Ask Abe: Adjustments for Disabilites

Dear Abe,

My friend suggested I ask you about how to get adjustments for my disabilities. I am already registered with the Uni, but have had some difficulties in one class where the lecturer doesn’t like wearing the microphone. I’m too embarrassed to say anything, but I’m scared I’m going to miss out on lots of information.

Thanks for your help,
Hearing help needed.

Dear Hearing help needed,

One of the benefits of being registered with Disability Services, is not having to do individual negotiations in situations like what you described. All lecturers are meant to wear their microphone, and use it properly, so that everyone can hear. However as you have found, this is not always the case. If you feel able, talk to your lecturer and explain why it would be beneficial for you if they wore their microphone. Alternatively, explain the situation to Disability Services, or the Associate Dean Student Life, so that they can advocate for you.

The same applies for any disability, not just physical ones. If there is a disability adjustment that you need, but have not yet registered with Disability Services, ask your teachers for a temporary, informal adjustment. They are under no obligation to grant you any adjustments without registering, but it might be worth asking.

Good luck with your studies,
Abe

Wom*n’s Officers Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2019

Write for Us:

ENID is an online female-focused journalistic platform for university students that combines resources, creative material, entrepreneurial information and much more! If you have something you want to share (opinion pieces, poems, dances, speeches etc…) please get into contact with us by either emailing womens.officers@src.usyd.edu.au or direct Facebook messaging the USYD Women 2019 page. You can also visit https://enidnetwork.com/ and check out the resources and pieces we already have to offer!

ENID Videos:

According to a recent ABC report, 78% of Australian women are dissatisfied with their appearances. Women of all ages, particularly young women, struggle with their body image, sense of self and identities. USYD Women collaborated with three gorgeous USYD girls, Cady, Taseenn, Serena, to film a short video about female confidence and body positivity to encourage more women to accept their bodies and love who they are. Go to our FB page to check it out (USYD Women).

Sanitary Item Project:

Free sanitary items are now accessible on main campus at the SRC front office (Wentworth Building), in the Manning House Wom*n’s Room (which thanks to the USU has just been newly refurbished) and in the Courtyard bathrooms. Cumberland campus also had their free sanitary item box delivered.

Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill:

The 8th of August 2019 marked a historic moment for women’s reproductive rights in NSW, with the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 in the NSW lower house. Abortion has been criminalised in NSW for 119 years under sections 82 to 84 of the Crimes Act 1900. On the 21st of August the Bill also passed a vote in the NSW Upper House (26 votes to 15). In mid-September motions to amend the Bill will be heard and voted on. A poll released on Tuesday this week also shows that 71% of voters support removing abortion from the Criminal Code as this is consistent with polls conducted over the past three decades. If you wish to learn more or get involved, more information can be accessed on the NSW Pro-Choice Alliance Webpage: nswprochoicealliance.org.au

Vice President’s Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2019

Hello to Satellite Campuses!

In weeks 4 and 5, we will join our caseworkers to visit Mallet Street and Cumberland. We are promoting the SRC’s Textbook Subsidy Program. If you’re an undergraduate student in need, apply for the Textbook Subsidy Program at www.surveymonkey.com/r/srctextbooksubsidy. Or for more information, go to www.srcusyd.net.au/textbooksubsidy.

SSAF

The University has changed the way that your student organisations get their SSAF allocation each year. Each year, the newly elected SRC would make a submission for funding in January, with allocations sorted around July. Under the new system, the outgoing SRC will make a submission in October with allocations decided in February for the incoming SRC. This can benefit student representatives, allowing them to plan in semester 1 with a budget. However, it means that the 91st SRC will be submitting TWO applications!

Committees

We have been busy bringing student voices to the University’s decision-making committees. We spoke at the Student Consultative Committee about contract cheating and raised the timeliness of appeals at the Student Appeals Body. We enquired at the WHS Committee about the WHS module completion rate of the University’s employees. We asked about the University’s student experience plan in the Education and Research Education Committees. And we will continue bringing a student voice to all decisions of the University.
Here’s Why Student Housing Isn’t Affordable

Let’s assume a student is over 18, have no children and live in a share house. Their maximum Youth Allowance would be $455.20 per fortnight and Rent Assistance would be $91.47 per fortnight.

Now, a person experiences ‘housing stress’ if they are paying 30+% of income in housing. So at the maximum rate, students should not be paying more than (30% x $455.20) + (100% x $91.47) = $228.03 per fortnight. That’s $114.02 per week on housing.

