Disabilities & Carers Officers – Week 3, Sem 1 2018

Robin Eames, Mollie Galvin and Ren Rennie

In 2018 the Disabilities & Carers Collective is splitting into the Disabilities Collective and the Caregivers Network.The Disabilities Collective is an autonomous collective for undergraduate students who have a disability, defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities as “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”. This includes people with mental, chronic, or terminal illnesses; people who are neurodivergent; and people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing, even if they do not personally identify as disabled or as having a disability.

The Caregivers Network is an initiative for students who provide substantial informal caregiving support to friends or family members who are disabled.

We are hoping that this change will mean that disabled students and students with primary caregiving responsibilities are able to access supportive communities without conflating or neglecting the needs of either group.

We’re very excited for the upcoming year and we had a strong start at OWeek. We had shirts for sale for the first time ever (we still have a number of shirts for sale, so get in touch at disabilities.officers@src.usyd.edu.au if you’d like to buy one!) as well as Auslan alphabet stickers and flyers. Currently we’re collaborating with the Disability Action Plan 2019-2024 working group, and looking to support the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance’s “Stand By Me” campaign against cuts to disability advocacy funding. Wewill be hosting regular collective meetings throughout the year. We’re also hoping to host a non-autonomous screening of Defiant Lives sometime soon, so keep an eye on our Facebook page if you’re interested in attending!

Love & solidarity,
The 2018 Disabilities Collective Officebearers

SRC Presidents Report – Week 3, Sem 1 2018

The semester has begun with a rocky start for casual staff at the university. The NTEU USyd Casuals Network Survey recorded that more than half of the current casual workers began their position this semester without a contract despite already teaching students. Of those, 44 percent are still yet to receive contacts and be paid for their work.

These staff members would be completely in their right to not teach for the first two weeks of semester, however, they are worried that doing so would impact negatively on the students’ experience as these first tutorials are vital in establishing relationships and a positive work dynamic.

Kurt Iveson, President of the USyd NTEU Branch, has contacted all NTEU members and USyd HR about the issue. “In failing to fix structural issues of casual employment, management failures are being displaced onto our most vulnerable and precarious staff” says Kurt. “It beggars belief that we would allow this to continue for a massive cohort of staff who are often the main point of contact for thousands of our students.”

This situation is unacceptable. If you are a casual staff member and are working without a contract (like many students at the University), please contact the NTEU at sydney@nteu.org.au about your situation. Students must stand alongside staff in their fight for better working conditions, so stay tuned for details of a public action that the NTEU will be holding THIS Thursday in support of casual staff!

On another note, within the Casework Department we have seen a spike in students experiencing issues around academic advice. We are feeling the impacts of the university restructure (which saw over 100 undergraduate degrees slashed) and the centralisation of faculty services (which saw mass firing of faculty administration).

There is often no correct identification of persons to receive advice, with different and sometimes incorrect responses being received. This is particularly the case with more complex decisions such as enrollment, transfers to new degrees, mid-year entry, and suspensions (particularly for international students) – with many of these issues interacting together.

This is all compounded by a loss of institutional knowledge from faculty offices. Advice and decisions require significant skill so, despite centralisation, decision making is often deferred back to faculties who have the power to make discretionary decisions. Without correct identification of where students or Faculty Services staff can access academic advice, we are seeing students fall through the cracks and the serious impacts it has on progression through their degree. This problem is not unmanageable, but it will require some institutional will and resources, and your SRC will be fighting alongside you to fix the sordid situation.

Feel free to email me at president@src.usyd.edu.au if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or help@src.usyd.edu.au.

Indigenous Officer Report – Week 2, Sem 1, 2018

Jackson Newell, Holly Kovac and Akala Newman

G’day mob! Welcome back for another semester.

Over he last few weeks our Indigenous freshers have taken part in the amazing pre-uni prep Cadigan Program setting up all new undergraduate ATSI students to succeed in the first semester of uni. The hardest for all undergraduate student, but incredibly so for ATSI students who statistically are prone to unfortunately drop out across the following months. To all the mob, if you are experiencing doubts about uni, or are finding it challenging, get in touch with us or the Mana Yura team who will be able to help.

It’s great to see our fellow Indigenous students are up positions as mentors to new student, commonly the program is known as MOBS, and is another step the Mana Yura team has taken to ensure Indigenous undergraduate retention and success.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be planning for the year ahead. We’re hoping for more social and community activities and can’t wait to meet and see you all!

