SRC General Secretary – Week 5, Sem 2, 2018

Last week I was incredibly proud to organise, along with our President, Radical Education Week: a week of free workshops accessible to all that covered everything from drug law reform in Australia to the history of political economy movement to legal skills for activists.
Community leaders, academics, politicians and students themselves led these workshops, breaking down the usual constraints around education and its accessible and providing a vision for education free, accessible and liberating. It is only through these peoples’ generosity in their time, resources and knowledge that we were able to organise this at all, and we saw more than 250 students attend workshops that ranged from intimate chats to packed panel discussions throughout the week. If you’re interested in being involved with organising Radical Education Week next year, please either shoot me a message at general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au or message the Radical Education Week 2018 Facebook page.

Last weekend we also organised the SRC’s presence at Open Day, letting incoming students know about the SRC’s services, opportunities to become involved in collectives and the Council’s work and some of the campaigns we are working on at the moment. We also were able to distribute several hundred copies of the Counter-Course I edited at the beginning of the year. Hopefully this will be able to provide a useful insight to people considering attending Sydney University from students attending University themselves, counter-balancing the University’s slick advertising.

Good luck to everyone going with their upcoming assignments, and please feel free to shoot me an email with any questions about the SRC or this report at general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Education Officer – Week 5, Sem 2, 2018

Lily Campbell and Lara Sonnenschein

The Education Action Group held a protest on campus on August 15th against the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation and Spence’s attempts to strike a deal with the centre. The rally was a success, with speakers from the NTEU, the international student community and Greens MP David Shoebridge. We staged a die in half way through the rally, a somewhat neglected technique of campus protests, which worked really well as a stunt to draw attention to our action from passers by.

The week prior to the protest we held a forum on on the Ramsay Centre in conjunction with the NTEU, the first joint SRC-NTEU event in some years. The forum was also a success, with over 80 attendees and an excellent keynote speech by renowned Sociologist, Raewyn Connell. We, along with the NTEU will be keeping up the pressure to keep Ramsay Out of USyd.

On a broader political level, last week saw Scott Morrison become Prime Minister following a Liberal spill motion. Whilst many have celebrated Morrison’s triumph over Peter Dutton, we believe the two to be cut from the same ideological cloth. Morrison is no moderate and as the former Immigration Minister was the architect of the cruel Operation Sovereign borders policy, where he was responsible for more children in detention than any other government. He also famously brought a lump of coal into parliament and voted no to same sex marriage despite the public issuing a resounding ‘yes’ on the issue during the plebiscite last year. The EAG and the student movement more broadly should take to the streets and oppose ScoMo/Scummo and kick the Liberals out!

SRC Presidents Report – Week 5, Sem 2, 2018

Imogen Grant

Last week I was incredibly proud to organise, along with our President, Radical Education Week: a week of free workshops accessible to all that covered everything from drug law reform in Australia to the history of political economy movement to legal skills for activists.
Community leaders, academics, politicians and students themselves led these workshops, breaking down the usual constraints around education and its accessible and providing a vision for education free, accessible and liberating. It is only through these peoples’ generosity in their time, resources and knowledge that we were able to organise this at all, and we saw more than 250 students attend workshops that ranged from intimate chats to packed panel discussions throughout the week. If you’re interested in being involved with organising Radical Education Week next year, please either shoot me a message at general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au or message the Radical Education Week 2018 Facebook page.

Last weekend we also organised the SRC’s presence at Open Day, letting incoming students know about the SRC’s services, opportunities to become involved in collectives and the Council’s work and some of the campaigns we are working on at the moment. We also were able to distribute several hundred copies of the Counter-Course I edited at the beginning of the year. Hopefully this will be able to provide a useful insight to people considering attending Sydney University from students attending University themselves, counter-balancing the University’s slick advertising.

Good luck to everyone going with their upcoming assignments, and please feel free to shoot me an email with any questions about the SRC or this report at general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au.
On Sunday the Students’ Representative Council, along with the National Union of Students, hosted a rally against the new Scott Morrison prime ministership which I had the honour of speaking at. The right wing coup in the Liberal Party brought down Malcolm Turnbull. But it has failed to elevate its number one candidate, former home affairs minister Peter Dutton, to the prime minister’s office.

We are now seeing the bourgeois media pitch Morrison’s victory as a great triumph of “moderation”. But Morrison built his brand and popularity on the back of years of torturing refugees. During his time as immigration minister, was the architect of the government’s inhuman Sovereign Borders boat turnback policy, and presided over the deaths of Reza Barati and Hamid Khazaei on Manus Island in 2014.

He also led the “It’s okay to say No” brigade in the marriage equality plebiscite and led the push for a “religious freedoms” bill to undercut the result.
The political legacy of Morrison’s term as immigration minister is particularly striking when one remembers the leadership challenge came as a 12 year old girl on Nauru tried to set herself on fire, and another 17 year old girl is in a critical condition after refusing food and water.

