Week 13, Semester 1, 2023
Hello, here’s what I’ve been up to this week :)
On Tuesday, Tiger (SRC General Secretary) and I attended the ASPC meeting to present the findings of the SRC’s survey on simple extensions and state clearly that students wish to maintain 5-day simple extensions. We made several clear points, but unfortunately the committee voted to change to a system of 3-day simple extensions, incorporating a drop-down menu in place of student declarations and expanding the options. We believe that the latter two parts of this change are going to be beneficial for students, but we disagree with the University Executive’s proposal for 3-day extensions. See our recent Honi article for more.
These changes still have to be endorsed by the Academic Board, and we plan to make an amendment to the proposal at that meeting. We believe that if anything this highlights one key message to students – higher education institutions are not democratic, run in the interests of staff and students. Thus, the work of the SRC and SUPRA are more important than ever, fighting for the interests of students, particularly those who face barriers to education. The best student unions run with massive participation from the student body, so if you’re interested in getting involved with the SRC please get involved in our fantastic collectives. One such collective is the queer collective, whose awesome edition of Honi was trashed by some bigots on campus – solidarity with the collective, come to their speakout 12pm Thursday and please read the edition online! bit.ly/fagisoit2023
This week I also spoke at the Women’s Collective rally – it’s been 17 decades too long of sexual violence at the colleges. The Welfare Action Group and Get a Room held protests highlighting the enormous failings of the Federal budget, that thousands of dollars are going to the wealthy through tax cuts during a cost of living crisis which requires massive spending on welfare and wage rises. I attended the ACAR X ECOPSoc forum on Western Sahara, and learnt a lot about the struggle for self-determination, resistance and the history of colonisation in this important place.
As we go into week 13 I wish you all the best with your exams. Don’t forget to take breaks and have fun <3. The SRC will still be open to support you over the break, and we’ll be preparing for a big semester 2.
Week 12, Semester 1, 2023
This was a big week with the announcement of the federal budget. Many people have pointed out the blatant holes in the budget – while the budget includes an increase to Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance, the increases are miniscule compared to massive amounts of inflation. Students, workers and unemployed people are right to demand more, and put that into action. There were multiple rallies in Canberra when the budget was announced, focused on housing and ending poverty, and on Friday there will be a Sydney march organised by the NSW Education Organising Group.
I attended the rally commemorating 75 years since Al Nakba outside Town Hall on Sunday – marking 75 years of Palestinian resistance, collective action and struggle. The strength of Palestinian people in the face of oppression is incredible, and it is an important anti-racist struggle to support. Get involved where you can.
I met with the SRC Caseworkers to discuss plans for campaigns for education and action around rent increases and tenants rights. We plan to run SRC sessions about this issue early next semester. I’ve also begun reviewing the SRC’s Regulations, to see what changes need to be made to improve the clarity and accessibility of the Regs. I attended a few committees this week, which included hearing more about the University’s “It’s all about consent” campaign.
A couple of things coming up next week – the Women’s Collective are holding an Abolish the Colleges Rally on the 17th. If you couldn’t make the forum, come to this to learn more and get involved in their important campaign to overthrow the elite, unsafe colleges and replace them with affordable publicly owned student accommodation. The Welfare Action Group is also holding a rally demanding affordable student housing on the 18th. If you can’t tell already, student accommodation is a big issue for the SRC – we know so many people are struggling to get by, and we all need to do something about it.
Week 11, Semester 1, 2023
Hello! We have now passed the 6 month mark of the 95th SRC and things are going well.
Monday was May Day, and the SRC came out to the march from Belmore Park to Hyde Park, with hundreds of unionists. I particularly enjoyed the line from a speaker “defend your communities and don’t defend the political establishment”. I’m very keen for the May Day rally at Port Kembla, against the proposed Nuclear Base on Saturday.
This week we had our council meeting on Wednesday night, where we passed a range of important motions opposing AUKUS, defending trans rights, supporting protests which commemorate 75 years since Al Nakba and demanding a better Federal budget this week – with a raise to JobSeeker and Youth Allowance for everyone, a rent freeze and action on climate.
I have started work on a review of the SRC’s policies, particularly as they relate to staff and accessing the service. This is essential for the operation of the SRC’s services and the Workplace Health and Safety of everyone who accesses the SRC. Applications for SRC Electoral Officer are now open, and you can find the ad on Ethical Jobs and on our website under ‘SRC Jobs’.
