Abbey Shi and Liam Thomas

Week 9, 2020

This week the General Secretaries are working on the platform of student advocacy given the continuous COVID-19 situation. We have been receiving students’ feedback on the academic arrangement of different faculties and advocate their opinions at weekly meetings with University officials. In the past week, the SRC mutual aid group project is rolling out smoothly. We have been in contact with some not-for-profit organisations for resources to reallocate to the student council for distribution. We have surveyed the students who are in need of various types of assistance previously and now we are looking into the types of health goods and food that can be sent to students.

Meanwhile, the financial aids for international students have been gradually granted as a result of the previous petition work. We have received lots of gratitude from students who received the grants. For a significant number of students who are in need of feedback in application, the General Secretary has been abiding the constitutional requirement of the council and redirect their enquiries to proper party that can grant valid advice.

During this special period of time, we have also been working on advocacy for international students JobKeeper and JobSeeker scheme. We have conducted surveys in conjunction with Union NSW on various social media platform.

We are also in the process of administering the translation of SRC student advice materials. We have looked into markets with the assistance of the council secretary. Given the high pricing advised by the NSW Government official department, we are seeking alternative resolution to the translation in spirit of effectively allocating student’s every penny.

We have also advised the university officials to consider Melbourne University’s WAM model as part of COVID-19 readjustment plan. The University, in response, is considering adopting the model. Further notice will be given in future scheduled meetings.

Week 7, 2020

Over the last fortnight we have been incredibly busy working closely alongside the President, Vice-Presidents and General Executives to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, and the implications this has had for students.

We have been in regular Zoom meetings with Susanna Scarparo (Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Life) and Peter McCallum (Director, Education Strategy) regarding the University’s response to the situation. We have raised a number of concerns that students have identified in the switch to online learning, predominantly the implication on students’ performance, special consideration and the use of ProctorU software for exams.

We are pleased to report that these meetings have been largely productive, with the University implementing, or in the process of implementing, a number of measures to better support students. We do however still share the concerns of the SRC more broadly concerning the use of ProctorU software and are incredibly disappointed that the University refused to listen to students and push back the census date.

With mid-semester exams still to come, we will soon get a better picture of how ProctorU is going to be implemented across different faculties and units. If you’re interested in more information on the software and how to fight back against the use of it make sure you check out the ‘SRC COVID-19 RESPONSE GROUP’ and the ‘Usyd – Say No to ProctorU!’ groups on Facebook. Make sure you also follow the SRC on social media for updates on all the stuff we’re doing to help students at this difficult time.

Week 3, 2020

With Welcome Week all done and dusted we have been able to dedicate more of our time to working on essential tasks in the SRC office.

Over the past two weeks Liam, along with President Liam Donohoe and the rest of the SRC Legal Board, has been busy sitting down and interviewing a number of shortlisted candidates for the position of the second SRC solicitor. We are pleased to report that we have been incredibly impressed by the standard of applicants for the job, with many candidates catching our eye. This hiring process is in the final stages now and we can’t wait to announce soon the candidate we’ve selected!

We have now had the opportunity to sit down and work on the SRC budget for the year. We will be delivering this at the upcoming council meeting on Tuesday 10th March.

We also wrapped up our SRC UE Wonderboom prize draw, announcing the winners on Thursday! Congratulations to everyone who won and thank you to everyone who entered. This prize competition has been a resounding success with hundreds of entrants and the SRC social media seeing huge increases in likes/followers. We look forward to continuing to explore ways to expand our social media presence throughout the year, ensuring that all students are aware of the SRC services available to them.

We have also attended the first meeting on the campaign for international student opal card concession. We look forward to further meetings to plan this campaign.

We have been continuing to deal with the unfolding COVID-19 Coronavirus situation and its impacts on University of Sydney students. Abbey has been working with SUPRA to organise a survey for students who require financial subsidies. We have made demands to the University that they turn on lecture recordings for all units of study and for the University to come up with better measures to ensure that information is being circulated to all students. Abbey also attended a panel with Michael Spence and Jenny Leong MP on combatting racism arising from COVID-19.

Week 1, 2020

Had 2000 SRC tote bags that we successfully distributed to students throughout the week, including items such as pens, flyers, stickers and the Countercourse Handbook and flew off the shelves
Went through over 1000 in a couple of hours on Wednesday. As part for O-Week, we liaised with various Office Bearers from the National Union of Students and organised for a number of them to be present at the SRC stalls throughout the week. These NOBs spoke to students about the various campaigns that NUS is running this year.

Organised for a UE Wonderboom prize draw designed to promote greater engagement with the SRC’s social media pages. Our social media pages have increased by hundreds of likes this week
organised the “Lift the travel ban – healthcare not racism” together with NTEU, CRAC, Asian Australian Alliance and International Student Collective. Abbey MC the event and the protest crew marched to the lobby of F23 Admin Building

  • Travelled to Melbourne to attend the National Union of Student’s President’s Summit, along with President Liam Donohoe
  • Hiring another lawyer for SRC for the role on SRC Legal Board
  • Found pro-bono leading immigration law legal counsels acting for students who had their visas unfairly cancelled without notice, as it is unprecedented legal complication caused by the travel ban.
  • First student launched the appeal now returned on campus and planning on attending class next week
  • Organised a petition urging university reacting to travel ban policy, signed by 5936 students
  • In response the University has developed a series of academic and fiscal policy adjustments to help stranded students
  • Pushed the University to initiate anti-racism campaign and produce 3,000+ anti-racism posters in counter of ill-designed Department of Health posters
  • Developed peer mentoring program in support of students stranded in China with University, lobbied University to put student mentors on University’s payroll. Received 1200+ application for mentors. – Program now is on the next stage of calling out mentees and designing mentor training material
  • Confirmed attendance on a public panel on combatting Coronavirus, misinformation and racism on Mar 2 at MacLaurin Hall, University of Sydney