SRC Indigenous Officer’s Report – Week 2, Sem 1, 2017

Jackson Newell

G’day to all the Indigenous mob here at the University of Sydney.

Myself, along with the Indigenous support staff and older students are so happy to welcome you! This year will see a shake up to the collective. A re-energised and re-vitalised collective focusing on community. In previous years, many students have been put off by the highly politicised nature of the collective. This has seen a decline in engagement, which I want to see change and I will be working with all Indigenous units across our campuses to ensure this happens.

This year has seen yet another group of bright and talented Indigenous first years come through the university’s successful Cadigal program. This program seeks to set up mob with all the skills to achieve their full potential – and with a drop out rate alarmingly higher than non-Indigenous students, this program is certainly to the betterment of our first years who may come from The Block in Redfern or a remote community in Western Australia.

Stay in tune and look out for e-mails from our ATSI Student Transition and Retention team about further information and about Koori Lunches coming up soon.

If you are Indigenous and haven’t had contact with our teams, and want to be apart of the collective – shoot me an e-mail at indigenous.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

SRC General Secretaries’ Report, Week 2, Sem 1, 2017

Isabella Pytka and Daniel Ergas

So, you didn’t take our advice from last week, and you’ve found yourselves here, reading this Week 2 edition of Honi, alone, sipping a macchiato and contemplating your Union Board campaign. (Let’s be honest about who reads this.)

Welcome to the first week of tutorials, all of which feature some sort of awkward introductory game. Therefore, we thought we would provide you with a fun fact about ourselves:

Dan: I am fake news.

Bella: An Almond Milk, Double Macchiato is my favourite coffee atm. (Yes i did make fun of myself a couple of paragraphs up.)

O-Week was a great success! We handed out all 1 000 bags to new and returning students. Each calico bag had our own Counter-Course/Orientation Handbook amalgam, a condom (thanks Hero Condoms!), tampons (thanks Moxie!), Cinema Vouchers (thanks Palace Cinemas!), an SRC calendar (thanks Mickie and Amanda!), SRC fliers (thanks Casework team!) and an Honi Soit (thanks Eds!) – and biggest thanks of all to the admin staff, who have printed more handouts, leaflets and posters than we ever thought possible.
We have personally received several texts about “that funny handbook” (see: back page of handbook), so we are hopefully radicalising many youths.

For all you interested Stupol hacks, we have been working with various ‘students’ (read: headkickers) on electoral reforms. This will obviously be part of a longer discussion, but we’re excited to hear your thoughts here.
Got a question? Shoot us an email general.secretary@src.usyd.edu.au, we’d love to hear your ideas on how we can make our elections better.

SRC President’s Report, Week 2, Sem 1, 2017

Isabella Brook

Wednesday last week marked International Women’s Day and on Saturday hundreds of women in Sydney marched in solidarity with women across the globe.

The 2014 Women’s Day March was actually the first SRC event I ever attended as a bright-eyed and bushy tailed first year. I remember being in awe of the sheer empowerment I felt from just being surrounded by women who were demanding that their voices be heard.

Each year on International Women’s Day I’m reminded of how I felt on that day in 2014. I’m reminded of how incredibly lucky and privileged I am to be in the position that I’m in, of all the strong women in my life and of all the women who have fought before me.

However each year I’m also reminded of just how far we have to go and how many women are still fighting to achieve equality. There are still women who face daily discrimination based on their skin colour, their sexual orientation and identity, their bodies and even the work they perform. At a local level we are facing constant cuts to women’s services and shelters, abortion is still illegal and many of us still get taxed for buying essential sanitary products.

This is why I’m so excited to see such a revived and energized women’s movement on this campus and all over the world. Its up to us carry on the work of the women before us – to never remain complacent, to support our sisters and not just our CIS-ters and to smash the patriarchy.
A small thing you can do right now to support women is visit noprofitfromrape.org and sign the petition to stop the privitisation of 1800RESPECT the national telephone and online counseling service for women, men and children experiencing domestic or sexual violence.
As always, if you have any questions, if you want to raise any important student issues with me, or if you just want to send me a cute picture of your dog (pls do) – don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at president@src.usyd.edu and like our facebook page www.facebook.com/usydsrc to stay up to date !

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!

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

Student welfare is under attack. The Centrelink scandal enraged many, as thousands of the most vulnerable in society were charged with debts they don’t owe. The announcement that Sunday penalty rates for retail, fast food and hospitality workers will be cut greatly affects students, two thirds of whom already live in poverty.