Results of our simple extension survey are now live - check them out on SRC Social Media channels. The University needs to start listening to students when making decisions, and students have spoken in favour of 5-day Simple Extensions. It was good to meet with Weihong, President of SUPRA, who is on the same page as undergraduate students.
Next week a few officebearers will be going to Canberra to protest the housing crisis during the announcement of the Federal Budget. The rally to commemorate Al Nakba is on Saturday, and I encourage you to attend.
Week 10, Semester 1, 2023
Hello! Here’s what I’ve been up to.
I was at the Women’s Collective forum about abolishing the colleges and building public affordable housing for students. It was an excellent discussion, and I can’t wait to see where the women’s collective go with their campaign to abolish the unsafe, elitist, misogynist and racist institutions that plague our campus. On Thursday I also attended the EnviroXEAG rally - no to war, no to fossil fuels as it is important we continue to stand up against damaging militaristic policies like AUKUS.
I met with the President of the Western Sydney Uni SRC, and support their fight to be independent of the University. It is an unfortunate consequence of VSU that Universities exert control over student unions which should be fully funded autonomously of Uni management. I also met with the NUS Ethnocultural Officer Ben, and the SRC Ethnocultural Officer Rand shared some of the work she has done so far, and the importance of the NUS committing to their position about the IHRA definition.
The selection committee for the SRC’s Electoral Officer will release an ad this week, and I encourage you to apply if you meet the selection criteria. We had a meeting about the progress on the disability space, and it is scheduled for completion in August. The results of our 5-day simple extension survey will be released this week. Please keep an eye out to make our message clear that students need support and flexibility in their education. Note: the SRC’s council meeting is on Wednesday 3rd May at 6pm.
Monday 1st is May Day and the SRC is closed, and we have a contingent to the union rally in Belmore Park. There is a May Day action on May 6th at Port Kembla, fighting to keep Port Kembla Nuclear Free.
Week 9, Semester 1, 2023
Hey! Here’s what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up! The most significant news I shared with you was that the University wishes to overturn the trial of 5-day simple extensions, and make them 3-day simple extensions. From our initial discussions with students, we have heard that this would cause unnecessary stress and further sharpen the gap between students from disadvantaged backgrounds face. The SRC and SUPRA are running a survey to find out what you think, and have received hundreds of responses. I will share these findings to demonstrate what students think about the system, and it would be a real shame if the University ignore this. It is disappointing to see the Labor Government oppose a bill to freeze HECS indexation, which will significantly increase HECS debts, and plunge our generation further into a spiral of debt. Students need urgent action to ease the cost of living, as well as a University system not structured around fees. I attended the Vigil outside Randwick Town Hall, standing with the Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network and the community to tell councillors not to fly the Israeli flag. Unfortunately the council ignored our wishes and went ahead without considering the urgency motion. Next week! On Thursday the Enviro Collective and Education Action Group are holding a rally, ‘No to War and Fossil Fuels: Thales and Santos Off Campus’. In the light of the AUKUS deal, we believe it is increasingly important Universities have no ties to weapons manufacturing, and that current connections and partnerships to companies such as Thales are completely dropped. On Thursday evening the Women’s Collective is hosting a round table, ‘Abolish the Colleges, Build Public Housing Now’ to address the unsafe, elite nature of the colleges and demand a student housing system which is safe and affordable. If you’re interested in the topic, please attend! It was sorry news to hear that the week 10 strikes have been called off, because the strikes so far in this campaign have been extremely successful guaranteeing a better pay rise and maintaining 40/40/20 conditions. Staff deserve a deal that will change our University for the better, and students are completely behind this action.
Week 8, Semester 1, 2023
Hello! I hope you had a fantastic mid sem break.
In the week before midsem, the SRC participated in the NTEU’s strike and picket. It was great to be on the picket lines with so many staff and students, and I enjoyed giving a speech on behalf of the SRC at the end of the pickets.
Last week, the CEO of Universities Australia was in the United States, attending meetings to discuss involvement of the Universities in the AUKUS deal. Students held a snap speakout outside F23 opposing the involvement of Universities in AUKUS – universities should not be getting involved in a deal that jeopardises our future.
