Indigenous Officer – Week 5, Sem 2, 2017

<strong>Indigenous Officer’s Report</strong>
<em>Jackson Newell</em>

This week, the Indigenous Strategy and Services Committee will meet, and it will be my first time attending the meeting as a voting member. Being the only student voice on the Committee, I do aim to represent all Indigenous students as best I can. One thing that has been a topic as of late in relation to the Koori Centre, has been the printer. I recently notified the President, and General-Secretaries that if the University will not provide the funds or provide limited funds, that the SRC, as part of the Indigenous budget will provide funds or provide additional funds for this.
Last week, an article was published in Honi by James Stratton, in relation to the University’s National Centre for Cultural Competency’s release of an online course which seeks to give students an enhanced learning of Indigenous culture and its role and place in contemporary Australia. I urge all students to take up this course when they can. Further comments on this are in last week’s article.

Any issues, shoot us an e-mail at indigenous.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

Sexual Harassment Officer – Week 5, Sem 1, 2017

Sexual Harassment Officers’ Report
Jessica Syed, Nina Dillon Britton, Iman Farrar and Ella (Rachel) Bickley

Hi! We’re Jessica Syed and Nina Dillon Britton, two of your Sexual Harassment Officers for 2017! We’ll be working to hold the University to account in supporting survivors of sexual harassment and assault on campus, as well as ensuring they take all possible steps to stop these instances.
So, the wins so far this year:

The USyd Survivor’s Network launched in O-Week, providing for the first time an on campus support network for survivors of sexual assault. The organisation is led by survivors and aims to provide support, resources and a platform to advocate for change and eliminate stigma.
The University has unexpectedly announced they will be reviewing their stance on mandatory consent modules. A module is currently being trialled. If any such trial does fail for whatever reason, we are committed to pushing management to find and implement something that works.
We have put together information pamphlets in both English and Mandarin distributed tat O-Week. We want to make sure we are aiding those who face barriers in accessing support following instances of sexual violence. We would like to thank Xia Bonan for kindly translating the pamphlet.

There’s still a long way to go. Though the university has launched its reporting system, a hotline called 1800SYDHELP, it has done so with minimal student consultation. Both we and this year’s Wom*ns officer’s are yet to be convinced that the service does not inadvertently traumatise survivors. In light of this opacity – strengthened by the university’s lack of advertising for their own initiative – we are still reluctant to refer survivors to 1800SYDHELP.

Our main priority for 2017 is ensuring that a sexual assault specific lawyer is made available within the SRC. It was more than a year ago that SRC lawyers first expressed that this is a vital necessity within the SRC for students, and we cannot agree more. We will continue to support the Wom*n’s Officers in striving to gain funding for this goal and hope to see it realised by the end of our term.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual assault, please do not hesitate to email us at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au and we will direct you to professional resources that you can access. Feel free also to attend an information session about such resources on Wednesday 5th April in Carslaw lecture Room 452 – there will be free pizza.

International Students’ Officers’ Report – Week 5, Sem 1, 2017

International Students’ Officers’ Report
Helena Ng Wai Ting, Yifan Kong, Wenxin Fang and Zhixian Wang

2017 has seen a busy start for the International Students’ Collective. The collective was established roughly one year ago and one of the major focuses for 2017 International Students’ Officers is the growth and development of the collective to better engage international students on campus.

The preparation for Oweek kicked start early in January. The collective painted a banner featuring greeting words written in several languages as we wish to embrace foreign friends. During Oweek, more than 300 people signed up to join the collective. One thing I would like to highlight here is the booklet produced by four International Students. The booklet not only explained in details the vision, structure, operation, and the plans of the collective, but also briefly illustrated the organizing structures and essential functions of student organizations and media platforms on campus, including the USU, SRC, and Honi Soit. We hope that by distributing booklets, we could inform international students of student organizations and guide them to integrate into campus life. Lastly, we would say thank you to everyone involved in the process.

