Priya Gupta and Anne Zhao
Week 8, Semester 2, 2021
Welcome back from mid-sem break everyone! We hope you have had a restful time and are ready to get back into the thick of things, especially the staunch activism going on.
We have been involved in organising and building the Education Action Group’s Student General Meeting (SGM) which is happening on Thursday 27th of October. This SGM has been called in response to a proposed slate of changes to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, as well as others including the schools of Business and Dentistry. Part of these proposed changes is the amalgamation of different courses, notably Gender and Cultural Studies which not only are important courses in and of themselves, but were also won through student and staff struggle! In general, these changes will result in less courses, fewer options for both undergraduate and higher degree research students, and an overall worse quality of education. We highly recommend you get involved and come along to the SGM, which is only the fourth of these significant events in USyd’s history. To find out more about the demands of this SGM, head over to the Education Action Group’s Facebook page and join the group!
You may have seen a petition going around asking the university for a compassionate response to the current Sydney COVID lockdown. This petition is asking primarily for the reinstatement of the C-WAM which was introduced in Semester 1 2020, as well as requesting the extension of the Discontinue Not Fail (DC) deadline, and waiving attendance requirements. We have been involved in developing this proposal and bringing it to various University committees. Its current status is that the proposal will be brought to the University Executive committee where it will be voted on, unfortunately without any student representation present, but we are hopeful. Stay tuned!
In some exciting news, it doesn’t look like the proposed changes to the ACNC will go through! [You may have read about this in some of our previous reports, but the low-down is that these changes would threaten to deregister charities – including the SRC – which are even tangentially related to someone breaking the law]. The relevant Senate Committee has released a report which recommends that the Senate disallow the proposal because it threatens the charity sector.
We have also been involved in Radical Sex and Consent Week, run by the Women’s Collective which is on this week. It will be a fantastic, exciting, and best of all, educational week of learning everything that you didn’t get in high school sex-ed, have felt too awkward to ask friends about, or haven’t quite understood from your cursory internet searches. Come along and see all the hard work put in by the collective over the past semester, and learn something new!
Lastly, after a much-needed week of rest during mid-sem, Radical Education Week is ready to go again! The upcoming events are on Religion in Politics, Transformative Justice, Affordable Student Housing, and the Biopolitics of Sex!! Check out the Radical Education Week Facebook page to see these events.
We hope you have made it through this meaty report and are keen to get involved in some of the above!
Week 6, Semester 2, 2021
As always, we have had a busy few weeks.
We have been involved in forming focus groups for student consultation about the new Special Considerations portal. This is a long-awaited opportunity for the overhaul of the current inadequate system which poses additional barriers to students, and we strongly encourage all students who have experience with applying for Special Cons to join the focus group. Find the link to an expression of interest form on the SRC’s Facebook page or go to shorturl.at/gB357
Along with the rest of the SRC exec, we have sought consultation for the proposed changes to the ACNC governance standards which threaten to deregister charities whose members are involved in the breaking of even the most minor laws. This would severely hamstring the ability of the SRC and other charities to carry out any meaningful advocacy work. Lastly, Radical Education Week has been going well! We are getting great engagement and look forward to seeing new faces in the coming weeks!
Week 4, Semester 2, 2021
Rad Ed Week [The Series] has begun! We have had three fantastic events so far, on radical pedagogy, climate activism in the face of the IPCC report, and USyd’s Political Economy department. The recordings of these sessions, as will happen for the rest of semester, will be uploaded to the SRC’s YouTube Channel where you can catch up if you missed them!
In case you don’t know, The Radical Education Week Series is a democratically run, liberatory education series made by students for students. Twice a week this semester, at Tuesday 6pm and Thursday 2pm, we will be holding a session with students and sometimes a special guest. Students deserve control of our education, from deciding what we learn to being treated as students and teachers alike. Rad Ed Week is one in a long history of students breaking free of the often-stifling model of education which we currently learn under, and attempting to escape from the hyper-competitive, individualistic, and profit-driven structure of tertiary education.
If the promise of interesting and interactive sessions led by your peers isn’t enticing enough, every week we are also doing a draw to choose a winner for a $30 Better Read Than Dead book voucher. Check out our Facebook page (@RadicalEducationWeek) for more details and to see the events!
Also, we have got in touch with OISH, the Oz International student Hub. We have helped them hold the first table talk with some Chinese international students. Both of us realised there are many international students who have suffered from illegal low wage work, unfair treatment by landlords and many more sad stories. Hence, we want to care more about the international students especially under such a stressful global pandemic period. We would collaborate with OISH to hold more events.
Also, we have already given four Orientation talks during the first week of Semester two. Since there are more demands from international students, we would like to offer more events for international students to join. For example, we would hold a session with the NSW Police to give international students an overview about what the police can help them during October. If you are one of the international students and want to make a change or need more information, feel free to contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 9660 5222 (International phone: +61 2 9660 5222).
