Taking a look at Diversity and Equity on Campus

We’ve always thought it was slightly unfair that Sydney Uni management do little else but treat students as nothing more than numbers on a page. In order to celebrate the release of the new Veronica Mars movie (which one of your VPs watched at 3 in the morning) we decided to do some
not-so-subtle sleuthing to find those dirty facts the Uni doesn’t want you to know.

You, dear reader, are likely a non-Indigenous, Australian wom*n who was raised in the affluent Inner West… you’re also studying a BA.
The numbers don’t lie and the numbers paint an interesting picture of the people that populate your lecture theatres, dictatorially dominate your tutes and get between you and a meat box after a hard days study at the neoliberal factory.

Inside these sandstone walls, 57% of 53 000 students are female, just ahead of the national average of 56%. International students comprise 22%, while regional and Indigenous students make up only 5.6% and 0.8% of the populace respectively.

This places USyd behind the national average in intake of both regional (6.5%) and Indigenous students (1.1%). These shortcomings, whilst embarrassing, don’t come close to the extraordinary under representation of people from a low socio-economic background.
Nationally, 17% of students come from a low SES area. At USyd, that number halves to 8.6%.

These statistics are damning to a University that claims to be “founded on principles of diversity and equity”. If Spence continues to run with this people pleasing line, he should closely follow it up with “but if you have the dollars, I have your acceptance letter!”. No brochure filled with buzzwords can apologise for the inequitable reality that this number represents, no matter how much money the university throws at ‘media consultants’ to cover it up. If education remains the silver bullet that improves the livelihood of all who receive it, then our University is failing abysmally to share this.

It goes without saying that an attachment to traditional demographics and tuition cheques should never be allowed to stand in the way of an inclusive and socially conscious admissions policy; yet if recent alterations to housing scholarships are anything to go by it seems as though the university could care less. These changes will leave students in need of accommodation unsure whether they will receive assistance until well into the semester – long after they have signed a lease and begun paying rent (which is also ridiculously high). Students in need
of help = not Spence’s division.

Management and admin must stop thinking about their ludicrous pay checks and realise that education is a privilege owed and deserved by all who seek it, rather than a commodity exchanged with those who can afford it.

Your Vice President’s Max Hall and Laura Webster

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