The first collective meeting was held in Week 3 at the SRC office. During the meeting, we discussed our plans for 2017, including the proposal to publish International Students’ Honi edition and to add the International Students’ Revue to USU Identity Revue Season. The collective recognized that while initiating these two programs takes time, we would like to negotiate with Honi editorial team and USU representatives as we believe that issues International Students face are different from those faced by POC community and there’s a demand to showcase our own identity. The Collective also open several positions for international students to nominate including Marketing Officers, Programs Officers, and Event Coordinators.

The International Student’s Officers have been drafting the first collective constitution for the past two weeks and we hope that with the finalization of the constitution and regulation, the operation of the collective can be more standardized. The collective would like to say thank you to Wom*n’s Officers for their generous help during the procedure.

SRC Presidents Report – Week 5, Sem 1, 2017

Isabella Brook

It’s week 5 and that most likely means that you’re reading this reports section of Honi as a very desperate attempt of procrastination from assessments with looming deadlines. So, to alleviate the feeling of total doom as you pull an all nighter, I’m going to focus on two pieces of good news that have come out of the last week.

First, regular readers of this reports section (there’s probably two of you) might recall that last week I wrote about the University’s proposal to alter semester dates. This proposal was put before a meeting of the University’s Academic Board last Tuesday and was successfully voted down by a number of students and academics. This is a great result for students, especially considering the large number of you that emailed me concerned about how this proposal would affect your studies. I don’t think this is the last time we will hear about this issue and I’m sure the university will try and implement it in one way or another in the future. However, what is obviously clear is that students want to be informed of changes that will affect them, they’re unhappy with the lack of consultation, and they want their voices heard.

Second, is the incredible news that the proposed changes to 18C in the Racial Discrimination Act were defeated in the Senate. The proposed watering down of the Act would have been a serious threat to the multiculturalism and diversity that our nation prides itself on. With racism and islamophobia on the rise across the country and even on our campus, it’s up to us as community to stand in solidarity with those affected and fight back against hate speech. And let me be very clear, 18C is not a limitation on free speech. It is a limitation on hate speech that aims to deliberately and directly offend, insult and humiliate on the basis of race, colour, religion, national and ethnic origin.

As always, if you have any concerns, issues or enquiries don’t hesitate to drop me a line at president@src.usyd.edu.au and don’t forget to like our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/usydsrc to stay up to date with your SRC.

Vice Presidents’ Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2017

James Gibson and Iman Farrar

The University of Sydney SRC Vice Presidents condemn the proposed changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) proposed by the Australian Government, and believe that removing the terms, “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” with the ambiguous term, “harass”, is highly problematic to Australian multiculturalism and a fundamental step backwards. Many of us are opinionated – and opinions, whilst sometimes controversial are respected. However, for one to act in a way which directly offends, insults or humiliates another based on “race, colour or national or ethnic origin” is a breach of the responsibility that comes with the (implied) right of freedom of speech in Australia, it is a breach when “freedom of speech” becomes “hate speech”. Section 18C as it stands provides a framework that helps draw the line between the two, and whilst it does fall short in some areas, it is inherently aimed at protecting the most vulnerable in our society. The Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Gillian Triggs, expressed she was “especially concerned” with the removal of the term “humiliate”, and that the draft proposal in itself was a “highly unsatisfactory… circular process”, particularly in its proposal alongside a rhetoric of fear and the perpetuation of the ‘topical other’. As far as the university culture and environment goes, we will not stand for the justification of empty hatred amongst students, and the SRC would thus like to remind students of the free legal and casework support services available to them. Furthermore, as Vice Presidents of the University of Sydney SRC, we will be attending Walk for Respect on the 31 March @5:30pm at the Corner of Gillies St and Haldon St, Lakemba, speaking in favour of ensuring that these changes to Section 18C will not proceed through Parliament and so encourage anyone interested to come and show your support.

Welfare Officers’ Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2017

LILY CAMPBELL, BELLA DEVINE-POULOS, HARRY GREGG and CAITIE MCMENAMIN

It’s been a busy fortnight for the Welfare Officers. The NUS National Day of Action occurred on Wednesday the 22nd, with students gathering to express their discontent with the Liberal government’s cuts to penalty rates and poorly managed Centrelink system, as well as harmful USyd faculty restructures. Furthermore, the International Wom*n’s Day March on Saturday the 11th was a great success, with many USyd students in attendance. Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia had an impressive contingent as part of their current campaign ‘No Profit From Rape’ against government attempts to privatise support services. The Welfare Officers will continue to support this campaign whole-heartedly.