Morrison’s far right politics are no better than Dutton or Turnbull’s. The Liberals continue to cut penalty rates, privatise education, screw up our public transport, slash Medicare funding, destroy the climate and give tax cuts to their rich mates, while driving racism to distract us. It’s not refugees or migrants cutting our penalty rates and living standards.

Workers in Australia need a decent living wage and a future we can be proud of, not a far-right fearmonger whose policies gain the support of Trump and Hanson. The far right MPs in the Liberal Party are buoyed by the success of Trump and the far right in Europe. They too want a party that is openly bigoted, sexist, racist and shows a complete contempt for science.

The connections between Trump & Morrison are clear – Morrison famously refused to criticise Trump’s travel ban, instead encouraging countries to “catch up” with Australia’s racism. And just yesterday, the US president, Donald Trump, has tweeted his congratulations to the new Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison.And we shouldn’t forget that, for many in the hard right of politics, US president Donald Trump’s against-the-odds success, driven by unashamed bigotry and take-no-prisoners approach, is considered a model to be emulated.
The solution is not to vote our way out of this, but to reignite the refugee rights movement. Social change happens from action – we cannot vote our way out of it. Just like the way we did in after Abbott’s 2014 budget – calling protests, strikes, direct actions and working with unions is something to be replicated today. We must stand up for ourselves because we cannot rely on the Shorton Government to end offshore processing.

We need to kick out the Liberal Government – yes – but we also need to kick the racist policies out & build a movement based on attacking state racism such that such policies become untenable for any party to enact. We have more in common with the workers, activists and unionists locked up in detention than we do with the parasitic Australian ruling class torturing people indefinitely in camps.

Reflecting on this, we don’t want a “stable” Liberal Party. The dominant party of the Australian capitalist class is now in deep crisis because of this factional schism and we want to see the party topple – along with the far-right policies within it!
And there is a role the student movement can play here. There’s a long history of students – no matter their colour – standing up and mobilising against the state’s racism, see the 1965 Freedom Rides. And I am going to make sure that we build we build this movement against the Liberal Government at the University of Sydney and across campuses in this state.

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 General Secretary – Week 3, Sem 2, 2018

In Week 1, the SRC passed its yearly budget—prepared by yours truly.

This is the year operating budget for the SRC and funds all our administration, publications (like this paper!), caseworkers, legal service and the important activism and campaigns of our elected student office bearers. Since Voluntary Student Unionism was implemented, the SRC and student unions across Australia have had to downsize heavily. Only now have we begun to grow through painfully slow increases in our funding from the University.

That said, we’ve been able to do some great new things with our budget. Here are the highlights:
The budget has a small surplus, we’re very proud of this. We’ve also increased our affiliation contribution to the National Union of Students by $1000 to $64 300. This is the SRC has increased its affiliation fee since before VSU.

We will be hiring of a new research officer for the Casework Department. This new officer will help student representatives to better represent students’ interests to the ever more complex behemoth of the University’s management; be able to help office bearers with research for key campaigns; and pursue research projects concerning students’ interests such as affordable housing, welfare benefits and student services. This will also take some of the load for this research from our overworked Casework team, allowing them to better serve students.

We have included substantial training budgets for both the Legal Service and Casework Department. This will allow the Casework team to send at least two caseworkers to a international student focused conference at the end of this to better equip themselves with skills to support international students and face the unique challenges that arise for these students. In addition this will also allow the Legal Service to be able to enrol themselves in a number of online courses that will equip them with the skills necessary to better support our students.
Finally, we were able to commit an additional $650 to the Office Bearers this year. This helps support the work of elected student representatives in fighting bodies like the government and the University to better represent student interests.

There’s a lot more in there! If you’re interested in seeing the full budget (also available at our website) or have any questions, please shoot through and email to general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC Presidents Report – Week 3, Sem 2, 2018

BIG NEWS! This Tuesday at 12:30pm outside NSW Parliament House, the “International students need travel concessions” campaign group will be handing over their petition to be tabled in Parliament. See event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/243138486506764/
NSW is home to the largest number of international students studying in Australia — 300,000 in 2017, and the number is set to rise. In 2016-2017, international education raised $7.2 billion for the state. It is now NSW’s biggest service export, and the NSW government is keen to grow it further.

NSW benefits from having international students study here — culturally, educationally and, of course, financially. Yet, it is the only state in Australia that does not offer international students concession prices on travel.
International students pay at least twice as much for their degrees as domestic students and we do not believe that they should have to pay higher transport costs. The fact that they do is discrimination.
Come along with the SRC and international student activists as they hand over the petition to NSW Parliament. Follow it live through the twitter hastag #FairTransport.

