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

Disabilities & Carers Officers Report – Week 7, Sem 2, 2018

Robin Eames, Mollie Gavin and Ren Rennie

Despite some technical mishaps, we are very glad and proud to report that the very first special disability issue of Honi Soit was a resounding success – as you will have noticed if you picked up a copy from the stands last week!

We’d like to extend our deep gratitude to everyone who was involved in making the very first Disabled Honi happen. It was a huge task and we couldn’t have done it without the talented students who offered their time and dedication to the edition. We think it’s so important to give disabled students space to develop art, literature, and journalism, and we’re delighted that Honi has provided this space.

Don’t forget that if you would like to join the closed Facebook groups for either the Disabilities Collective or the Caregivers Network, you can email the Disabilities OBs at disabilities.officers@src.usyd.edu.au letting us know which group you would like to join, and we can send you an invite to the group by email. You do not have to disclose details of your disability or caregiving responsibilities in order to join.

The collective will be organising a protest against inaccessible transport at Redfern station sometime in October, and we will be hosting a screening of Defiant Lives later in the year. We will also be sending two students to the NUS Disability & Accessibility Conference at the end of September, hosted by Monash University.

Love & solidarity,
The 2018 Disabilities Collective Officebearers

SRC Presidents Report – Week 7, Sem 2, 2018

Imogen Grant

As I am writing this, a final memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Ramsay Centre CEO Simon Haynes and Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence. Annamarie Jagose, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, is currently reviewing the MOU and will take it to the FASS Board Meeting on Monday for discussion.

At the next FASS Board Meeting on 10 September, FASS staff & students will be leafleting members to vote against the proposed degree in Western Civilisation. It is normal for Academic Board to look to the decision at a faculty board humanities experts in FASS and consequently decide approve or reject the Ramsay curriculum. If it gets through the FASS Board then Academic Board is more likely to just rubber stamp it – or at least very unlikely to vote against it. As a result, the decision at Faculty Board is crucial in the fight against the Ramsay Centre on campus. We have cohered a strong student opposition to the Centre and are currently in contact with the student members of the Board.

On another note, the Academic Board and University Executive are currently conducting a review into safety and wellbeing. This is an issue that has become the subject of regulatory attention from the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Association (TEQSA).

The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (HES Framework) includes Section 2.3, on wellbeing and safety, that requires providers to provide timely and accurate advice on access to student support services and to promote and foster a safe environment on campus and online.

We will be ascertaining as to whether the University is or is not compliant with these standards and making recommendations for improvements on the availability, provision and communication of services and processes to ensure the wellbeing and safety of specific cohorts of students.

Interviews will be conducted over the next few weeks with students. If you receive an invitation, I encourage you to take up the offer and have your voice heard on the topic. If you have any feedback on the state of student safety and wellbeing you wish for me to know or relay to the committee, always feel free to email me at president@src.usyd.edu.au.
Finally, last week the SRC sent a contingent of students to the early childhood educators walk off & protest, as part of the Big Steps campaign, outside the NSW Parliament. We heard speeches from childhood educator Gwen Alcock, ACTU President Michele O’Neil, Labor MP Tanya Plibersek and a parent Emily Mayo.

Childhood education is a booming industry and many of these educators attend university for years to be qualified. With diploma-level or university-level training the wage is only $23 per hour, about half the the national average wage – childhood educators are the working poor.

Childhood educators also earn 30% less than people with equivalent qualifications in male-dominated fields. 97 percent of childhood educators are women and society undervalues these skills because they are seen as “soft,” just an extension of the unpaid work performed by mothers at home.

The SRC has made a solid commitment this year to become activated around workplace issues – both as student-workers and in solidarity with workers from a range of different industries. As a part of that we are organising a ‘Union Day’ on September 17 on Eastern Avenue.

Majority of students work full-time alongside full-time study and as a result the distinction between student and worker is becoming increasingly blurred. 60 percent of international students living in Sydney are paid below the the minimum wage of $17.29 per hour. It gets worse in retail, where 90 percent of international student workers being paid below minimum wage. This day will provide a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about their rights in the workplace & potentially join a union.

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 President’s Report – Week 2, Sem 1 2018

SRC President
Imogen Grant

On Wednesday March 21, your SRC will be protesting with students across the state and the country in the National Day of Action. This NDA, called by your National Union of Students, has a demand to ‘Fund Books not Bombs’. This is because the Liberals are intent on cutting $2.2 billion from universities whilst, at the same time, providing a $3.8 billion handout to weapons manufacturers.

These changes constitute a significant attack on students who are already struggling to make ends meet and pay back their debts. Australian students already pay amongst the highest fees in the OECD to attend a public university where we have the second lowest level of public investment in the tertiary system.

With funding increases from 2020 being in accordance to performance indicators, such as retention, we will see the standards and viability of regional and remote universities eroding. No longer would a degree from any member our public university system have standing locally and internationally.

