Posts for education dept

Education Officer’s Report – Week 8, 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 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 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!

SRC Education Officers Report – Week 8, Sem 1 2018

Lara Sonnenschein and Lily Campbell

Hey all, hope your assignments are getting done in reasonable time and the student poverty isn’t bothering you too bad this week. The Education officers have been keeping busy engaged with a range of campaigns, particularly with Palestine Solidarity activism, the ACTU Change the Rules campaign and building the Black Deaths in Custody. Following recent events on the Gaza border, in which over 30 Palestinian peaceful protestors have been murdered by the Israeli Occupation Forces, we have been working in close collaboration with Students for Palestine on campus and Hersha Kadkol, NUS Ethnocultural Officer. Together we have helped to organise an action/speak out on campus for May 2, you can find it on facebook by searching ‘Stand with Palestine: Raise the Flag at USYD’. Please come along and join us, and if you would like to help spread the word please contact myself (Lily) or Lara for materials.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions and Unions NSW have called a May Day rally for May 6, as part of the Change the Rules campaign. This is a good campaign that seeks to put union rights at the front of political discussion in Australia – as the left we want to put forward the argument that the current industrial relations system will only be challenged through industrial action, defying the rules. We are co-hosting the ‘Strike to Change the Rules’ contingent to the rally and encourage all students to come along.

On May 12 there is a protest organised by FIRE against Black Deaths In Custody. Showing solidarity with Aboriginal people should be of paramount importance to all student activists in this deeply racist country. Building for this rally will form much of our work in weeks to come.

And finally, what may be the final Turnbull budget is coming up soon – watch this space! We will be planning an action in the week following the budget – it’s sure to be a classic Liberal budget full of attacks on students.

Education Officers’ Report: Week 12, Sem 1, 2017

April Holcombe and Jenna Schroder

The National Day of Protest on May 17 against the Liberals’ proposed fee hikes was a tremendous success. Thousands of students took to the streets around the country, including disrupting a fancy lunch for Malcom Turnbull in Brisbane. It was a large, public, defiant blow to the Liberals who are on shaky ground and whose cuts to universities are opposed by a majority of the population.

More than 300 rallied on Usyd campus and marched to UTS with rebellious energy – in fact, we had the single largest campus turnout in the country. Activists and the Education officers did a huge amount of work leafleting, postering, lecture bashing and talking to students about the massive cuts, how they affect us, and why protests can stop it. Several smaller stunts in the lead up took excellent advantage of the transient media interest in students, with coverage on multiple occasions by ABC, SBS, Nine, Ten, Seven, SKY, 2GB, AAP, the Australian, Buzzfeed, and Junkee.

Since these attacks have not gone away and we have a lot more beyond that to fight for, the National Union of Students is preparing for a follow up protest on August 16, and we will need to see the same organising effort as this time.
But also on the Education Departments agenda is the crucial task of supporting staff against management’s attack at a local level. The NTEU is quickly moving towards industrial action in the face of proposals by the bosses for forced redundancies, de facto individual contracts for academic staff, and further erosion of rights for casuals. NTEU members are ready to strike if management do not back down on all attacks and if they do not accept all the union’s demands. This level of determination from workers is truly excellent and must be matched by students in solidarity. Come to EAG meetings on Thursdays at 1pm to discuss this campaign and more.

Written by April Holcombe.

Education Officers’ Report – Week 1, Sem 2, 2017

Make Education Free Again is the central student campaign running across the country this year. The campaign has had a brilliant start to the year at Sydney University’s O-Week. The Education Action Group (EAG) collected hundreds of signatures and sign ups for students who want to get involved in the fight back. We brought a bunch of students to the FairWork Commission to protest against its heinous decision to cut Sunday penalty rates. The anger against FairWork and the Liberals is palpable, so it’s important that unionists get the ball rolling by taking action right away.