On another note, last week we co-hosted a forum with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) on “No to Ramsay, The Myth of Western Civilisation”. Keynote speakers included Raewyn Connell – a prolific author, prominent sociologist and gender theorist, former University Chair at University of Sydney – and Lily Campbell – SRC Education Officer. The event was a complete success and proved that USyd SRC continues to set the example for political organising on campuses in Australia.

Raewyn Connell spoke at length about Western civilisation as an educational concept and traced it back to the early 1900s during attempts to codify the ideology of empire and the idea of a supreme ‘Western Culture’ into a library and curriculum which gave birth to the ‘Great Books’. The curriculum proposed by the Ramsay Centre seeks to revive the ideology of empire and has racism embedded in its agenda. Universities should be a place to challenge dominant ideas, institutions and systems – not a place where billionaires can buy influence over curriculum, staffing and pedagogy in order to pedal racism disguised as appreciation for “Western Culture”.

At the forum we also unanimously passed a motion stating “That the Sydney University EAG and Sydney Branch of the national tertiary education union wholly reject the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. We condemn Sydney University management’s decision to continue with ongoing negotiations with the Centre. We commit to protesting the centre on August 15 and continuing our campaign into the future.”

Come along to our protest against the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation THIS WEDNESDAY 1PM, Eastern Avenue. See event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/398552780634589/
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.

Disabilities Officers Report – Week 2, Sem 2, 2018

Robin Eames, Mollie Galvin and Ren Rennie

In 1979, Joan Hume led a protest of wheelchair users and supportive allies at the opening of the inaccessible Eastern Suburbs Railway, the first of its kind in Australia. The premier who presided over the opening later said that the protest inspired him to introduce the first wheelchair accessible taxi service in Australia.

In the 1990s, Bronwyn Moye led a protest of Sydney wheelchair users who blocked off Broadway to protest bus inaccessibility.

In 2015, after years of campaigning and a petition with 10,000 signatures, ONE lift was installed at Redfern station. The other 10 platforms are still inaccessible.
Our buses and trains are only (partially) accessible because of the work of our activist forebears. The work isn’t done yet! 45% of Sydney’s train network is still inaccessible to wheelchair users. Much of our public transport infrastructure is designed in a way that is dangerous for people who are blind or have low vision, due to things like lack of audible announcements and haphazard placement of tactile paving.

We’re hoping to organise this semester around public transport inaccessibility in general and Redfern station inaccessibility in particular. If you’d like to get involved, keep an eye on our Facebook page (USyd SRC Disabilities Collective & Caregivers Network) and the Lift Redfern Station Campaign – Make Redfern Station Accessible Facebook page.

In brighter news, we’re delighted to announce that for the first time ever the Disabilities Collective will be producing an autonomous issue of Honi Soit. The issue will be released during Disability Inclusion Week (3-7 September). If you’d like to be involved in the editorial team, or you would like to write or create art for the issue, chuck us an email at disabilities.officers@src.usyd.edu.au. We’ll be posting a Facebook event soon with a call for editors & contributors.

Love & solidarity,
The 2018 Disabilities Collective Officebearers
Robin Eames, Mollie Galvin, and Ren Rennie

Queer Officers Report – Week 2, Sem 2, 2018

Jazzlyn Breen and Ray Prout
Hello semester 2, the queer action collective would just like to reiterate to all conservatives reading this that we are still angry communists intent on destroying all that is good.
Over the break members of our collective attended 3 separate conferences; the National Education conference in Adelaide, Students of Sustainability conference in Melbourne and Queer Collaborations in Queensland. These conferences provided the opportunity for student representatives and collective members alike to acquire new information which will aid them in their future activism and leadership. The opportunity to connect with activist and student leaders on a national level is an opportunity which will allow for grater organising and activism across campuses in the future.

In week one of uni collective members and office bearers attended and spoke at the National Day of Action rally against sexual violence on campus. As a collective we continue to provide our support to survivors. We condemn the universities lack of real, meaningful action to stamp out sexual violence on campus.
Our plans for the rest of the semester include interaction with the anti Ramsay centre campaign. As a collective we understand that it was western imperialism and capitalism which allowed homophobia and transphobia to grow and spread throughout the globe. It was spread to places such as Australia and the countries of Africa which previously enjoyed a wide gender diversity and freedom of sexual expression, but now carry the colonial legacy of homophobia which exists in laws and social norms. These imposed structures erase the indigenous cultural acceptance of diverse gender and sexual identities. This is just one of the reasons we are opposed to a centre buying a slot in the education system to teach content which is “not merely about Western civilisation but in favour of it” as explained by Tony Abbott, who happens to be a director of the Ramsay centre.
As a collective we will also continue our support of refugee activism as the crisis of offshore detention centres continues to remain unchanged and as horrific as ever.
In love and rage,
Jazzlyn Breen and Ray Prout

SRC President’s Report – Week 2, Sem 2, 2018

SRC President
Imogen Grant

Last week myself, the casework team and the Women’s Officers were busy responding the University’s botched sexual assault reporting portal. In case you haven’t been following the news, the University of Sydney has developed an online portal for students to report their experiences of sexual assault, and has been criticised by the SRC as “unethical and irresponsible” due to a series of egregious flaws. The portal was thrown together in less than a month in order to be released in time for the anniversary of the Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Change the Course’ report.

