World University Network Conference
This week I have been representing the University of Sydney at the World University Network President’s Conference in Dublin, meeting and learning from other student union leaders and university academics across the globe. The conference continued throughout from Monday to Friday. We discussed extensively about the cost of higher education, sex and consent, climate change, sustainable education, co-curricular activities and undergraduate research. Student leaders from various universities offered valuable insight into what their respective universities are doing about these issues. For instance, just last year, University College Dublin divested from fossil fuels as a movement to oppose climate change. Another example is National Cheng Keung University in Taiwan, whose tuition fees for local students was only 1000USD and for international students it was only 2000USD – a funding model that puts significantly less financial burden on students.
There were several achievements that I have fostered at the conference. Firstly, at the climate change workshop, I proposed for the student union leaders from the 23 universities present to sign onto a letter asking our respective universities to lobby to the government to take immediate actions on climate change. Coming from student leaders worldwide, we expect to cause a significant environmental movement both nationally and internationally. Secondly, I introduced the idea of a compulsory consent module to all the student union leaders (and it appears that the University of Sydney is the only University present with a enforced consent module), who were very surprised at the initiative and all expressed an interest in introducing the module at their respective universities. If implemented, this will hopefully reduce the number of sexual assault victims around the world.
Overall, the conference was an extremely enjoyable and insightful learning experience, and in the weeks that follow, I will be in conversation with our caseworkers and universities executives, looking to implement some of the effective initiatives that other universities are adopting.
Statement on Honi Soit Censorship
Many of you reading this would be aware of my recent censorship over Honi Soit’s election live blog which has attracted many controversy. The live blog stated that “there are rumours of Jacky He shouting and harassing Ruolin Ma’s campaigners at ABS today”, accompanied by a picture of me handing out flyers on the street of ABS.
There are several reasons why the live blog about was taken down.
Firstly, I was not consulted of whether the rumour is correct or not before the live blog was put up. In professional journalism, the party subjected to a rumour/statement should be given an opportunity to respond. However, I was not at any stage consulted of this rumour.
Honi Soit editors have accused me of blocking free speech, but I wonder when have I been given a right to speak about the rumour?
Sure, there was contesting going on, but it becomes problematic when Honi Soit either intentionally or unintentionally alters the nature of the incident to sculpt it into something completely different in nature that I have most definitely not done.
Secondly, there is an inherent legal problem with posting a rumour without stating where source from which the rumour came from. I genuinely wonder how the Honi Soit editor who wrote the live blog was able to tell that I am “shouting and harassing” from the “photograph evidence” that shows nothing but me handing out flyers. As this is legally problematic, I am obliged to take down the live blog which has presented a rumour that is entirely untruthful.
This is not the only time that Honi Soit has insinuated something that is completely untrue. Just several weeks ago, I was shockingly insinuated of hiring a volunteer to write my President’s report, when nothing even close to that nature has happened – and the only evidence is my accidental change of pronoun from third person to first person in one of my President’s report.
I have made my mistakes, and I am very open and honest about my mistakes. I have never complained about an article that reported on the mistake that I have made as long as it was truthfully represented. However, I do not appreciate my character and name being tarnished over an incident that that completely counterfeit.
I wholeheartedly agree that student media should hold student office bearers to account, and it provides a control that prevents office bearers from wrongly using their power. However, student media should not be intended at destroying the character of students in the wider public in the name of progressivism.
For a more detailed version of the statement, please feel welcomed to check my Facebook public post.