Whether it’s fake Centrelink debts, rising student fees, course cuts, staff cuts, or wage cuts, students are facing attacks on all sides. That’s why the Education Department is organising action on all of these issues, with a focus on building the National Day of Action on March 22. We are regularly communicating with the university staff union, the NTEU, to help support teachers and admin workers in their fight for better working conditions, which improve the quality of student learning. We are ready to support any industrial action the NTEU wishes to take against greedy university management, who are sacking hundreds of staff even as the Vice Chancellor takes in $1.3 million a year.

The Education Action Group meets every Tuesday at 2pm on the New Law Lawns. Any student – domestic or international, science or arts, undergraduate or postgraduate – is welcome, because mass action by students and staff is the key to success. Tell your classmates, yor students, your workmates, about the National Day of Action.

1pm on the New Law Lawns, Wednesday 22 March (Week 3). See you there!

Education Officer’s Report – Week 12, Sem 2, 2016

Liam Carrigan & Dylan Griffiths

Considering the seemingly unstoppable neolibralisation and corporatization of Sydney University and the mainstream narrative of student apathy to activism it’s pretty humbling to once again sign off on another year of incredible education activism. Since 2012 this campus has been the scene of the last vestiges of radical student struggle. We have stood in solidarity with staff, struggled against fee deregulation and fought against the restructuring of our University.

2016 begun with our ‘Insipid’ poster campaign that called out the hypocrisy of the University’s marketing campaign. We worked with the NTEU to hold a rally against the restructure on March 16th and oppose the cuts in senate representatives. We have opposed the presence of Liberals on campus, protesting Simon Birmingham in with Fisher library and opposing the University awarding an honorary doctorate to the very undeserving John Howard. With the scrapping of the start up scholarship, two billion in cuts to Universities and lowering of the HECS repayment threshold we worked in conjunction with the National Union of Students to organize student resistance. Education activists were also involved in the organizing of the inaugural Radical Education Week.

By far the most significant campaign of the year was ‘Let SCA Stay’, a blueprint for opposing the restructure and student radicalism. The attempts by the University to destroy this community of artists sparked a mass campaign that included hundreds storming the senate; the most visually striking action EVER at the Archibald prize and a hugely successful student strike on August 17th.

Oh and we saved simple extensions so remember to thank the SRC every time you use one!
As the NTEU enters the EBA period students must be ready to stand in solidarity with staff if they go on strike as we did in 2013. Staff teaching conditions are after all student-learning conditions. The fight to save SCA must continue as they attempt to move them onto main campus and sack staff in the process. We must continue the fight for free education and fee deregulation.

Dylan and myself are proud to have continued the tradition of an unapologetically radical education department this year. Thanks to our comrades, families and every student who involved themselves even in the smallest way in the fight for a better education.
Never forget, study, be silent and die. Question authority, fight the system and oppose the liberals at all turns. Be radical and never let anyone make you feel bad about it.

Environment Officer’s Report – Week 11, Sem 2, 2016

Maushmi Powar

The past couple weeks have been a haze of productivity and business for the Enviro Collective! During the mid-sem break, students went on the roadtrip to Vickery State Forest with Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN)! Lots of fun and learning was to be had, with students meeting First Nations people from Gamilaraay and Gomeroi country, mining officials and local farmers from Maules Creek. Working with First Nations people is a priority of the Environment Collective and road-trips are a fantastic way for us to learn how to be the best accomplices we can possibly be!

Additionally, Fossil Free USYD has their commitment ceremony action on the front lawns of the Quadrangle last Tuesday! The action was to raise awareness of the Universities investments into coal, oil and gas and the University management’s slow progress in moving investments away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy. However the electrifying bride, Renewable Energy was left at the alter. With the groom, Michael Spence catching cold feet and once again failing to fully commit to a safer climate for everyone. For photos, catch us on our Facebook page @ Fossil Free USYD and to get more involved with the campaigns from the Enviro Collective make sure to join the ‘Enviro Collective 2016’ Facebook group! OR come to our weekly meeting @ 1pm Thursday at Manning Lawns!

Hope to see you all soon!

