Women’s Officer’s Report – O-week, Sem 1, 2018

Jessica Syed and Madeline Ward

Your somehow-not-yet-burnt-out wom*n’s officers have let out a sigh of relief in our cavernous office as we realised that, yes, we did indeed do three hundred words worth of work over the summer break. We can now fill up this report word count, all the while doting on the fruits of our labour.

Much of the break was consumed in putting together Growing Strong, our annual autonomous publication. After a gruelling week of laying up in late January during which we saw through both space and time, the magazine is now bound up as a neat and glossy thirty-two page marvel. It features feminist art/poetry/prose created by collective members. It is diverse in both its content and contributors, and we are proud to be showcasing such a great spread of voices. It is available on the SRC issuu.com page for your viewing pleasure.
We have put our scheming hats on and met with a vast array of Big Personalities, such as MPs Penny Sharpe and Mehreen Faruqi, and Elizabeth Broderick, to discuss safe access zones around abortion clinics/abortion decriminalisation, and the cultural review into St. Paul’s College, respectively.

We are pretty pissed off about Consent Matters as it is a) NOT what our collective recommended b) NOT geared toward Australian students c) NOT going to change people’s actual behaviour re: consent. Sexual assault at USYD is still an issue, and we will be continuing to pester the university with our discontent. Stay tuned.

Speaking of discontent, we have had contingents to pro-Palestine rallies, and rallies in support of justice for Aboriginal people, most notably Invasion Day. We continue to prioritise the struggles of Aboriginal people in our collective and recognise that women of colour and Aboriginal women are fucked over so much more than white women.

ACAR Officers Report – O-week, Sem 1, 2018

Tanushri Saha, Nischeta Velu, Tanya Ali and Geneve Bullo

Hey everyone!
Hope your 2018 is off to a wondrous start as we approach the new uni year, and make our way well into the Lunar New Year of the Dog.
We are really excited to launch into Semester 1, and have some awesome things lined up for the upcoming weeks. We have been working hard on designing personalised ACAR tees and stickers(!) that you can come and pick up at our OWeek stall. There will also be flyers/brochures/magazines from a range of awesome and super important organisations, such as RISE, Sanction Australia, CPAC Youth, and Pencilled In, to name a few.
We also have an event lined up on the 8th of March (Week 1) where we will be cutting and pasting, collaging and zining through the afternoon, and we can’t wait to meet both new and continuing members, and chat about our exciting plans for the year over pizza and funky tunes. More details on our ACAR FB page. Looking forward, another event we are working towards is an ACAR Attends for the new, free White Rabbit Gallery exhibition opening early March.
Most importantly, we are planning an ACAR contingent for the “Stop Black Deaths in Custody” protest (May 12), in solidarity with First Nations brothers and sisters. Colonialism continues in this country – you will find it in the disproportionately high rates of Aboriginal incarceration in Australian prisons, deaths in custody, and heightened rates of child removal since Rudd’s important National Apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008. Whilst the many struggles against colonialism is seen in the histories of PoC families, our diasporas and bloodlines, and continues today for many PoC, we believe it is the duty of our non-Indigenous collective members, who benefit from living on stolen land, to take a stand against the racism and injustice faced by Aboriginal peoples. To fight back where possible, and to stand in solidarity with Aboriginal people, as allies in the pursuit for recognition of Indigenous sovereignty. We’ll see you there.
If you see us at OWeek, or around campus, come and say hello! We would love to chat and meet you.
Your 2018 Office Bearers of the Autonomous Collective Against Racism:
Tanushri Saha, Nischeta Velu, Tanya Ali & Geneve Bullo.

Vice President’ Report – O-Week, Sem 1 2018

Adriana Olguin Malavisi

Since the beginning of my term, I have been trying to think of ways in which I can actively get involved in my role as vice-president. I have spoken to my co-VP to see what our goals are this year, I’m very excited to help out with the campaigns he will be running, and have very high hopes for what we will achieve. What I wish to do during the first part of 2018 is an initiative which helps students access services on and off campus for things such as mental health, student housing, financial help, special considerations, etc. Although there are quite a few services available on and off campus, it can be quite overwhelming, and they’re not often well advertised. Students need to know how to access the services available to them in such a way that they are comfortable, and confident that they will receive genuinely meaningful advice and assistance. Another thing is making sure students know all the options they have when it comes to appeals and special consideration, as the schools and faculties sometimes fail to make this clear. Obviously the special considerations system can often be quite brutal, but it does provide a lot of safe guards and support for students who are struggling with their mental and/or physical health, though we should still push for a more compassionate system, we must first make sure students are aware of what’s available to them. At a meeting with some of the executive the idea of a ‘Services Week” was brought up. This would be a short 3-day occasion which, much like Radical Sex week or Radical Education Week, and run similar to student elections (but less annoying and way less stressful.) It would involve directly engaging students during events, on eastern avenue, and in lectures. The purpose of this would be to publicize all services provided by the University, USU, and SRC whether it be financial, personal health, student housing, etc. as well as services not provided for by the university.