It also sets word limits on survivor’s stories, only current students and staff can lodge reports, and has no clear safeguards around which staff can access the portal’s sensitive data.
It is clear that this portal is not trauma-informed and does not restore power and control to survivors. Placing arbitrary restrictions on how survivors express themselves undermines survivors and exacerbates trauma.
Total anonymity is not at all ensured, as students must access the portal through their university log-in, with no sense of clarity as to who is accessing survivors’ reports. This also excludes members of the public who may need to report, such as a year 12 student raped at a college formal.

The portal also asks survivors for their gender, sexuality and post-assault therapeutic history.
This is an intrusion and irrelevant to how the University processes the complaint. Students should not feel like their ability to lodge a complaint is conditional on their willingness to have their privacy violated.
Asking about therapeutic history is as appropriate as asking about what medical services they might have accessed post-assault such as STI testing or abortion.
The primary purpose of the reporting portal is for survivors to lodge complaints – not to survey them for internal data analysis purposes.

The Students’ Representative Council pushed for the University to delay the release of the portal and to consult with experts and staff in its development. University management failed to act on any of the major concerns, instead pushing ahead with releasing the portal.
As a result of the rushed release, the portal was released with additional flaws – a student was transferred to the staff not student reporting options. And the link to the reporting portal was broken for days after the Wednesday 1 August release.
We are now in talks with senior management to find out how this occurred and will continue pushing for our recommended changes to the portal, including consultation from experts.

Finally, nominations for the SRC’s annual elections are officially open. These elections will determine the new President of the SRC, the editors of Honi Soit, the councillors for the 91st SRC Council as well as your delegates to the National Union of Students. If you have ever wanted to get more involved in the SRC this is your chance. You can visit srcusyd.net.au/elections/ for more information.

Feel free to email me on president@src.usyd.edu.au if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. I wish you the best of luck for the year ahead and look forward to seeing you on the streets!

SRC Wom*n’s Officer – Week 1, Semester 2, 2018

Madeline Ward and Jessica Syed

HELLO AND WELCOME TO SEMESTER 2: THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO. We have a new arch nemesis in the form of Labour MLP Greg Donnelly. Greg thinks it’s fun to bully women and queer University students from his lofty seat in NSW state parliament. To Greg we disrespectfully say: fuck off. Safe Access Zones Passed which is a huge step in the path to safe, legal and free abortion in NSW. We organised a vigil for Eurydice Dixon, Qi Yu and all victims of gendered violence in Sydney. 7 women have since been murdered, most recently Melbourne woman Laa Chol. The silence from so called feminists in the wake of her tragic murder has been deafening. Do better.

THIS WEEK marks 1 year since the release of the AHRC report: and we are still angry. We have a week of actions planned, so keep up to date on our Facebook page and come to the NDA on Wednesday.

Yours in rage,
The University of Sydney Women’s Collective

SRC General Secretary – Week 1, Sem 2, 2018

Nina Dillon Britton and Yuxuan Yang

Welcome to Semester 2!
For some of you this may be a welcome to uni for the first time, for others it’s the time of year you realise that you cooked it in Semester 1 and it’s time to buckle down. For others, like us at the SRC, it’s the time of year that the University hands out its funding for student organisations (that’s us, SUPRA—the post grad version of us, the USU—who runs clubs and societies, SSS—not really a student organisation…at all, and SUSF—which builds the beautiful stadiums that a fraction of the student population actually gets to use. You might realise, we’re a little bit biased). Funny enough its unprecedented for the Uni to leave it this far in the year to sort it out. Almost as if the University doesn’t really care about student unionism…almost…

For a little update of things coming up this semester! Week 2 will see Welfare Week, a week that will try and show you the different services available for students. Week 3 will see the USU’s Radical Sex and Consent Week, which will host a number of workshops exploring and celebrating consensual sexual relationships. Week 4 (and I’m not biased even though I’m organising it) is the highlight of our semester. Student led workshops on everything from how to master InDesign to a beginner’s guide to Marxism to a radical walking tour of campus will be taking over Eastern Avenue in week 4. So stay tuned!

If you think you have something you need to teach the youths of today, we might still have a few workshop slots open. If you’re keen shoot me an email at general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au.

Finally, to the 3 people who have read this part of Honi, good luck and have a great semester.