ACAR Officers Report – Week 12, Sem 1, 2018

Tanushri Saha, Nischeta Velu, Tanya Ali and Geneve Bullo

The last few weeks saw all our creative efforts, energy and focus being dedicated towards creating a beautiful yet stimulating edition of this year’s ACAR Honi. A shout out to all the talented writers and artists who contributed, and to the editors who bought the whole thing to life. The launch party for 2018 ACAR Honi was a huge success, and it was warming to witness performances as diverse as poetry, music and comedy. A perfect culmination of everything ACAR stands for, bringing people together to celebrate the success. Taking over Hermann’s bar and turning the stage into a perfect backdrop embellished with artworks, this event reminded us of the richness of our diverse experiences, and the importance of having such spaces to chat, laugh and feel warm in the presence of other people of colour. Overall each of us couldn’t have hoped for a better week, or better people to have celebrated it with.

SRC Queer Officers Report – Week 12, Sem 2, 2018

The queer action collective this semester has had a much less controversial first sem than last year—our main drama’s have come from right wing Zionists doxing us, which we take as a sign that we are doing a good job. We have organised frequent contingents to rallies, providing support to campaigns against all the terrible things capitalists have been doing to the world. We ran a film screening of ‘riot’ which was a massive success because people actually turned up. Queer Honi went off, even though both the queer officers almost died from lack of sleep (psa, 12 coffees in one night will make your nose bleed). After a well-deserved hibernation period we are back into the swing of things, planning attending conferences later on this semester, as well as lots of other fun and controversial activities. I’ve run out of things to say so here is a list of interesting facts.

  • Israel is a terrorist state occupying Palestinian land.
  • White Australia has a black history, present and future.
  • The choice to have an abortion is a decision that should be made by an individual, not the state.
  • Gender equality will not be achieved through more female CEOs.
  • Climate change is real and it will impact you.
  • We need to stop Adani.
  • No human is illegal.
  • Everyone deserves the right to seek asylum.
  • Borders are fake.
  • The University of Sydney invests in arms companies.
  • 1% of the populations own half the world’s wealth. They don’t have your best interest at heart.
  • Ethical consumption isn’t the way to save the world.
  • You can’t buy, work or vote your way out of capitalism.
  • Communism will win.

SRC General Secretary’s Report – Week 12, Sem 1, 2018

Nina Dillon Britton and Yuxuan Yang

Hello again dear readers! If you’re like me and cramming for exams you probably have other things you need/prefer to be doing. So I’ll keep this short.

At the moment, I’m putting together a video to help promote the SRC to the vast majority of students who don’t bother to read Office Bearer reports (sad!) that we’ll be using over the rest of the year. I’m also working on revamping our website along with the Publications Managers, to bring it into this decade.

Other than that, budget preparations are underway, and we’re hoping to find out what the University has decided we’ll get in our cut of SSAF soon. Though who knows when we’ll know, these things just seem to go into the Uni admin abyss.
This is obviously the pointy end of the semester and it’s important to take care of yourself. By that I don’t mean use the colouring-in corner that will probably soon be set up in Fisher Library, but actually using the resources that can meaningfully improve your time at uni. It’s not too late to have special accommodations made for your assignments and exams through Disability Services. If you need help navigating that, book an appointment with an SRC caseworker so they can walk you through it by calling:

Good luck with your assignments and exams! And as always, feel free to drop me a line at general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au

SRC President’s Report – Week 12, Sem 1, 2018

It was discovered last week that University of Sydney’s two main support hotlines for student survivors of sexual assault have not been working. The discovery was made after a person seeking support was unable to make contact.
Those who called the Student Liaison Officer hotline were given a message that the hotline was “temporarily out of service”. In addition to this, the 1800 SYDHLP hotline has been automatically re-routing callers to the NSW Rape Crisis Centre during business hours instead of being answered by staff.

While the hotlines have now been fixed, it’s not clear how long they were down for or how many students who attempted to make contact and were left abandoned.

Stress and desolation are common feelings for students who are seeking support after a traumatic sexual experience. By creating inoperative hotlines USyd is exacerbating survivors’ trauma.