SRC Student Housing Report – Week 2, Sem 1 2018

Brandon Hale, Jacky He, Shanshan Guo and Mieko Wang

Welcome students of 2018! This year’s student housing team aims to have a productive year to make student housing affordable and accessible for all students. We aim to achieve this goal through a wide range of events for students to learn about their housing options and interact with other students who are in or are looking for student housing, to foster a sense of community in the on-campus community. With a far more extensive budget to be created to fund such events, we promise that student money is put to good use in the benefit of students who can feel more welcome living on campus.
Being a diverse team of four housing officers with two of us being international students, we understand the importance of having a welcoming university experience. We also understand the financial difficulties of being able to live in student housing and because of this we believe the university administration needs to make student housing more affordable. We will fight for the student housing to be more affordable and we encourage students, even those not living in student housing to join us in this fight.

As a team that believes very strongly in getting things done we have a created a list of events and initiatives. Without further ado here below is our plans for this year:

Event Schedule:

28th of March 5 pm
Seminar on how to find affordable student housing
Speakers: NSW Police Force, Housing expert with over 15 years’ experience
Venue: To be announced

23rd or the 30th of May 6 pm
Student Housing Social Drinks
Venue: Hermann’s bar

Petition Signing – Held at Various Times throughout the Year

Main Times: 12th/26th March Union Day, 21st March National Day of Action, July/August O-Week, and various other major times during the year

General Secretary’s Report – Week 2, Sem 1, 2018

Nina Dillon-Britton and Yuxuan Yang

1. Your safety net: SRC Casework and Legal Service
If you get in trouble with the law, or with the University, our dedicated professional lawyers and caseworkers are here to help. To set up an appointment call 9660 5222 or email help@src.usyd.edu.au to see a caseworker or solicitor@src.usyd.edu.au to see a lawyer. If you’re having trouble finding our offices visit: srcusyd.net.au,

2. Your guide to uni life: Counter-Course
For students, by students, Counter-Course is your insider’s guide to University. It has everything from the best place to take a shit on campus, to how to access free health services, save money and navigate your faculty and the University administration more generally.
If you Google “Counter-Course Usyd 2018 ” you’ll find both our English and Chinese versions.

3. Staying in touch: Our Facebook Page
Our Facebook page is a great way to get involved with the SRC and keep in the loop with what we’re working on. If you like it before the end of Week 2 you’ll go into the running to win a prize of movie tickets, theatre tickets, dinner vouchers and more!

4.Keep in the loop: Check out our reports in Honi Soit and subscribe to our monthly newsletter
Our reports in Honi Soit are one of the most important ways of staying in the loop with the important work the SRC has been doing. They’ll let you know things like we gave 1500 bags full of SRC information and other goodies away, and that we had Counter-Course has been translated into Chinese for the first time.

Another great way of keeping in the loop is to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, which will let you know the specific upcoming events and the thigns we’ve been working on. You can do that here: https://ninadillonbritton.typeform.com/to/eDJibx.

SRC President’s Report – Week 2, Sem 1 2018

SRC President
Imogen Grant

On Wednesday March 21, your SRC will be protesting with students across the state and the country in the National Day of Action. This NDA, called by your National Union of Students, has a demand to ‘Fund Books not Bombs’. This is because the Liberals are intent on cutting $2.2 billion from universities whilst, at the same time, providing a $3.8 billion handout to weapons manufacturers.

These changes constitute a significant attack on students who are already struggling to make ends meet and pay back their debts. Australian students already pay amongst the highest fees in the OECD to attend a public university where we have the second lowest level of public investment in the tertiary system.

With funding increases from 2020 being in accordance to performance indicators, such as retention, we will see the standards and viability of regional and remote universities eroding. No longer would a degree from any member our public university system have standing locally and internationally.

The interests of the university are also shifting towards working for private and corporate interests – not only in the form of research partnerships, but also by abandoning the civic role of universities and focusing solely on accrediting graduates for work in the private sector. Despite the turn towards ‘industry relevant’ degrees, we still see thousands of graduates struggling to find work or working in dead-end jobs.

The violence of the contemporary university is also seen in a radical change in the experience of those at university: precarious employment for casual staff, the measure of workload, a competitive and performance based experience, student stress and anxiety, enormous class sizes and so on.

In today’s higher education sector, Vice-Chancellors are re-cast as CEOs with salaries over one million dollars. These VCs are accountable to university senates, which far from being places of student and staff democratic governance are more akin to corporate boards of management overseeing the operation of large enterprises. We see military, pharmaceutical, biotech and fossil fuel industries wdriving commercial research and learning agendas. At the de facto privatised university, degrees and research are products for sale; students are consumers; and academics are entrepreneurs and service providers.