General Secretaries Report – O-week, Sem 1, 2018

Nina Dillon Britton and Yuxuan Yang

Hello clueless first years and returning ancient stupol hacks! Welcome to O-Week and welcome to the part of Honi that no one, except you apparently, reads! We’re you’re General Secretaries for this year and will be sorting out budgets, the SRC’s O-Week stall (if you’re reading this this O-Week please come say hi!!) and generally helping collectives do their best work. Thrilling stuff.

If you’ve gone to the effort of reading this part of the paper, here’s a word of advice: our SRC is here for you – that means it fights for your interests and will support you when uni management fucks you over. There’s probably a lot that you will get out of your time at this degree factory, including (hopefully), but not limited to a degree. But what you will probably get most out of is meeting people like you, the sort of people who will meet the parts of Honi that only true stupol hacks read, and who hopefully care about issues that are larger than them.

Not that we’re biased, but the best way of getting doing this is through collectives and campaigns. Come to the National Day of Action on March 21 to protest the billions of dollars in cuts to higher education, join the Wom*n’s Collective to fight for an end to sexual assault and harassment at uni or join the fight to end racist discrimination against international students who have to pay for $100,000 degrees and aren’t even afforded concession Opal cards.
Sounds like you? Come have a chat with us at our stall or pick up a copy of Counter-Course (our O-Week publication) where you can read more about everything from the history of student activism at Sydney to the best places to take a shit on campus. We put a lot of effort into it so…please actually read it.

None of this interest you? Despite the fact you read to the end of a report from someone you probably don’t know? Congrats! If all this SRC “activism” is too scary for you try the simpler route: call Malcolm Turnbull to tell him what you think about cutting billions from your education on 02 6277 7700.

President’s Report – O-week, Sem 1 2018

Welcome to semester one 2018! First and foremost,

I am Imogen Grant and I will be your President of the Students’ Representative Council this year.

As you will discover during your time at university, student unions play a crucial role in defending student rights, disseminating information, and organising resistance. In​ ​essence,​ the​ ​SRC ​is​ ​run​ ​by​ ​students,​ ​for​ ​students;​ ​and​ ​it​ ​both​ ​wants​ ​to​ ​help​ ​students​ ​at​ ​an individual​ ​level​ ​(in​ ​its​ ​casework​ ​and​ ​legal​ ​services)​ ​and​ ​at​ ​a​ ​collective​ ​level​ ​(through defending public education and resourcing student activism). Essentially, if you don’t wish to just study at university – but want to shape it – then the SRC is the organisation for you.

This week is O-Week – one of the most dangerous weeks of the year for students. Sexual assault service providers receive a spike in calls from university students and one in eight attempted or committed rapes at USyd colleges will happen this week. This is why we call it ‘The Red Zone’.

For over a decade, student activists from the SRC have been at forefront of the fight against sexual assault in university communities. Over the past week vile college rituals and abuse were exposed at universities across the country, along with the complete failure of colleges to address rape and misogyny within their own communities. We have seen stories from St John’s College where women residents are ranked in order of attractiveness, setting pubic hair on fire, the Green Goblin rituals, and ‘No Jets Friday’ where male college students refuse to make eye contact or talk to female students (who are called ‘Jets’ for ‘Just Excuse The Slag’). But students have resisted, and we have now reached an apex in the campaign where our voices can no longer be ignored.
There is no doubt that student unions have been critical to mobilising student struggles and will continue to be so into the future. The possibilities for significant student protest to impact the political climate are far from dead. Now more than ever we need to draw on the radical history of student organisations, which can only be strengthened by the participation of students who recognise their potential and fight to revive it.

My challenge for you to become a student in the broadest possible sense. University provides an almost unparalleled opportunity to become politicised and contribute to a better society through your education. Join the SRC’s collectives, embrace student activism, and do not be afraid to seek support when you need it.

Feel free to email me at 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!

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, help is available – call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 and ask to speak to a specialist trauma counsellor.