Week 2, Semester 2, 2021
We hope everyone is settling well into semester 2 and online university, and to those of you for whom this is your first semester, we are so sorry, but it will get better! For now, try to go to your online classes while they’re on, and find a uni community to get involved in – the SRC has plenty of great collectives doing important activism who would love to have you.
Over the winter holidays we have been working on a few exciting things. One of these is Radical Education Week. In the past this has been a chock-full week of exciting and educational sessions run by fellow students on all kinds of topics which you don’t cover in class, and is radical in nature, in allowing students to experiment with different models of democratic teaching and learning. We hoped to be loud and proud on Eastern Av in Week 4, but due to the lockdown, have unfortunately had to push it online. We decided that instead of a week of events, we would have a series of exciting sessions throughout semester – every Tuesday 6pm and Thursday 2pm!
Come along to the first session this week, at 2pm on Thursday! It will be on education as a form of liberation and will be a great theoretical basis for the rest of the week. You can find more information about the week on our Facebook Page, and see new events being uploaded on a rolling basis. We will also be having a very exciting draw each week where participants in the events can win some ~radical~ books!
Hope to see you there!
Week 13, Semester 1, 2021
We hope the semester is wrapping up well for everyone!
Lately, we have been working on applications for Contestable Funding projects for the SRC! In particular, we would love to get casework resources translated into other languages so that more students are able to read these in their first languages. We are also requesting funding for the Radical Sex and Consent Week organised by the Women’s Collective for Week 2 Semester 2. This will be a wonderful opportunity for all to get involved in on-campus organising, and participate in wonderful workshops, including on transformative justice, drag, and queer sex and relationships. In addition to these two, the SRC is requesting funding for a casual staff member to organise the Food Hub project, and the provision of a Disabilities Space and a Conservatorium Study Space.
Ahead of upcoming exams and the holidays, we wanted to remind everyone that the SRC website has useful resources on a range of topics, including Special Consideration, Tenancy and Accomodation, and Centrelink. Check them out if you run into any issues, and contact the SRC Caseworkers if you need any additional support.
The Education Action Group is also holding a rally this Wednesday against the cuts to the Faculty of Arts and Social Science. The University is proposing to dissolve the School of Literature, Arts, and Media (SLAM) and departments of Theatre and Performance Studies, and Studies in Religion. This is a continuation of attacks on Arts last year, and to fight it, we need students from across all disciplines to come together to defend our right to an education.
Until next time,
Priya and Anne
Week 11, Semester 1, 2021
For the past few weeks we have been doing a range of things! We completed and submitted the SRC’s SSAF Acquittal to the University, and are so glad to be done with that and moving onto bigger and better things! As we mentioned in our last report, the 12-week Semester Vote happened in the Academic Board at the start of May. We contacted staff and student members of the Board and made the case against the change from the point of view of undergraduate students. Now this is old news but we won! The vote didn’t pass, with 7x as many staff and students voting against the proposal!! This is wonderful news for undergrads, and it seems that for at least the next few years we are once again safe.
We are now working on applications for Contestable SSAF Funding. This is exciting because it is the first time since the beginning of COVID-19 that this pool of funding has been made available to us, and we hope to fund some important and necessary projects, including translating SRC resources into languages other than English so they can be used by the widest range of students.
If you want a break from studying or want to get more involved in uni life, we highly recommend joining the Education Action Group (EAG). Members of the SRC recently uncovered that Uni Management knowingly allowed undercover police on to campus last year to suppress the protests against course cuts by the EAG, and were aware of the police’s use of AI to monitor staff involved in this sustained fight. The EAG is organising a student fightback against the university’s blatant disregard for the free speech and safety of its students and staff, and more student power is always welcome!
We are also beginning to organise Radical Education Week for early next semester. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn things we aren’t taught in our degrees, and sessions will be led both by external speakers and fellow students! If there is a topic you would like to hear about, feel free to let us know by emailing us (email@example.com) or messaging the Radical Education Week Facebook page.
Until next time,
Priya and Anne
Week 9, Semester 1, 2021
We hope you had a good mid-sem break and are settling back in easily.
The past week has been a big one for the SRC and it’s collectives; the Enviro Collective successfully hosted the first Student General Meeting in over a decade at USyd, where almost 300 students unanimously voted to support the May 21st Climate Strike and called upon the university to waive any penalty for staff and students for missing class. The Disabilities Collective and Women’s Collective held speak-outs against the blatant ableist, transphobic and anti-abortion rhetoric of the Catholic Society during their so-called ‘Life Week’, and the Education Action Group held a rally against the shortening of Semester lengths in the lead-up to the vote on the proposal at the University’s Academic Board meeting on 4th May. There will be a simultaneous rally outside the Administration Building (F23) during the time of this vote, so make sure to show up and voice your opposition. If you want to be involved in any of these collectives, search them up on Facebook or check out the Get Involved page on the SRC website to get their details.