The Welfare Department has also been working with the Wom*n’s officers to plan a protest against the Day of the Unborn Child (March 26th), an event held by conservative groups attacking wom*n’s reproductive rights. Other campaigns in the works include building for the ‘Save Our Penalty Rates’ rally on the 2nd of April, as well as assisting the Campus Refugee Action Collective with their work in preparation for the Palm Sunday refugee rights march. It is worth noting that USyd students appear to have returned to university more politically enlightened and engaged than they were previously, almost certainly due to Trump’s victory in the US. Personally, I am currently working in conjunction with General Secretary Daniel Ergas on a campaign to hold a particularly exploitative business on campus accountable. Keep an eye out for upcoming events and remain woke.

Written by Caitlin McMenamin

Wom*n’s Officers’ Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2017

Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn

This Friday is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV). The University of Sydney Wom*n’s Collective stands with transgender and non-binary people and their struggles against gender-based discrimination, particularly those along feminine-spectrum identities. To celebrate TDOV, come to our Radical Trans Politics Workshop on Tuesday the 28th 5pm in Old Teachers College Rm 427 (Level 4). It will explore the roots of trans oppression under capitalism and colonialism, the development of the trans rights movement, and the problems with trans liberalism. On Friday the 31st we will also be hosting a film screening of Paris is Burning before the QuAC party at STUCCO – please come, there will be food!

The Survivor Network is up and running. The idea for the initiative stems from a similar network in Pakistan, and the lion’s share of the work to make it happen has come from Post-Grad Women’s Officer, the formidable, Mariam Mohammed. The space has already provided incredible support for the courageous women survivors who are taking part. Being able to talk openly and realise you’re not alone brings an immense source of strength for many of the survivors. If you are a survivor and think this space could be helpful, or you’d like to know more, email usydwomenscollective@gmail.com.

After much pressure from the student body and survivor advocates, USyd is currently considering a consent module to be rolled out to students. We trialled the Consent Matters module. This module clearly doesn’t even meet the University’s own academic standards for best practice as students don’t have to answer questions to progress to the next section of the module! WoCo maintains that USyd should seek the assistance of international leaders in sexual assault prevention education, such as Professor Moira Carmody, in creating a USyd specific module.

On Sunday we hosted a Pro-Choice Rally. The protest comes at a crucial time. We seem to be at an impasse around the issue of abortion in NSW. On one hand, we’re so close to legalising abortion in NSW and implementing exclusion zones, however, simultaneously Fred Nile is resurrecting his war on body-autonomy by re-introducing “Zoe’s Law”. More reason to follow our public page and join our FB group!

General Secretaries’ Report – Week 4, Sem 2, 2017

Isabella Pytka and Daniel Ergas

[The appropriate soundtrack for this report is either: Strawberry Kisses, or Sk8er Boi. Please indulge us by switching from your banal indie-rock-pop Spotify playlist, to your choice of these two ‘naughties’ bangers.]
You may be wondering why we chose these songs – beyond their obvious melodic worth.

Strawberry Kisses, much like your SRC, may seem on its face to be the work of one great youthful artist (I speak, of course, of Nikki Webster). While this will undoubtedly shock you, while we share these pages regularly with Izzy, the SRC does not function because of the three of us, but because of the collectives and their OBs, who do the most important work of reaching out to students, and making change on and off campus; and the SRC staff, who tend to the institutional knowledge we often lack, and make sure the lights are on and the bills can be paid.

Two weeks ago, we filed our SSAF proposal, declaring how we reckon the SRC could use part of your $290 to provide you with support – from a new multilingual caseworker, to a solicitor who specialises in harassment cases – none of which would be possible without the OBs, or the staff.
Sk8er Boi, by the punk rock princess of the 00’s, Avril Lavigne, talks of the star crossed love between a punk rock guy (Romeo) and a ballet girl (Juliet). Our reasoning for choosing the tune Strawberry Kisses worked, but right now you are probably thinking, “Dan and Bella, I can’t think of a reason as to why you are mentioning Sk8er Boi.”