Global Solidarity Report – Week 5, Sem 1, 2016

Justine Armin, Pelin Ersoy, Declan Maher and Michelle Picone

Memories of May 68 are being rekindled in France as students and workers have, over recent weeks, taken to the streets to oppose the dismantling of labour protections that would see workers be subject to the whims of their bosses. These reforms will allow bosses to increase working hours over the offical 35 a week and give them greater ease to fire workers, amongst other attacks. Strikes, high school pickets and street rallies with participants numbering 450,000 occurred across the country on March 9, against these reforms being pushed by a so called Socialist government. Subsequently on March 31, a national day of strikes and protests involved over a million participants.
Elsewhere, the leak of the Panama papers has revealed the depths of greed and corruption of the global elite – while workers and the poor face austerity worldwide, the parasites at the top of society get richer still. However, the immense power of ordinary people to fight back was shown in Iceland, where their Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who was implicated in the scandal, was forced to resign after a whole 10% of the nation’s population came out in protest.
Closer to home, 30,000 people marched to the Australian embassy in Dili in Timor-Leste against Australia’s theft of Timor’s oil resources. Rallies were also held in several cities in Australia to demand an end to the theft of the resources of one of the world’s poorest nations by one of the richest. I attended the demonstration in Melbourne at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can find out more about the campaign on the Timor Sea Justice Campaign Facebook page.
As usual, our own government, in tandem with governments around the world, continues to attack education – Liberal minister for education Simon Birmingham has announced that fee deregulation never left the agenda, the threshold for the repayment of HECS debt will be lowered, and that the government will pursue the debt of deceased students. The Global Solidarity Office will be partaking in the speak-out against attacks on education on Wednesday the 13th of April at Fisher Library.

International Students’ Officer’s Report – Week 5, Sem 1, 2016

Hannah Elten, Alexander Shu, Jasmine Yu and Anqi Zhao

Last week’s announcement of the change of the graduation date for the International Management Master Programme has caused a lot of backlash amongst the international student community, something that has even been picked up by the media. The incidence reflects the University’s often inconsiderate attitude towards overseas students and their specific circumstances (such as the fact that family attendance at graduation ceremonies is rather difficult to arrange and requires significant financial commitment). And although we as OBs are currently trying to ensure that this does not happen again in the future, securing awareness the awareness on the side of University administration is something hard to achieve as long as overseas student representation stay as low-key as it currently is.

On a more positive note, there are two major events concerning international students happening this week: The Forum on the Travel Concession Campaign, mainly organized by SUPRA, on Wednesday the 13th, and the first meeting of the International Council to the USU on Thursday the 14th. Concerning the International Council Meeting, all Clubs and Societies Executives should have received an email asking to send an international student Executive member to attend. This is an amazing opportunity to engage with the USU decision-making process, as well as to voice important concerns regarding international students on Campus that the USU might be able to address. We strongly encourage every Club Executive to participate in this.

Another great achievement has been the publication of the first translation of an Honi Soit article into Mandarin just before the break – we hope that this makes the student newspaper slightly more accessible to a large portion of international students on campus, and that there will be future translations of articles centred on international students’ issues to come.

The next issue the SRC Overseas Department is going to address is the one of Student Housing, both on and off- Campus. This will include a survey conducted together with the SRC Housing Officers on the quality of living within the Terraces, and an effort to implement tenancy-rights workshops at the start of each semester for incoming overseas students.

Lastly, we would again like to encourage all international students on Campus to attend our Collective Meetings, held fortnightly on Wednesdays at 5pm. Since the start of the semester, we have continuously grown, and have had many important discussions on how to improve overseas students’ welfare on Campus. If you are interested, just contact us under international.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

Fight Racism – Get involved in the Anti-Racism Collective (ARC)

A lot has been happening around refugees in the past couple of months, but nothing’s changed with Morrison and Abbott, who continue to bolster their anti-refugee narrative

Recently, Scott Morrison has come out announcing the release of children from onshore immigration detention centres. But his announcement is incredibly deceptive as it only refers to children and their families who are already living in the community – all the Liberal Party is doing is transferring the ‘status’ of these refugees from being held in community detention, to being put on bridging visas. This announcement came at interesting timing as Morrison just last week, faced a Human Rights Commission inquiry regarding the eroding mental health of children locked up in detention. The timing of his announcement is without a doubt an attempt to dampen the increasing backlash towards Operation Sovereign borders and and all that it entails.

Also significant, 2 G4S guards have been charged with the murder of Reza Barati after an investigation by the PNG Police. But true justice for Reza and his family, doesn’t end with two employees of the Australian Government being charged with murder; that is just the beginning. Justice will be served by destroying the brutal detention regime that enabled his murder in the first place and by exposing to everyone that no matter who he points the finger to, Scott Morrison is the one ultimately responsible for his death.