In committee news, I have seen more of the outcomes of ‘Future FASS’ and how they are affecting honours programs. Instead of discipline specific honours units, students have to complete school-based honours units, with the exact proportion determined by the school. The Education Action Group is preparing to fight back against this.
In SRC news, we have hired a social media intern. We held an SRC Faculty Society Committee meeting to hear from student Faculty Societies about issues facing students in their faculties, and to update them on the campaigns of the SRC – such as in support of the NTEU strikes. The SRC’s caseworkers prepared a submission to the Universities Accord, assisted by myself and Tiger, and I thank them for their time on this. The submission identified the need for Free Education, to overturn JobReady, for expanded student economic support and for safety on campus. While we are under no illusions about the intention of the Accord, the submission puts together the direct experience caseworkers have with students.
I’ve changed my consultation hours to be only Wednesday 3pm to 5pm because Monday was unpopular. Drop by the office on Wednesdays or email me anytime firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our social media on Monday morning to see the upcoming events at the SRC this week.
Week 7, Semester 1, 2023
Hello! Lia here.
On Friday students joined academic and professional staff at the University on strike for the 8th day of strike action. The NTEU is still yet to bargain directly with University management, as management is taking a hard line against the demands of staff which will make this University a better place to work and learn – a goal we must all support. We will be out in support again on Wednesday.
A few members of the SRC and I met to discuss the 100+ year celebration of International students at the University, which SUPRA and Sydney Student Life are organising. The SRC is thinking about ways we would like to participate in this, and run our own events addressing the difficulties international students face at university – such as lack of access to concession Opal cards, the impossible prices of student accommodation and barriers to understanding the University’s bureaucracy, among other things. Keep an eye out for this and email email@example.com if you’d like to be involved.
On Monday I participated in the University’s Thematic Review, which is focused on the first year experience. From my experience and speaking to other students, I believe the key problems in first year are an over-reliance on casual teaching staff, a lack of clarity on where to go for support, and a university culture which marginalises students from diverse or low SES backgrounds. All of which the University needs to address.
ACAR held a speakout for Land Day, which you would have seen information about in their amazing edition of Honi last week, fighting staunchly for the rights of Palestinians and celebrates the history of their resistance.
On Tuesday the 95th SRC will meet for its 3rd Council meeting at 6pm in ABS. The SRC will be again supporting the strike on Wednesday, and we encourage you to join us. As always, get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org and come to my consultation hours if you have anything you’d like to discuss.
Week 6, Semester 1, 2023
The student centre is planning to cut dozens of jobs, while hiring students at a lower rate to perform the same work. Students need support from the student centre now more than ever, because the centralised system of university administration causes significant delays. The EAG and NTEU took action outside the student centre to argue that casuals should not lose their jobs, and that staff working conditions are student learning conditions. There will be another strike on Friday this week, rejecting management’s pay offer - the SRC will be closed on this day, and we strongly encourage all students to come out in support of staff.
The Women’s Collective has been planning to protest outside St Mary’s Cathedral against the ‘day of the unborn child’. Following the news that a violent group of Christian Lives Matter bigots were planning to attend, this changed to a small speakout. The state of abortion access in NSW is dire, particularly for people in regional areas, and the state government urgently needs to address this.
On Tuesday I attended the Queer Collective’s speakout on smashing transphobia on campus. On Thursday I attended ACAR’s open reading group about the BDS movement and how it connects to anti-racism. I attended the Students v. Landlords housing action on Friday afternoon.
The SRC doesn’t run itself, and this week I did a lot of internal SRC work – we signed off on our audit and convened a Legal Service Board meeting. Tiger and I attended the University’s Student Consultative Committee meeting – we look forward to seeing what is planned for USU’s Student Safety Conference. The SRC has an ad for a Social Media Intern, which is a short term, paid position with the SRC, which is still open and I encourage you to apply if you are interested in working at the SRC creating social media content.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2023
On Wednesday morning I attended a protest supporting Violet Coco’s appeal, urging that charges against her are dropped. It was fantastic to hear that serious punishment was lifted, particularly on the news that the police had falsified their testimony. On Thursday, we hosted a forum on Free Speech and the Right to Protest. It was great to hear from student activists, as well as Wendy Bacon and David Shoebridge on this important topic.