Well, stupol hack who just filled out a USU board director nomination form, here is the SRC version of Sk8er Boi. Pre-fame ‘Sk8er Boi’ (ie. the titular ‘boi’ himself) is the current SRC elections, and his first love, Juliet, is every other attempt at regulations change. (Apologies to Cameron Caccamo.) But as you see through the song, he gets a new Juliet (ie. us), and famous ‘Sk8er Boi’ is the SRC elections after we change the regs.

Tune in in two weeks for our next smash hit, aka our report,

Bella and Daniel xx

SRC President’s Report – Week 4, Sem 1, 2017

Isabella Brook

By the time you’re reading this report the Academic Board of the University, that is the top advisory body when it comes to academic matters, will have voted for or against a proposal that seeks to alter semester dates. This proposal plans to shorten semesters from 13 weeks to 12 weeks and extend the winter break so that semester 2 starts and ends later in the year.

The SRC has serious concerns about the impact that these changes will have on the student learning experience. Namely, students and staff will face increased pressure to achieve learning outcomes in a shorter period of time. While the university claims it has undertaken an extensive amount of consultation on this proposal, they have failed to consult and inform those who will be most effected by this change, the average student at University of Sydney. Student representatives across a number of different faculties have raised concerns with me regarding how this proposal will affect them and expressed their frustrations.

I know that some of you reading this are probably thinking that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. “It’s only one week,” you’re thinking to yourself, “It can’t be THAT awful”, but the one week difference isn’t the biggest of our worries. What I’m most worried about is that this is just another step towards the restructuring of our university in a way that could drastically alter our education. This trend isn’t just restricted to Usyd, we’re seeing a number of universities implement a trimester model in restructures that have outraged students across the country. Regardless of if this proposal is passed or rejected by the Academic Board, we know that the landscape of our university is changing and I’m not sure if I can say that I believe its for the better.

If you’re worried about the future of your education, speak up and voice your frustration. Talk to your mates, your teachers or join the SRC’s education action group. Shoot me an email at president@src.usyd.edu.au to find out how you can get involved and like our facebook page www.facebook.com/usydsrc/ to stay up to date.

Queer Officers’ Report – Week 3, Sem 1, 2017

Andrea Zephyr, William Edwards and Connor Parissis

Upcoming events (LGBTI only):
Next Meeting: 3pm Monday, 20th of March
Queer Honi Meeting: 2pm Wednesday, 22nd of March

Upcoming events (for everyone):
Rainbow Campus Meeting: 4pm Monday, 27th of March.
Trans Day of Visibility: Friday, 31st of March (Stay tuned for our events!)
Pride Week: Week 6, 10th – 14th of April.

The Queer Action Collective began growing at Mardi Gras! We had involvement in the No Pride In Detention float, as well as the University of Sydney float for both floats second year in the parade! Since O’Week, we’ve had an incredible amount of sign-ups and interest in getting involved. Our O’Week stall and events were fantastic. Thanks to all who came by for a chat and a drink. The Queer Space is active for semester 1. Please come by level 2 of the Holme Building if you identify as LGBTQIA+.
The Rainbow Campus campaign is kicking goals already. We’ll be specifically helping the inclusion of transgender students inside classrooms at our week 4 workshop. Transgender Day of Visibility is coming up on the 31st of March. The collective will educating and creating awareness around non-binary, trans feminine and transgender experiences. As a community, we’ll be running a few events and a party at the LGBTI-friendly STUCCO Housing Co-op near uni. Pride Week is approaching in week 6, and we’ve already begun organising a number of events. But we need your ideas and help to pull it off! Our collective, SHADES, Queer Revue, the SRC, SUPRA, the Ally Network, and the USU will collaborate on making the campus rainbow, literally! Get in touch if you’d like to run an event!

Get in touch:
Facebook: USyd Queer
Twitter: @USydQueer
Email:queer.officers@src.usyd.edu.au
Phone: 0435818615
Connor, Will and Andrea.