BUT the University’s Regiment Building charges $348 per week and the Queen Mary charges $328 per week. Even with the very small amount of scholarships through UAC, half price rent comes at $174 and $164. So how can we expect students living on Centrelink payments to afford housing?

We thank Mel de Silva for sharing her insights into this issue. If you need help with student housing, please contact our professional caseworkers at help@src.usyd.edu.au.

President’s Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2019

Strengthen Our Campus Safety

Following the incident where a student was randomly attacked on campus which happened roughly one month ago, the SRC is actively working with the USU to devise plans and strategies to bring to the Safer Community Advisory Group. We would love to hear from our University community about any suggestions that would assist us with trying to achieve this goal. Please send any recommendations or suggestions through to president@src.usyd.edu.au. All ideas are welcome, and ultimately this is going to help to more extensively protect the University community, including yourselves. If you encounter any danger or a physically intimidating situation on campus, please contact 9351 3333 to request Campus Security to help.

Know and Protect YOUR Employment Rights

There have been several cases of University students being paid below the minimum wage that have been reported by both student media and public media. Students should be aware that as of 1st of July 2019, the minimum wage rate is $19.49 per hour, or $740.80 per week. Any full or part time retail industry worker would be entitled to a further 25% penalty rate loading on Saturdays, and 80% loading on Sundays. You can use the minimum wages Fact Sheet on Fair Work Ombudsman to help you understand the level of pays and work rights that you are entitled to. You may find all relevant information here: fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/fact-sheets/minimum-workplace-entitlements/minimum-wages. If you feel that you have been underpaid, you should immediately call 13 13 94 to speak with someone from Fair Work Ombudsman who will be able to assist you.

Tenancy: Keeping Track of Rent and Bond

There are so many bits of paper involved in renting a house. Some of these can end up being worth thousands of dollars to you, so it’s definitely worthwhile knowing about what to keep and what to throw. If you might lose these pieces of paper, you could scan and email them to yourself.

Contracts and Leases
You should get a lease or contract outlining the conditions of the home you want to rent. This lease/contract should be written in English and signed by the landlord. It is also important that you know your landlord or agent’s full name, and where you (or the Sheriff) can contact them. Please read your lease / contract BEFORE you sign it. Regardless of whether you do not understand or agree to a clause in the lease/contract, if you have signed it, you are bound by its conditions. You should definitely keep a copy of your contract/lease.

Receipts
You should get a receipt for any cash or bank cheques that you give to the landlord. Your receipt should have the amount that you paid, why you paid it (eg, bond, rent for February etc), and what the address of the home is. The landlord should also sign it. Again, it must be in English. If you have paid by a bank transfer you should still ask for a receipt. There are some situations where the landlord is not required to give you a receipt, but there is no harm in asking. You should definitely keep all of your receipts. It is not necessary to keep the bills themselves, after you have paid them and received a receipt.

Condition Report
The Condition Report is what you agree, with the landlord, as being the condition of the property at the time that you moved in. If there is damage to the property, beyond reasonable wear and tear, you will be liable to pay for its repair, unless it is noted in the Condition Report. In addition to the Condition Report it is a good idea to take photos of the property (eg, each wall, the floors, the oven, the windows, etc), showing any broken or dirty items, and email them to your landlord. This will “timestamp” those photos and will allow you to refer to them at a later date to show that whatever damage you are being blamed for, was already there when you moved in. You should definitely keep a copy of the Condition Report and the photos.

General Communication
It is a good idea to email your communications to the landlord. This will give you a record of the time and date that you spoke, plus what was said. If you have a telephone conversation with the landlord it is a good idea to send a follow up email that might reiterate the outcome of your phone conversation. It’s a good idea to keep these on your email account.

Bond
The first thing is to find the receipt that you received when you paid your bond. If you did not get a receipt, it will be difficult to prove that you did pay the money. After all, why would you hand a large sum of money to someone you do not know or trust, without getting a receipt. If you transferred the money or paid by cheque or money order there might be a paper trail. If you paid by cash in front of someone else, you might be able to ask them to be a witness for you. All of these options are not as good as a receipt.

The SRC has caseworkers trained in many different aspects of accommodation laws. You can email your questions to help@src.usyd.edu.au, or if you prefer a face-to-face appointment call 9660 5222 to book a suitable time.