This is an impact that can last a lifetime. The first response that a survivor of sexual assault receives often dictates how they will navigate their recovery. If that response happens to be white noise on the other end of the phone line, it may discourage the student from seeking any help altogether. Without help, student survivors are much more vulnerable to mental illness. How will students suffering from trauma reach their academic potential, attain their degrees, and regain a sense of trust in their everyday interactions?

It is clear that USyd lacks a coordinated and proactive response to sexual assault which is enabling the problem to persist.

Even when the University does endeavor to provide support, these services are drastically understaffed, underfunded and lack counselling staff with trauma specialist training.

USyd has millions upon millions to spend on new buildings, yet fails to sufficiently resource support services. The University has twisted priorities that ultimately leave survivors in the lurch.

This comes off the back of Universities Australia abolishing the National Sexual Assault University Hotline which was run by Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia. Last year the AHRC ‘Change the Course’ report found that 6.9% of university students were sexually assaulted on at least one occasion in 2015 or 2016.

If you have any concerns about University of Sydney support services please email me at president@src.usyd.edu.au. To get involved in the campaign against sexual assault, contact the Women’s Officers at usydwomenscollective@gmail.com.

If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or help@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Indigenous Officers Report – Week 11, Sem 1, 2018

Jackson Newell, Holly Kovac, & Akala Newman
Hey mob! Call out for Indigenous stories start now for next semester’s Indigenous edition of Honi Soit. We are happy to review any content written by Indigenous students as First preference, and also content relating to Indigenous Australian affairs. Also a call out for artwork submissions to be started for a potential cover. Send us your content or ideas to indigenous.officers@src.usyd.edu.au

Support the Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) National Gathering happening on May 26th.
GMAR was started in 2014 by First Nations community members who are directly affected by forced child removals. They are a community group that works to stop the ongoing Stolen Generations.
A delegation of First Nations Grandmothers from the movement to stop ongoing Stolen Generations will travel to Canberra to mark National Sorry Day next month on 26 May 2018. 10 years on from Rudd’s apology and it is clear that the atrocities of the past are being repeated. At present, the number of First Nations children forcibly removed from their families is higher than at any other point in history.
https://www.youcaring.com/grandmothersagainstremovals-1164281

SRC Wom*ns’ Officers Report – Week 11, Sem 1, 2018

Madeline Ward & Jessica Syed

Hello babes. If you have made it this far you are likely aware that we have spent quite a bit of time putting together this edition of Honi. Perhaps you have even contributed to it. Perhaps you are one of us, and wrote this report at two in the morning in between eating stale brownies from last week’s Safe Access Zone’s stall at two in the morning hoping for some kind of cosmic reprise which may give you energy and strength to finish this paper.

Anyway, we had that stall for a reason – the Safe Access Zones bill which would criminalise harassment of patients outside abortion clinics in New South Walles about which we have been endlessly harping on goes to debate in State Parliament on Thursday. The details of the support contingent/rallly we are organising are somewhere on the preceding pages of this magazine, please find it, we are too tired to recalll the page numbers, and also please come and be a good lefty and support reproductive safety .

Also we have been meeting with a misc. member of management to discuss, lo and behold, a standalone sexual assault pollicy which is supposed to be implemented by next semester??? Which seems a bit fucked because when has the uni ever actually done anything about sexual assault on campus amirite so we aren’t like 100% trusting them at this point and some of their ideas about the policy seem a bit dodgy. But nonetheless your faithful wom*n’s officers will keep you the FUCK updated on any and everything that happens re: this policy.

For now we must scoot and complete the remainder of whatever we have to do to get this bad boy in your hands on Tuesday arvo.

Au revoir nos chers camarades!!!!

SRC President’s Report – Week 11, Sem 1, 2018

Imogen Grant

On Wednesday this week, students will be re-launching the #WentworthMustFall campaign which demands that the Wentworth Building at USyd be renamed and that statues of Wentworth be removed from campus.

William Wentworth is a colonial figure who is best known at USyd for his role in founding the University. The building bearing his name – the Wentworth Building – currently houses the Students’ Representative Council, AIME Mentoring, and several University of Sydney Union-run facilities.

