SRC Education Officers Report – Week 9, Sem1, 2018

Lara Sonnenschein and Lily Campbell

Last week, we took part in a speak out organised by Students for Palestine against Israel’s massacres in Gaza. In five weeks of protests, 46 people have been killed, and hundreds more have been badly wounded. The action aimed to raise awareness of the issue and encourage solidarity with Palestine amongst the student body. The day was a success, with both of us speaking and drawing pertinent links between Palestine solidarity and our ongoing books not bombs campaign.

Our recent collective meeting agreed to take on building for the Black Deaths in Custody rally as a priority – we will be postering, leafleting and dropping a banner in the coming weeks to build for the protest. Please contact us if you’d like to help with this work and be a host of the student contingent Facebook event!

In terms of political developments, it’s been revealed that the University is planning on running an Arts course in Western Civilisation with the Ramsay centre – an organisation whose board includes Tony Abbott, John Howard, Kim Beazeley and Joe de Bruyn. We will be looking for opportunities to protest this in the future.

Last Tuesday, during a graduation ceremony, graduate Jodie Pall dropped a banner that demanded the university cut its ties to weapons manufacturers. This was an excellent action and one of many to come from Disarm Universities which ties in with the books not bombs campaign. In light of this, the SRC voted unanimously at council (minus the Libs) to support disarming USyd meaning 1) supporting divestment from weapons manufacturers 2) advocating for no new partnerships with arms companies and 3) condemning Belinda Hutchinson for her role as Chairwoman of Thales Australia and Chancellor.

The latest budget is soon to be released by the Turnbull government – whilst it will definitely be a classic class war budget from the Liberals, continuing to gut social services, especially welfare, it looks unlikely to include significant attacks on education. Thus, our capacity to organise a large demonstration similar to years past is somewhat limited. Regardless, we will be planning an action on campus following the budget in order to continue flying the flag for free education and against the militarisation of universities. Watch this space!