This year, the National Union of Students Welfare Officer and Education Officer are running their campaigns in conjunction with each other, as they raise similar demands for students rights, against the Liberals’ attacks. The Welfare Department supports the NDA on March 22 – I’ve (Lily Campbell) been mass leafleting, painting banners and creating merchandise for that event and building the Education Action Group at O week. I am a regular attendee of EAG meetings.
I have done several stalls in Newtown over the summer break petitioning for the NUS Welfare Department, demanding that the government fix Centrelink now.
I chaired a recent rally outside the Redfern Centrelink office, demanding an end to fake debt letters and the gutting of social services. It was a lively demonstration that got significant media coverage, somewhat centred around the brilliant burning of a debt letter outside the office.

I also recently spoke at a rally against the cuts to penalty rates, outside the Fair Work Ombudsman. It is crucial that students join these rallies and join their unions today. The cuts to penalty rates will be the greatest wage cut since the Great Depression – now more than ever we need to fight back. I encourage all to join the March 9 CFMEU ‘National Rally to Defend our Jobs’.

Furthermore, a horrific wave of racism and bigotry is sweeping the world today. The Welfare Department stands in solidarity with all oppressed peoples against the rise of the far right and recognises the need to organise against these forces.
I participated in the Women’s March, the RAC rally against the Muslim Ban, the protest against war criminal Netanyahu and the protest against genocide in Aleppo, amongst other demonstrations.
(I contacted the other welfare officers for reports – they did not wish to contribute)

Wom*ns Officer Report – Week 1, Sem 1 2017

O-Week was incredible for the Women’s Collective. We had 400 students sign up to get involved! This is a shocking, unprecedented number. If you were one of them, WELCOME! If you weren’t… it’s never too late to get involved in feminist organising on campus.

Unfortunately, O-Week is also the time during the university calendar when students are most likely to experience rape. The front page of the smh the Monday of O-Week detailed End Rape On Campus’ report ‘Connecting the Dots’. The report chronicles the chronic failings of universities to respond appropriately to sexual assault and to prevent the assaults in the first place. For example, the report exposes that there have been only six expulsions in the past five years despite more than 500 official complaints. In addition to this, USyd’s own data shows that out of all students who had experienced sexual assault, only 1% of them ever made a formal report to the University.

This is why as part of O-Week, WoCo members handed out “Consent Condoms” – condoms with a sticker on the package reading “check they’re into it, before you get into it”. We did this because the university abnegated its responsibility to prevent sexual violence by rejecting the mandatory education module for all students. The University’s stance on the consent module is ludicrous and goes against the University’s own practice of promoting several online modules from plagiarism to cultural competency.
We know that young people are far more likely than any other age bracket to experience sexual assault. And prevention through consent education is key to eradicating sexual violence on campus. We need a behavioural transformation in order to create a campus with zero tolerance for sexual violence.

Everyone has a right to an education free from sexual violence and universities have the responsibility to provide that. As tens of thousands of students return to USyd this week, we must question the University’s ability – also willingness – to ensure that these tens of thousands can study safely. If you think the uni should be doing better by you, email us at usydwomenscollective@gmail.com
If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual assault, support is available by contacting NSW Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 424 017.

Presidents Report – Week 1, Sem 1 2017

Congrats on making it through O-week and to the hallowed SRC pages of Honi Soit! The SRC had a massively successful O-Week. We talked to hundreds of students about the SRC and its incredible services as well as giving out over 1000 free SRC goodie bags! Our collectives also had a great O-Week signing up hundreds of new students and letting people know what’s in store for 2017.
The first week of uni is always pretty weird. You might find yourself sitting in a packed lecture theatre nursing a post O-week hangover or if you’re like me you’ll be ashamedly telling people in tutorial name arounds that you’re in your fourth year of a three year degree.
Even though it’s only the first week of uni, your SRC has spent the beginning of the year being active and vocal around a number of student issues. In January the SRC joined the NSW Education Organising Group in protesting Centrelink’s automated compliance system that issued hundreds of students false debt notices.
It’s only just March and the list of attacks on the rights of students keeps growing with the Fair Work Commission’s decision to slash penalty rates being the latest addition.
These cuts to penalty rates mean that students working in retail, hospitality and fast food will have the extra money they earn for giving up their weekends drastically reduced. At the SRC we know that most students work weekends in order to balance work and study, and that many of these students rely on penalty rates to make ends meet.
If you’re worried about what these cuts will mean for you, I encourage you to join your union and get involved in the fight for your rights. You can visit www.australianunions.org.au to join your relevant union.
The SRC will also be protesting alongside your National Union of Students on March 22 to protect your rights at Work, Uni and Home and to Make Education Free again so come join us!
If you have any questions or queries don’t hesitate to contact me at president@src.usyd.edu.au and give our Facebook page a like at facebook.com/usydsrc.