Education Officer’s Report – Week 1, Sem 1, 2016

The Education Officers didn’t see summer. On the last day of work for 2015, University staff were emailed by the University chancellor, Belinda Hutchinson, and given confirmation that massive changes to the University’s structure would occur over the next few years. The changes include a shift from the current 16 faculties and standalone schools to nine faculties and standalone schools. The email also confirmed the University would be cutting the amount of degrees offered from 122- 20. Unlike the cuts to the alumni and staff elected Senate Fellows the faculty amalgamations and degree cuts have not been heavily scrutinised in the media.

We oppose the restructure and demand no faculty and school mergers, no staff cuts, and no degree cuts. The University in one of their 2015 strategy papers noted that the restructure aimed to ‘ease the burden of administration’ (code for staff cuts) and to prevent ‘overlapping’ and ‘duplication’ in the curriculum. But we don’t want a generalised undergraduate education which is understaffed and poorly funded!

The University wants to swiftly push through these changes. There are signs that suggest the process of amalgamating the faculties is already well underway with current faculties Agriculture and Veterinary science now appearing under the Science faculty’s new school of Life Sciences and the Environment on USYDs website. But we will not be left on the back foot!

The Education Action Group has met regularly over the break and been a site of robust debate including a discussion over the first steps of the restructure campaign, would the EAG call open meetings for students to discuss the changes? or should we be calling a rally immediately? The EAG voted to call a rally for March 16 1PM at the Carslaw Building, we hope to see you there! Students can win, we stopped the merger of Political Economy in 2011 and prevented the cutting of over 300 jobs in 2012. We can stop the restructure!

But the immediacy of the faculty mergers demands a campaign which is centred on radical student democracy. This is why we have started calling open meetings such as Wednesday’s (02/03) meeting in Sydney College of the Arts’ Auditorium to discuss the proposed shutdown of its Rozelle campus. If you’re in a faculty or school affected by the mergers keep an eye out for similar events and get in contact with us Education Officers.

Learn more about the changes on the Fight the USYD Restructure Facebook page or by picking up a copy of the SRC’s Counter Course. The Counter Course Handbook contains a non–marketing washed undergraduate subject guide and a variety of articles concerning our campus and education. This publication has also been subject to EAG and SRC executive scrutiny, indeed the subject data received to write the Counter Course has declined over the years and when the Education Officers are busy with a campaign (like the restructure) it can be a challenge to finish such a time consuming task. On the flip side this magazine looks and reads amazingly with articles on discrimination, education activism, pedagogy, and of course the restructure.

We’re here to fight for your education, but we need your voice to join the debate! So every Tuesday at 2PM on the Law lawns join the EAG meeting and lead the fight forward.

Education Officers
Dylan Griffiths and Liam Carrigan

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