The interests of the university are also shifting towards working for private and corporate interests – not only in the form of research partnerships, but also by abandoning the civic role of universities and focusing solely on accrediting graduates for work in the private sector. Despite the turn towards ‘industry relevant’ degrees, we still see thousands of graduates struggling to find work or working in dead-end jobs.

The violence of the contemporary university is also seen in a radical change in the experience of those at university: precarious employment for casual staff, the measure of workload, a competitive and performance based experience, student stress and anxiety, enormous class sizes and so on.

In today’s higher education sector, Vice-Chancellors are re-cast as CEOs with salaries over one million dollars. These VCs are accountable to university senates, which far from being places of student and staff democratic governance are more akin to corporate boards of management overseeing the operation of large enterprises. We see military, pharmaceutical, biotech and fossil fuel industries wdriving commercial research and learning agendas. At the de facto privatised university, degrees and research are products for sale; students are consumers; and academics are entrepreneurs and service providers.

So fight back against cuts to higher education sector and the sordid state of universities. Come out and protest at 1pm on the New Law Lawns on March 21! Follow the link here for the Facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/events/108878696574470/

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.

As our way of welcoming you to the new year, we’ve put together a list of all the things you need to know to get through the year, and a bit of info about how to get involved with us!

SRC Women’s Officers Report – Week 1, Sem 1

Madeline Ward and Jessica Syed

The Red Zone report was released on the 26th of February by End Rape On Campus. It outlined historic practices of hazing within Australian residential colleges, embedded in a framework of power, wealth and sexual assault. The report was the first critical and explicit look into this endemic and age-old problem, that also offered tangible and thought out solutions to it. We are grateful for the work of EROC, particularly of 2016 Wom*n’s Officer Anna Hush alongside journalist Nina Funnell for their unpaid effort in putting the report together. We also thank all survivors who came forward to share their stories.

We continued the campaign against these practices and against sexual assault on campus more broadly in O-Week primarly by holding a rally in response to the Report. We deman meaningful change from the university and college structures by asking no less than that the recommendations outlined in the Report be implemented.

It has been floated that we are alienating college students with our rhetoric in doing this. To this we say: we are open to speaking to and working with anyone so long as they are open to the critique of the institutions to which they subscribe. We work as a subsidiary of the SRC, to which we owe a lot. But we aren’t afraid to come out and tell it how it is, if the student union puts a foot wrong. Let’s get ourselves on the same page, and then talk. Also maybe don’t rip our posters down.

LifeChoices, the anti-abortion group on campus were again with a stall during orientation week. WoCo has time and time again attempted to preclude them from participating with their archaic views on reproductive health. We staged an impromptu protest outside the stall/gave out accurate informational pamphlets and were naturally accused of, among other things, silencing free speech, studying gender studies and Marxism (both useless, of course), having had abortions, and not engaging in ‘respectful discussion’. It also came into question, “who would want to pump them?”. We take this opportunity to say to LifeChoices: so long as you exist we will always be protesting your views in the most outrageous and radical way possible. We’re big fans of Marx and don’t want to discuss your foetal fetishes. And also, we’re both having huge amounts of great sex in our recreational time.

Yours truly,
M. Ward and J. Syed

SRC Education Officers Report – Week 1, Sem 2, 2018

Lara Sonnenschein and Lily Campbell

Hello all! Thanks for looking to read our first Honi Soit report of the year. My name is Lily, and my co office bearer who will write here in future is Lara. We work as the elected Office Bearers to lead and collaborate with the Education Action Group, a campus based collective affiliated to the Student Representative Council.

The EAG has a long and proud history of fighting back against government and campus cuts. In 2014, the EAG worked with the National Union of Students to organise a mass student campaign against Abbott and Pyne’s plans to deregulate university fees. Just last year, the EAG organised the Students Support Staff Strikes campaign, raising awareness of the strike on campus, why students shouldn’t go to class and mobilising for picket lines. If you want to join the fight to defend your education and fight for better – join us! Our next meeting is on Wednesday at 5pm in the SRC, Level 1 Wentworth.

On Thursday of O week the EAG headed down to Turnbull’s office to protest against the hypocrisy of a $2.2billion cut to higher education, whilst Australian arms manufacturers get $3.8 billion in handouts. It was a lively protest that blocked an intersection and the road and involved many first year students who were new to activism. We took plenty of homemade placards and an EAG banner to the event.

Our first project for semester one is building a protest on campus on March 21 under the slogan ‘Books not Bombs’. Nationally, the Turnbull government has shown that its interests lie in funding weapons to destroy lives, rather than funding education, health care or welfare. On campus, courses are being cut, whole degrees slashed, units are disappearing. At the same time, the university vice chancellor maintains strong links to the fascistic Trump administration and holds millions of dollars worth of investments in weapons companies. Help us spread the word about this protest! Leaflet your classes, put up posters, share the event on facebook (search ‘student protest – fund books not bombs’). We also now have stickers and tshirts for this protest! Come grab some at the next meeting.

Furthermore, the EAG has decided to be a broad activist collective this year, meaning we want to also help build and organise around other issues. Coming up in May is a protest organised by the group that organised Invasion Day against Black Deaths in Custody, which we encourage all students to attend in solidarity.