So fight back against cuts to higher education sector and the sordid state of universities. Come out and protest at 1pm on the New Law Lawns on March 21! Follow the link here for the Facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/events/108878696574470/

Feel free to email me at president@src.usyd.edu.au if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or help@src.usyd.edu.au.

As our way of welcoming you to the new year, we’ve put together a list of all the things you need to know to get through the year, and a bit of info about how to get involved with us!

SRC Women’s Officers Report – Week 1, Sem 1

Madeline Ward and Jessica Syed

The Red Zone report was released on the 26th of February by End Rape On Campus. It outlined historic practices of hazing within Australian residential colleges, embedded in a framework of power, wealth and sexual assault. The report was the first critical and explicit look into this endemic and age-old problem, that also offered tangible and thought out solutions to it. We are grateful for the work of EROC, particularly of 2016 Wom*n’s Officer Anna Hush alongside journalist Nina Funnell for their unpaid effort in putting the report together. We also thank all survivors who came forward to share their stories.

We continued the campaign against these practices and against sexual assault on campus more broadly in O-Week primarly by holding a rally in response to the Report. We deman meaningful change from the university and college structures by asking no less than that the recommendations outlined in the Report be implemented.

It has been floated that we are alienating college students with our rhetoric in doing this. To this we say: we are open to speaking to and working with anyone so long as they are open to the critique of the institutions to which they subscribe. We work as a subsidiary of the SRC, to which we owe a lot. But we aren’t afraid to come out and tell it how it is, if the student union puts a foot wrong. Let’s get ourselves on the same page, and then talk. Also maybe don’t rip our posters down.

LifeChoices, the anti-abortion group on campus were again with a stall during orientation week. WoCo has time and time again attempted to preclude them from participating with their archaic views on reproductive health. We staged an impromptu protest outside the stall/gave out accurate informational pamphlets and were naturally accused of, among other things, silencing free speech, studying gender studies and Marxism (both useless, of course), having had abortions, and not engaging in ‘respectful discussion’. It also came into question, “who would want to pump them?”. We take this opportunity to say to LifeChoices: so long as you exist we will always be protesting your views in the most outrageous and radical way possible. We’re big fans of Marx and don’t want to discuss your foetal fetishes. And also, we’re both having huge amounts of great sex in our recreational time.

Yours truly,
M. Ward and J. Syed

SRC Education Officers Report – Week 1, Sem 2, 2018

Lara Sonnenschein and Lily Campbell

Hello all! Thanks for looking to read our first Honi Soit report of the year. My name is Lily, and my co office bearer who will write here in future is Lara. We work as the elected Office Bearers to lead and collaborate with the Education Action Group, a campus based collective affiliated to the Student Representative Council.

The EAG has a long and proud history of fighting back against government and campus cuts. In 2014, the EAG worked with the National Union of Students to organise a mass student campaign against Abbott and Pyne’s plans to deregulate university fees. Just last year, the EAG organised the Students Support Staff Strikes campaign, raising awareness of the strike on campus, why students shouldn’t go to class and mobilising for picket lines. If you want to join the fight to defend your education and fight for better – join us! Our next meeting is on Wednesday at 5pm in the SRC, Level 1 Wentworth.

On Thursday of O week the EAG headed down to Turnbull’s office to protest against the hypocrisy of a $2.2billion cut to higher education, whilst Australian arms manufacturers get $3.8 billion in handouts. It was a lively protest that blocked an intersection and the road and involved many first year students who were new to activism. We took plenty of homemade placards and an EAG banner to the event.

Our first project for semester one is building a protest on campus on March 21 under the slogan ‘Books not Bombs’. Nationally, the Turnbull government has shown that its interests lie in funding weapons to destroy lives, rather than funding education, health care or welfare. On campus, courses are being cut, whole degrees slashed, units are disappearing. At the same time, the university vice chancellor maintains strong links to the fascistic Trump administration and holds millions of dollars worth of investments in weapons companies. Help us spread the word about this protest! Leaflet your classes, put up posters, share the event on facebook (search ‘student protest – fund books not bombs’). We also now have stickers and tshirts for this protest! Come grab some at the next meeting.

Furthermore, the EAG has decided to be a broad activist collective this year, meaning we want to also help build and organise around other issues. Coming up in May is a protest organised by the group that organised Invasion Day against Black Deaths in Custody, which we encourage all students to attend in solidarity.

Looking forward to a radical year – please contact myself or Lara with any questions, queries or quandaries about education activism. We can be reached on facebook, via the src and mobile phone if asked nicely.

SRC Presidents Report – Week 1, Sem 1, 2018

Imogen Grant

The SRC has had a brilliant start of the year at Orientation Week. The SRC collected hundreds of sign ups from students who want to get active in their student union. We also gave out 1,500 tote bags and spoke to thousands of students about SRC campaigns, their rights on campus, and the incredible services we offer.