Wentworth’s broader notability comes from his “discovery” of a crossing through the Blue Mountains, most likely by exploiting an Aboriginal guide which was commonplace practice for explorers. Wiradjuri, Gundungara, and Dharug people had been using the same crossing for tens of thousands of years, and they had even previously been used by other white people.

The route over the Blue Mountains precipitated an explosion of pastoral settlement into Aboriginal land, which in turn led to a series of brutal frontier wars that would last more than half a century.

On 10 June 1838, the Myall Creek Massacre occurred where around 10 stockmen murdered 28 Gamilaraay people at Myall Creek in north-western NSW. The approximately 28 people they murdered were largely women, children and old men. Children had been beheaded while the men and women were forced to run as far as they could between the stockyard fence and a line of sword-wielding stockmen who hacked at them as they passed. Their headless bodies were later cast into a large fire. Testimony was later given at trial that a women was allowed to run with blood spurting out of her cut throat. She was then thrown alive onto the fire. Her infant child was thrown alive onto the fire. Two young girls were raped and kept as sex slaves by the gang.

At trial, four participants were identified by an Aboriginal witness, but the law of the time did not allow Aboriginal people to give testimony in court. To rectify this and allow the white men to be tried, a bill was introduced to the Legislative Council. However, it was defeated after Wentworth gave a speech describing Aboriginal people as “wild men” and comparing their testimony to “the chatterings of the orang-utangs.” At many other points in his legal and political career, Wentworth vociferously argued against Aboriginal people’s right to justice and expressed a hateful bigotry against them, providing a legal cover for the brutal dispossession and genocide occurring in the state at the time.

This campaign is about more than Wentworth, it is about decolonising our university and our education. We must challenge our own complicity in the ongoing colonial oppression of Indigenous people. Decolonisation demands an Indigenous framework and the centering of Indigenous land, Indigenous sovereignty, and Indigenous ways of thinking.

For students that like Turnbull compare the renaming of buildings and the removal of statues with Stalinism… how much more intellectually bankrupt can you get? Not only is it particularly bizzare given the actual removal of statues of Stalin in the former Soviet Union, but statues are not textbooks. They are not attempts to tell a neutral perspective on events that occured. We build them to support a particular narrative that suits a specific ideological agenda.

When colonial statues were built to honour Captain Cook it is a celebration of white invasion and reinforces the idea that Australia was an empty landscape settled by white visionaries who deserve to be lauded. It also reinforces a specific vision of what Australia is and who Australia is for. It is much easier to persist with policies that enact racist policing against Aboriginal people and rob them of their land if your idea of Australia is a country built by white people for white people.

We call upon the University of Sydney to decolonise their buildings, practices and teaching. We call upon this institution to remove the statues of William Wentworth, remove his name from the building on City Road, and consult with local Indigenous communities on finding a replacement name.

Come visit us this Wednesday on Eastern Avenue and learn how you can get involved with the #WentworthMustFall campaign.

Feel free to email me at president@src.usyd.edu.au if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or help@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Disabilities & Carers Officer Report – Week 10, Sem 1 2018

Robin Eames, Mollie Galvin, and Ren Rennie

The Disabilities Collective and Caregivers Network would like to express our love and grief for the autistic victims of the Margaret River murders.

In the past five years, over 550 people with disabilities have been murdered by family members or caregivers. The numbers are likely far higher than what is reported publicly. Disabled people experience disproportionate levels of violence compared to the rest of the population. When disabled people are murdered by their parents, children, spouses, or caregivers, the media coverage often sympathises with the murderer rather than the victim. We are already seeing this pattern repeated in the coverage of the Margaret River shootings.

Disabled victims are framed as burdens and dehumanised. The media explains the murders as arising out of caregiver stress or the hardship or difficulty of having a disabled family member. This does a massive disservice to both disabled people and caregivers. The vast majority of caregivers are not violent, and would never see murder as a logical solution to a lack of provision of disability support services. From what we know, Katrina Miles was a loving mother who did not consider her children to be a burden.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has developed an anti-filicide resource, which may be viewed here: autisticadvocacy.org/projects/community/mourning/anti-filicide/, and a memorial with the names of the dead, here: disability-memorial.org/
On March 1st every year, disability communities around the world come together to mourn and speak the names of our dead. We will have more names to add to the list next year: Take, 13, Rylan, 11, Arye, 10, and Kadyn, 8.

