal reports of sexual assault resulting in only one expulsion.

What is clear is that our university has failed us. They have failed to provide us with a safe campus free of sexual assault. They have failed to support survivors. They have chosen silence over action.

The fight against sexual assault on our campus does not end with the release of this report.

On Wednesday your SRC marched with hundreds of students across the state today to demand an end to sexual violence on our campuses. We will not be silenced. Your SRC will continue to fight for change and won’t stop fighting until Sydney University takes action.

If you are needing support at this time you can make a free call to 1800 572 224 and speak to a 24/7 trauma specialist counsellor.

Wom*n’s Officers’ Report

Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn

On Tuesday 2 August, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) are revealing the results of a large scale national survey into sexual assault in educational communities. The results will be damning.

The 2015 NUS ‘Talk About It’ survey found that 72% of students had experienced sexual harassment on campus and 27% had experienced assault. Sexual assault is a fundamental abuse of a person’s bodily autonomy and can greatly impact a student’s mental health and ability to fully participate in university life. Despite having a very clear duty to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for students, many universities see the issue of sexual assault as a matter solely for the police. Don’t be fooled – this is a lie and a method universities use to avoid their responsibility to support survivors and prevent sexual assault in university communities.

At USyd, and across the uni sector, we see unis dragging out cases so that the survivor and/or perpetrator graduate, failing to remove a perpetrator from a survivor’s class, failing to communicate to the survivor during the investigation or the outcome of the proceeding, and refusing to sanction perpetrators or issuing them with inadequate punishments. Over the past 5 years, 575 complaints into sexual assault and harassment were lodged at universities – only 6 resulted in expulsion. Most perpetrators receive no punishment at all, but if they do it’s entirely insufficient – a note on file, a $55 fine or a written apology.

This has gone on long enough. Students deserve better.

What can I do?
JOIN US at 2pm Wednesday 2 August outside Fisher Library for the ‘Protest Rape on Campus – Break the Silence. End Sexual Violence’ rally and make clear that everyone deserves an education free of sexual violence. FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/214658329058347

General Secretaries’ Report

Daniel Ergas and Isabella Pytka

Cast your mind back to the first week of first semester. Thumbing through Honi as you nursed your Tsingtao™ hangover, you stumbled upon this humble report. For some reason, you read it. And now, for some reason (literally, why) you’re back.
While we have you here, we have three things you need to know (and one thing you then need to do):

1. At the moment, your staff – your tutors, your lecturers, and your library staff – are negotiating with the University chancellery. They’re negotiating for their wages, super, and work conditions over the next couple of years.

2. What they’re fighting for isn’t just about them. Their working conditions are your learning conditions. If your teachers aren’t paid fairly, or given enough time to teach your classes and mark your assessments, it’s the quality of your education that will suffer most.

3. We can do something about it. It’s not good enough to say that it’s not our problem. Staff support us every single day, often far above and beyond what could be reasonably expected of them. It’s up to us.
Now, here’s what you can (and will!) do about it. At 12pm on August 8 outside Fisher Library, the staff union (the National Tertiary Education Union, NTEU) will be holding a rally to show the University management that there is serious and sustained support for their demands. As students, we need to be there too. Come along, make a placard, and show your support for our staff.

But before you go to that march, this Wednesday (which is likely today, if you’re reading this as Honi is distributed!) at 2pm outside Fisher Library there will be a rally to Protest Rape on Campus. As you’ll read about from our Women’s Officers below – who have been working overtime building this protest, and bringing women’s collectives all across the state together for it – given the appalling indifference of our Uni administration, we need to force them to act. It’s not good enough that our reporting systems are so inadequate, allowing rapists and abusers to stay on campus, untouched. Again, it’s up to us to do something about it. See you then!

SRC President’s Report – Week 1, Sem 2, 2017

Welcome back to semester two! I hope you’ve all had a relaxing and refreshing winter break. The SRC has been working hard over the break helping students with academic appeals and I’ve spoken at a number of semester two orientation events to make sure new students know all about the SRC. There are three big things coming up for the SRC in the first couple of weeks of semester two.

Firstly, nominations for the SRC’s annual elections are officially open. These elections will determine the new President of the SRC and the next editors of Honi Soit as well as electing your 90th SRC council and delegates to the National Union of Students. If you’ve ever wanted to get more involved in the SRC this is your chance. You can visit srcusyd.net.au/elections/ for more information.

Second, the National Union of Students has called a National Day of Action for Tuesday 8 August. On this day Sydney University teachers and workers in the National Tertiary Education Union will be meeting to vote on industrial action, including potential strike action. Your SRC will be joining them in a protest at 12pm to show that students stand in solidarity with staff and will support them in strike action.

Finally, by the time this edition of Honi is on stands the Australian Human Rights Commission will have published the results of their national survey into sexual assault on university campuses. The SRC acknowledges that this may be a difficult time for survivors of sexual assault and we have been working closely with the university to ensure that there are adequate support mechanisms in place. With the release of this survey universities will no longer be able to hide from the dangers that students face on campus. They will no longer be able to cover up rape and silence survivors in order to protect their own branding.

Students from across NSW will be protesting on August 2nd at 2pm outside fisher library to demand  an end to sexual assault and harassment at universities.