Looking forward to a radical year – please contact myself or Lara with any questions, queries or quandaries about education activism. We can be reached on facebook, via the src and mobile phone if asked nicely.

SRC Presidents Report – Week 1, Sem 1, 2018

Imogen Grant

The SRC has had a brilliant start of the year at Orientation Week. The SRC collected hundreds of sign ups from students who want to get active in their student union. We also gave out 1,500 tote bags and spoke to thousands of students about SRC campaigns, their rights on campus, and the incredible services we offer.

Moreover, for the first time the SRC has translated our Counter Course guide into Chinese! It is critical that the SRC does more to engage with the international student community and fight on issues affecting them. I hope you enjoy reading this new edition of Counter Course, you can find it here – https://tinyurl.com/ydghtuug.

In Orientation Week the SRC also protested in response to EROC’s ‘The Red Zone Report’ which exposes vile college rituals and abuse at universities across the country, along with the complete failure of colleges to address rape and misogyny within their own communities. It recounted horrific incidents of abuse including swallowing live goldfish, setting pubic hair on fire, male residents habitually masturbating into womens’ shampoo bottles, locking new students in bathrooms and tipping vats of dead fish on them, and forcing residents to consume more than a dozen drinks without a bathroom stop, causing them to wet their pants. One of the case studies in the report also deals with Stuart Kelly, who took his own life after living in St Paul’s College. His parents are demanding an inquest and suspect catastrophic hazing happened to their son on the one night he stayed at St Paul’s College.

The rally was a tremendous effort from the SRC Women’s Collective and brought together around 200 students in opposition to abuse and sexual assault in university communities. It was also fantastic to see a strong presence of staff members from the National Tertiary Education Union. Staff have a vital stake in discussions around campus safety and it is through working in solidarity that we will see change.

During O-Week, students also mobilised in opposition to LifeChoice, the anti-abortion group on campus. Previously, the club was rejected by the USU on the grounds that it would not “enrich the student experience at university”. However, eventually this decision was overturned by the board. This means that student money and spaces administered by the Union are going to a club that targets women and the choices they make regarding their reproductive health. Moreover, by continuing to include it in their C&S program, the Union is undermining the very safety and inclusivity that it seeks to promote. Anti-choicers have the right to free speech but, as a former SRC office bearer Rafi Alam said when the club was first established, “the USU is not the government and their role isn’t to facilitate all forms of speech, only forms of speech that benefit students and are democratically decided by students, not the kind of violent speech this group produces”. If you wish to get involved with Women’s Collective, contact the SRC

Women’s Officers at womens.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

Finally, last Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras and was also a landmark celebration after the marriage equality win. Mardi Gras has a long history of protest, having come out of a 1978 rally for queer pride that was brutally shut down by police. The slogan was “Stop police attacks on Gays, Women and Blacks!”. Today’s activist interventions into Mardi Gras – such as ‘No Pride in Detention’ and ‘Department of Homo Affairs’ – are critical to reigniting this tradition. Activists around the country are also fighting back against the pinkwashing of the police who have an extremely strong history of homophobia and transphobia, and are the very reason for Mardi Gras existing in the first place! Police presence in Mardi Gras is a slap in the face to every marginalised person who has ever been mistreated by the cops. Activists and community organisers are out there doing the real work to strengthen Australia’s LGBTQI community and are beginning the hard work of healing the damage inflicted every day by the police.
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.

Queer Officer’s Report – o-week, Sem 1, 2018


Jazzlyn Breen

Hello and welcome to the new uni year to everyone except our anti same sex marriage vice chancellor Michael Spence! Hope you’re all ready for 9 am lectures and spending $300 on textbooks in one go! We’re definitely not!\

Quac has been super busy over the holidays – both politically and in preparing for O week. As always we’ve had some very strong and passionate contingents to rallies – standing behind some very nice banners we have painted.

Members of our collective attended the annual Australian student environmental network (ASEN) training camp in Minto, where we participated in a variety of workshops on things such as how to organise collectives effectively and decolonisation. Overall it was an incredible week long camp which absolutely prepared and inspired us for another year of effective activism.

If you’re reading this completely unsure what Quac is, let me try and explain in the best way I can. First and foremost we are an autonomous politically active collective who organise around queer issues and participate in other social justice and environmental campaigns. We are intersectional in our activism, as we know that all oppression is linked, and that there is no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us. Over the holidays we’ve had members of our collective on the front lines blocking coal trains to stop Adani, busy organising rallies for invasion day, standing outside abortion clinics to ward off angry Catholics from harassing women – and so many other incredible things. We are a collective that values our members for each of there strengths and passions, and would encourage any queer person reading this to join us. Find us on Facebook “usyd queer action collective” or send us an email “queer.officers@uni.sydney.edu.au” and we’ll let you know how to get involved.

We’re super excited for another year of queer activism! Last year we won marriage equality- let’s keep going until we have true equality.