The Abbott Government have used refugees as a scapegoat and a spearhead to try and pass through their viscous budget that attacks the most vulnerable in our society. With the Liberal Party’s attacks on students, pensioners, universal healthcare, welfare recipients, the disabled, the unemployed and almost everyone else, it’s clear that the enemy isn’t refugees, but the politicians sitting in parliament.

ARC EVENT:

The Anti-Racism Collective (ARC) is hosting its first forum of the semester next week on WEDNESDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER 1PM in NEW LAW LECTURE THEATRE 026 with special guests MARK ISAACS, a former Salvation Army worker on Nauru and author of ‘The Undesirables’ and DR LOUISE BOON-KUO, a law professor at Sydney University with a specialty in refugee law. We will also have a dedicated refugee activist from ARC talking about what students can do to fight back against Operation Sovereign Borders. Come along for a great discussion!

ARC meets every Monday 12pm on New Law Lawns. All welcome! It’s never been a more important time to get involved in the campaign. For more info, check out our Facebook page, ‘Anti-Racism Collective Sydney Uni’ or contact Gabby on 0416 488 258. Stand up fight back!

Where are we at with the Liberal’s Higher Education budget?

It has been 3 months since the Liberals announced their budget that would see the greatest attacks not just on funding for higher education, but a complete targeting attack on students.
To recap the budget proposed:

  • The deregulation of University fees, meaning that Universities have the ability to charge whatever fees they like. This will lead to a two-tiered US style system, and Universities could charge $100,000 or more for a Law degree. Students will be dealing with life long debt.
  • A reduction of at least 20% of commonwealth funding per student. Another cut to higher education.
  • The introduction of commonwealth scholarships. This is a scholarship that will supposedly ease the burden of fee deregulation and allow more students from low socio-economic backgrounds to attend university. However in reality the Government will not be putting any money towards the scholarship. Universities are stipulated to put 20 cents per dollar received from fees towards this fund. However Universities do not have to put this money away until they break even on the 20% funding cut.
  • The implementation of an interest rate of up to 6% on HECS repayments, while lowering the income threshold required for beginning repayments. Currently HECS has no real interest rate attached to it, only that of CPI. The implementation of a HECS interest rate would mean that you would be disadvantaged if you chose to study Law and then work for a NGO, you would be disadvantaged if you were a women because on average you will earn less, you will be even more disadvantaged if you are a woman and chose to have children.

In short Australia’s next will not be able to see a higher education as a right, but will have to make a strategically life long decision of debt at the age of 18.
We are currently waiting for the senate to return in late August
and the Liberal Government to put forward the higher education bill to really understand what we will be dealing with.

Vice Presidents Laura Webster and Max Hall tell you why they “Stand with Raue”.

It cannot have escaped your notice that a certain Vice President is faced with the likely possibility of being removed from Board. No, it’s not us. It’s Tom Raue. If last’s weeks edition of Honi Soit is any indication, we are not the only ones who support Tom and strongly oppose any motion which would have him removed from the University of Sydney Union Board of Directors. The events that have lead to this has already been thoroughly documented in this fine publication in great detail, so we instead will tell you why we stand with Raue…and why you should too.

Tom is an anomaly in student politics. He actually cares about students as opposed to building his résumé. USU executive would have you believe that Tom has committed a heinous crime and released a confidential report; however we would argue that Tom has done nothing but fulfill his obligation to the safety and welfare of students by releasing one line of a report detailing police and University cooperation during the violent 2013 strikes. May 14 has become synonymous with abuse, trauma, lies from the University and blatant police brutality.

We can’t help but question the integrity and motivation of anyone who suggests that documents proving direct cooperation between the University and the NSW Police Force should not be made public at the time of discovery. Tom made a judgment call and we stand by him. Tom’s attempts to protect students and his attempts to hold the University accountable for the violent acts committed by the NSW police on the picket lines have been met with a motion proposed by USU Executive to remove him from his position as Vice President, citing severe misconduct. Go back and check your duty statements because you’ve got it wrong.

Disappointment is not a strong enough word to encapsulate our feelings toward the USU Executive, Hannah Morris, Sophie Stanton and John Harding-Easson.

USU Executive, we do not support you. We do not trust you. You do not represent our wishes. If a motion to remove Raue from Board is passed, we have completely lost faith in you and you will have proven that the USU is more concerned with placating the University and it’s numerous corporate sponsors than listening to what its students want.

Show your support and keep updated at facebook.com/standwithraue.