Education Officer’s Report – Week 5, Sem 2, 2016

Liam Carrigan and Dylan Griffiths

On Wednesday the 17th students from Sydney College of the Arts and main campus held a brief occupation of the student Centre. During the occupation, the SCA campaign put an ultimatum to university management, if the campaign demands were not met by the end of the week we would escalate. The university has made no correspondence to the SRC or other members of LET SCA STAY saying that no cuts to staff and facilities of SCA will occur, that the B.Visual Arts has been reinstated or that they will LET  SCA STAY where it is.

So I guess the campaign will have escalated by the time this issue of Honi is released.
At the August 17th rally and SCA student strike, Hall Greenland, a trot and ex editor of this paper, spoke about the campaign to have Marxism and feminism taught in the philosophy program. The University expelled Hall after a long term occupation escalated the campaign. This Education Officer, and I’m sure other members of the SRC hope not to follow his fate.

Get involved in the campaign by keeping update over the LET SCA STAY and SCAR Facebook pages.

The 60% staff reduction and massive cuts to SCAs curriculum are the product of poor funding to higher education by the federal government.  With the Liberal government cutting over $2 billion dollars form the sector last budget and continuing to push deregulation light its essential we link the struggles and turn out for the August 24 NDA 1PM Fisher Library.

Education Officer’s Report – Week 3, Sem 2, 2016

Liam Carrigan and Dylan Griffiths

The success of the ‘Let SCA Stay’ campaign in beating back management and their attempts to merge the school with UNSW is the first major victory of collective action we have seen this year. As we approach the final months of our term as Education Officers it seems appropriate to reflect on why this particular campaign was so successful.

Previously, our efforts in the first half of the year were focused on building rallies to varying degrees of success, holding snap protests against the Liberals and attempting to maintain momentum in the lull after the shelving of fee deregulation. Whilst it was hoped the restructure would inspire a mass staff and student campaign, following a successful staff and student rally early in Semester One, resistance stalled as the University pushed ahead with their agenda. The changes to the senate, wherein elected alumni and staff positions were removed in pursuit of a corporate governance structure are now irreversible. Despite staff and student opposition, the Education faculty was moved into Arts and Social Sciences. The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan was replete with worrying suggestions, funneling students into expensive postgraduate degrees through limited undergraduate options, building links with the corporate sector and destroying honours. The University solidified its move away from a community of staff and scholars, pursuing a neoliberal model of tertiary education that is fast becoming the norm in Australia.
Against this backdrop, students at Sydney University should be aware that the myth of millennial entitlement our elders feed us is a fucking lie. Thanks to the Baird government our city has become a soulless ghost town. The changes hit us hardest: lockout laws, opal fare hikes and anti protest legislation are direct attacks on us. But under our neoliberal backdrop it is hard to notice the collective war being raged upon us. The capacity to organize against and recognize these attacks has been severely weakened by voluntary student unionism, the destruction of free education, inadequate government support and a precarious job market upon graduation.

However, at Callan Park, the attack was so obvious and vicious that the students of SCA refused to take it lying down. Upon being informed that they were to be shipped off to UNSW like unwanted furniture they channeled that anger into a strategic, organized and vibrant student campaign. They refused the logic of Steven Garton, chasing him and his cronies off campus. A visit to the senate snowballed into the biggest on campus rally since 2012. The vigil at the Archibald Prize was emblematic of the strong community support from across NSW they were able to rally to their cause. Although the Universities decision to abandon the ‘Heads of Agreement’ with NSW was a success, the campaign is not one. Let SCA Stay will not stop fighting until the BVA is reinstated and the future of SCA as a world class visual arts school is ensured.

Study. Be Silent. Die. I remember seeing this graffiti on campus in my first year, and believe its message is one that has been proven time and time again to students on this campus. We should all take inspiration from the students of SCA and continue to demand a better future, because we aren’t going to get one without a fight. Start by joining us on August 17th at the Rally to demand SCA Stays at 1pm at the Quad and on August 24th at the National Day of Action at 1pm outside Fisher Library demanding more money for Education, Not Corporate Tax Evasion.