Moreover, for the first time the SRC has translated our Counter Course guide into Chinese! It is critical that the SRC does more to engage with the international student community and fight on issues affecting them. I hope you enjoy reading this new edition of Counter Course, you can find it here – https://tinyurl.com/ydghtuug.

In Orientation Week the SRC also protested in response to EROC’s ‘The Red Zone Report’ which exposes vile college rituals and abuse at universities across the country, along with the complete failure of colleges to address rape and misogyny within their own communities. It recounted horrific incidents of abuse including swallowing live goldfish, setting pubic hair on fire, male residents habitually masturbating into womens’ shampoo bottles, locking new students in bathrooms and tipping vats of dead fish on them, and forcing residents to consume more than a dozen drinks without a bathroom stop, causing them to wet their pants. One of the case studies in the report also deals with Stuart Kelly, who took his own life after living in St Paul’s College. His parents are demanding an inquest and suspect catastrophic hazing happened to their son on the one night he stayed at St Paul’s College.

The rally was a tremendous effort from the SRC Women’s Collective and brought together around 200 students in opposition to abuse and sexual assault in university communities. It was also fantastic to see a strong presence of staff members from the National Tertiary Education Union. Staff have a vital stake in discussions around campus safety and it is through working in solidarity that we will see change.

During O-Week, students also mobilised in opposition to LifeChoice, the anti-abortion group on campus. Previously, the club was rejected by the USU on the grounds that it would not “enrich the student experience at university”. However, eventually this decision was overturned by the board. This means that student money and spaces administered by the Union are going to a club that targets women and the choices they make regarding their reproductive health. Moreover, by continuing to include it in their C&S program, the Union is undermining the very safety and inclusivity that it seeks to promote. Anti-choicers have the right to free speech but, as a former SRC office bearer Rafi Alam said when the club was first established, “the USU is not the government and their role isn’t to facilitate all forms of speech, only forms of speech that benefit students and are democratically decided by students, not the kind of violent speech this group produces”. If you wish to get involved with Women’s Collective, contact the SRC

Women’s Officers at womens.officers@src.usyd.edu.au.

Finally, last Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras and was also a landmark celebration after the marriage equality win. Mardi Gras has a long history of protest, having come out of a 1978 rally for queer pride that was brutally shut down by police. The slogan was “Stop police attacks on Gays, Women and Blacks!”. Today’s activist interventions into Mardi Gras – such as ‘No Pride in Detention’ and ‘Department of Homo Affairs’ – are critical to reigniting this tradition. Activists around the country are also fighting back against the pinkwashing of the police who have an extremely strong history of homophobia and transphobia, and are the very reason for Mardi Gras existing in the first place! Police presence in Mardi Gras is a slap in the face to every marginalised person who has ever been mistreated by the cops. Activists and community organisers are out there doing the real work to strengthen Australia’s LGBTQI community and are beginning the hard work of healing the damage inflicted every day by the police.
Feel free to email me at president@src.usyd.edu.au if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or help@src.usyd.edu.au.

Queer Officer’s Report – o-week, Sem 1, 2018

Jazzlyn Breen

Hello and welcome to the new uni year to everyone except our anti same sex marriage vice chancellor Michael Spence! Hope you’re all ready for 9 am lectures and spending $300 on textbooks in one go! We’re definitely not!\

Quac has been super busy over the holidays – both politically and in preparing for O week. As always we’ve had some very strong and passionate contingents to rallies – standing behind some very nice banners we have painted.

Members of our collective attended the annual Australian student environmental network (ASEN) training camp in Minto, where we participated in a variety of workshops on things such as how to organise collectives effectively and decolonisation. Overall it was an incredible week long camp which absolutely prepared and inspired us for another year of effective activism.

If you’re reading this completely unsure what Quac is, let me try and explain in the best way I can. First and foremost we are an autonomous politically active collective who organise around queer issues and participate in other social justice and environmental campaigns. We are intersectional in our activism, as we know that all oppression is linked, and that there is no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us. Over the holidays we’ve had members of our collective on the front lines blocking coal trains to stop Adani, busy organising rallies for invasion day, standing outside abortion clinics to ward off angry Catholics from harassing women – and so many other incredible things. We are a collective that values our members for each of there strengths and passions, and would encourage any queer person reading this to join us. Find us on Facebook “usyd queer action collective” or send us an email “queer.officers@uni.sydney.edu.au” and we’ll let you know how to get involved.

We’re super excited for another year of queer activism! Last year we won marriage equality- let’s keep going until we have true equality.