SRC President’s Report – Week 10, Sem 1, 2018

Imogen Grant

Last Tuesday the Government released the Federal Budget. The Turnbull Government’s budget does the bidding of big business and wealthy while leaving young people behind to face worsening employment, poverty and homelessness.

The budget is nothing more than a short-term political strategy to suit the election cycle, and young people are left out as they are not a prime Liberal voter base. This has been a baby boomer budget which has locked young people out of Australia’s future.
As Sally McManus from the ACTU points out, “buried in the budget papers is a plan to have people on $41,000 a year in the same tax bracket as people earning $200,000 from 2024.” ScoMo’s tax cuts will drastically reduce the progressive nature of our income tax system, which will increase inequality. The tax cuts will flow overwhelmingly to high-income earners with more than 60 percent going to the top 20 percent and 40 percent going to the top 10 percent of taxpayers.

Let’s not be fooled. The reality of “small government” is fewer vital services. The budget fails to properly finance a needs-based program for our schools, universities, NDIS and other forms of social security.

We are facing a student poverty crisis. This generation will be the first priced out of the housing market, underemployment is rife and we’ve seen low wage growth for decades. 11,000 students are homeless and two thirds of students live below the poverty line.
Meanwhile, retail workers earning $600 per week have lost up to $80 per week due to the cuts to Sunday penalty rates. Scott Morrison’s $3.76 per week tax cut to those same workers does nothing to address the structural issues around inequality and stagnating wages.

The Government has been decimating our education for years by cutting billions in funding and increasing our fees. Right now the Liberals are planning to pass legislation that will condemn low-income graduates to pay back their student loans barely earning above minimum wage. They are seeking further budget repairs from those who can least afford it.

Next Tuesday the Education Action Group (EAG) will be having a speak out and stall on Eastern Avenue to talk to students about how the budget affects you! See you there!

Feel free to email me at president@src.usyd.edu.au if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or help@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Education Officers Report – Week 9, Sem1, 2018

Lara Sonnenschein and Lily Campbell

Last week, we took part in a speak out organised by Students for Palestine against Israel’s massacres in Gaza. In five weeks of protests, 46 people have been killed, and hundreds more have been badly wounded. The action aimed to raise awareness of the issue and encourage solidarity with Palestine amongst the student body. The day was a success, with both of us speaking and drawing pertinent links between Palestine solidarity and our ongoing books not bombs campaign.

Our recent collective meeting agreed to take on building for the Black Deaths in Custody rally as a priority – we will be postering, leafleting and dropping a banner in the coming weeks to build for the protest. Please contact us if you’d like to help with this work and be a host of the student contingent Facebook event!

In terms of political developments, it’s been revealed that the University is planning on running an Arts course in Western Civilisation with the Ramsay centre – an organisation whose board includes Tony Abbott, John Howard, Kim Beazeley and Joe de Bruyn. We will be looking for opportunities to protest this in the future.

Last Tuesday, during a graduation ceremony, graduate Jodie Pall dropped a banner that demanded the university cut its ties to weapons manufacturers. This was an excellent action and one of many to come from Disarm Universities which ties in with the books not bombs campaign. In light of this, the SRC voted unanimously at council (minus the Libs) to support disarming USyd meaning 1) supporting divestment from weapons manufacturers 2) advocating for no new partnerships with arms companies and 3) condemning Belinda Hutchinson for her role as Chairwoman of Thales Australia and Chancellor.

The latest budget is soon to be released by the Turnbull government – whilst it will definitely be a classic class war budget from the Liberals, continuing to gut social services, especially welfare, it looks unlikely to include significant attacks on education. Thus, our capacity to organise a large demonstration similar to years past is somewhat limited. Regardless, we will be planning an action on campus following the budget in order to continue flying the flag for free education and against the militarisation of universities. Watch this space!