I helped out at the WoCo bake sale on Wednesday - talking to students about the left-wing, intersectional feminist organising that WoCo does, and helping raise money for an Indigenous activist. It was also lovely to meet students and staff at the Gadigal Centre on Thursday for lunch. I’m looking forward to future conversations and the work that the SRC Indigenous collective does this year.
The SRC has put out an ad for a Social Media Intern
, which is a short term, paid position with the SRC, which I encourage you to apply if you are interested in working at the SRC creating social media content.
This week I attended the Academic Quality Committee and Safer Communities Advisory Group. At Safer Communities, myself and other SRC Officebearers asked questions about the plans for more student safety measures in placements, and what the University plans to do about the sorry, unsafe state of student accommodation.
This week, around the 20 year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the Labor government announced their re-commitment to the AUKUS submarine deal. The AUKUS deal is not about defending Australia, rather, it is about an increase of imperial power - which is a political and environmental disaster costing $368 billion. Instead of AUKUS we need an increase in government spending on public education and welfare.
Next week, come along to the housing protest on Friday evening, and the Women’s Collective counter-protest to the day of the unborn child on Sunday - more events posted online!!
Week 4, Semester 1, 2023
Hi! Last week was fantastic. Congratulations to the NTEU branch at USyd and everyone who went on strike and attended the picket lines. It was significant to see strong support for staff and a complete campus shutdown after months of bargaining. We hope management takes this as a strong message about the importance of this campaign. I spent most of my morning at the small entrance behind the Law school near Victoria park, and visited the well attended City Rd picket, where dozens of staff and students were gathered. The SRC is in support of further strike action to force the hand of University management. I spent time earlier in the week building the strike campaign with the Education Action Group. The University’s Future FASS program is being implemented, with a recent announcement that FASS honours programs may be significantly scaled back for ‘curriculum sustainability’. We are opposed to these changes, which aren’t as dire as originally proposed (due to an amazing student and staff campaign), though they represent a significant degradation of our education. Next week, the SRC is hosting a forum: Free Speech and the Right to Protest, with guest speakers including Wendy Bacon and David Shoebridge, on the University’s crackdown on free speech on campus, and the repressive anti-protest laws used against activists. I encourage students concerned about the suspension of two students to attend in New Law Annex LT024 at 3pm on Thursday 16th. At 8:30am that day there will be an action outside the Downing Centre in support of Violet CoCo, to drop the prison sentence against the climate activist. This week I am also working on the SSAF acquittal with the General Secretaries, we welcome two new Caseworkers, and President Consultation hours are running Mon & Weds. As part of the campaign run by the NUS, and SRC Welfare Action Group @ USyd, the SRC has released a survey on student housing, to gather information and data to use in our campaigning. We want you to fill it out!
Week 3, Semester 1, 2023
Hello! Here’s what I’ve been up to – join the pickets or don’t come onto campus on March 9th!
The SRC stands in full solidarity with the NTEU on strike this Thursday. Staff working conditions are student learning conditions. Students have a crucial role to play showing their solidarity with the people who really run this university - the academic and professional staff who teach and support us. To contribute to the fight for a better education system, it’s essential to come and join staff on the picket lines - from 7am on March 9th.
On Friday the SRC joined the Enviro Collective and the National Union of Students to demand no new coal and gas mines, and a just transition to 100% publicly owned renewables. We marched from Fisher Library to Town Hall to join School Strike for Climate. On the 1 year anniversary of the floods, it’s important to remember the devastation and destruction that climate change continues to cause - and the lack of action from our government.
I wholly condemn the University’s move to suspend Maddie Clark and Deaglan Godwin, and the SRC has posted a statement and open letter in support. I’d encourage students, staff and alumni to sign this letter demanding that the University drop the suspension and defend free speech on campus. Council passed a motion to support Cherish Kuhlemann, UNSW Education officer, in her campaign to drop the draconian charges against her. Cherish’s charges represent the repression of the fundamental right to protest.
This week, I also attended my first Academic Board meeting. One thing I raised was the major problem students seeking support from the SRC are having at the moment, which is that the University’s centralised system is causing enormous problems for enrolment because they are not resourced to support their own students.
President consultation hours continue! Foodhub is open! See more of what we’re up to on the SRC Facebook
Students support strikes!
Week 2, Semester 1, 2023
This week we’ve been around campus holding SRC stalls,handing out the remaining tote bags, telling students about the SRC and upcoming rallies organised by SRC collectives. These have been great and we’ll continue them next week. I held my first consultation hours, weekly on Monday 11-1 and Wednesday 1-3. The re-opening of Foodhub this week has gone swimmingly, and I congratulate the SRC Vice Presidents for their work. I attended the Education Action Group’s fantastic protest demanding the University cut ties with weapons manufacturer Thales. With a 24 hour strike called in Week 3 the SRC will be mobilising and encouraging students to join staff on the picket lines. We must oppose management’s consistent attack on our education and fight for the rights of staff who really make this university run. We co-hosted the ‘Students For Affordable Housing’ protest on Friday. A range of speakers addressed the intensity of the housing crisis. We need state and federal governments to take serious action to address the complete unaffordability of housing in NSW. The SRC will share updates as this campaign escalates. The crackdown on the right to protest with the arrest of the UNSW Education Officer is concerning, and I extend solidarity to Cherish. The discussion paper for the Universities Accord was released last week. I feel the need to repeat consistent arguments the SRC has made: the Job-Ready Graduates package needs to be repealed immediately, and students should have access to FREE, quality higher education. There is a housing crisis, the age of independence and rate of Youth Allowance is too low, and sexual violence occurs on campus at extreme rates. We campaign around these demands and more, as they should be addressed immediately. This week, get along to the Climate Strike on Friday! Meeting at Fisher Library at 11am.
Week 1, Semester 1, 2023
Welcome Week is done! Phew. Thanks to everyone who helped out at the SRC stall and well done to all Collectives for your hard work. It was awesome to meet so many new students who are passionate about making a better world and a better university. Clearly, this year USyd spent a lot of money marketing themselves to new students, but let’s not forget the punitive systems they use against their own students, complete contempt towards staff in enterprise bargaining, and the way management made a surplus by selling essential student housing.
It was a lot of fun to speak with Weihong, President of SUPRA, at the Welcome Ceremony on the main stage on the first day, and to fill half an hour of time introducing the SRC shortly after. Last week I spoke at many other Welcomes, including International Students, the Con, FASS and New to Sydney.
I attended the Women’s Collective protest to end sexual violence on campus, particularly important during Welcome Week which is the most significant time this culture is perpetuated. Some important activist work coming soon includes the snap action on Friday 24th of February to demand affordable housing now! This is a campaign wholly supported by the SRC as the housing crisis in Sydney is particularly awful right now. At the SRC stall we told lots of students about the Climate Strike on March 3rd, and are keen for the big day. I’m excited for the Mardi Gras rally on Sunday 19th, when we march against the corporate version of pride. There is also an EAG rally to demand Thales off campus on Feb 23rd.
I had lots of fun at the Welcome Party organised by General Secretary Jasmine! I’ve recently been attending committee meetings, such as UE Education, where I identified the need for improved wait times for students with Special Considerations, because the advent of 5-day simple extensions hasn’t improved this system. Myself and SUPRA also raised difficulties that domestic students are having accessing hybrid learning, where disabled students have identified their need.
Welcome Week, Semester 1, 2023
Welcome to, or welcome back to, the bureaucratic-corporate nightmare that makes up the University of Sydney. If you’ve managed to enrol in classes, log into your email and access your timetable, you’re off to a great start! The SRC is the representative body for ALL undergraduate students, offering free casework help and a legal service – in case you run into trouble and need independent support. The SRC also firmly sharpens itself as a thorn in University management’s side, offering an alternative to their brand of “student life”. We run a range of activist collectives – currently our focus is on the crisis students are facing in housing. USyd has sold off a huge mass of its affordable housing, and rents in student accommodation and their nearby suburbs is dramatically more than youth allowance or any part time job can cover. We want the University to invest in student accommodation, guaranteeing a place for all students at a price range we can afford. In the reports below you can see a range of campaigns our Office Bearers are running! All of them are fighting for a better world, and a University education that is free, and puts the interests of staff and students before the interests of corporate donors and Vice Chancellors. We seek change in broader society, particularly as the Labor Government continues to open new coal and gas projects, jeopardising our future and making no chang to their broken higher education system. My name is Lia, I’m a 4th year Arts student who will be your SRC President this year. You’re always welcome to shoot me an email: email@example.com and find my consultation hours on the ‘contact’ section of our website. In future reports I’ll tell you more about what I’ve been up to, for now the focus is WELCOME!