Personally, we have been working on the SRC Acquittal and Audit for our activities and spending in 2020, which we will release at this coming council meeting. Feel free to check it out! We have also been attending a variety of committee meetings, and are doing our part to ensure a vote against the 12-week semester proposal.
Until next time!
Priya and Anne
Week 5, Semester 1, 2021
We hope the first few weeks of Semester 1 have been going swimmingly for everyone, particularly those who are new to USyd!
Massive reminder that Census Date is coming up fast – Wednesday 31st March! If you haven’t already, have a serious think about if you want to drop any subjects. The time to pick subjects up has passed, but if you want to decrease your study load now is the last chance to without having to pay for the subject or have it appear on your transcript as a fail. Go to the cursed section of Sydney Student where you pick subjects to delete one.
There are a few important events coming up! The SRC collectives are putting on a series of events leading up to the BLM rally on 10th April for 30 years since the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC). Both in week 5 – on Tuesday there is an abolitionist panel on imagining a world without prisons, and on Wednesday a film screening of In My Blood It Runs. Check out the SRC FB page for more info and to join the contingent to the rally.
Also, a save-the-date for the SRC’s first forum of the year – Wednesday 22nd April! This will be on the University’s (awful) proposal to move to a 12-week semester model from our current 13 week one. This would mean the same amount of content for the same fees, but with less teaching time. We expect the outcomes to be similar to other universities – more work for staff, more stress for students, and higher fail rates.
Reminder that there is a great opportunity to volunteer for the Food Hub (done by the SRC in collaboration with the USU and Student Life) – a program which provides free essential groceries to students. It is on-campus, regular, and offers the chance to meet and help some fellow students – what more could you ask for in volunteering! Any student is also welcome to a grocery pack, all you need to do is register a time to pick it up from the Wentworth Building. Register or sign-up to volunteer via the SRC website.
Priya and Anne
Week 3, Semester 1, 2021
The start of Sem 1 2021 has been a busy one for your GenSecs!
Since Welcome Week was pushed back from the week before uni starting to the first week of semester, we had a hectic (in all senses of the word) time at the stall all week, letting students know about existence and role of the SRC, publicising the SRC’s services and collectives, and handing out our totes.
Maybe even more so than talking to students and getting great feedback, seeing our bags on the shoulders of many walking around campus has been particularly sweet. If you missed out on getting one during Welcome Week and are keen to get the goodies inside, we still have a few left over which you can have, with SRC masks, pens, stickers, and heaps of useful info! Shoot us an email and we can arrange getting one to you.
A massive thank you to everyone who helped out with packing our 1750 tote bags or handing them out! We absolutely would not have survived the week without our lovely volunteers who chatted to students and did countless treks across Eastern Av to replenish our bag supply.
If you are a new student and for some unknown reason reading this section of Honi, welcome! To find out about the SRC, head to our website or check out the Orientation Handbook online. We highly recommend getting involved in the many collectives and their activist work, and by volunteering with us to help students.
During the first two weeks of uni, we also attended the Women’s Collective’s protest against sexual violence on campus, and the Welfare Action Group’s speakout against the slashing of JobSeeker + JobKeeper. If you are interested in attending similar events, check out the collectives’ facebook pages. We hope to see you at the Women’s Collective’s Snap Rally for Justice for Survivors, and Welfare Action Group’s forum on public and student housing, both Wednesday of Week 3, and the Education Action Group’s staff and student protest against job and fee hikes on Wednesday of Week 4.
Week 1, Semester 1, 2021
We are your General Secretaries. We deal with the SRC budget, organise the SRC’s O-week stall, and help put together our application to the uni (begging) for funds, as well as sitting on committees, publicising the SRC, and helping student reps.
Entering USyd can be difficult. Administration is infamously centralised, course requirements notoriously difficult to pin down, and the website curiously free of any and all useful information. At the same time, things seem to be worsening with a rapid velocity.
Last year the government passed a bill which fucks over struggling students and increases the cost of many degrees. Student housing is only becoming less affordable, Uni Management continues to slash both costs and the quality of our education, and International students stuck overseas are still forced to pay outrageous fees at 3x the rate of domestic students. Navigating all of this on top of your studying, working and the rest of your life can be mind-numbingly frustrating and demoralising.
This is where the SRC comes in. We are composed of student representatives who fight for your interests. Come along to the rally against sexual assault held by the Women’s Collective (3rd March, midday, Eastern Av), or the forum on housing access held by the Welfare Collective (17th March, 4pm, Forest Lodge hotel) to learn about some of the issues we are working to address. We also have caseworkers and solicitors who can help you for free with issues like dealing with centrelink, tenancy issues, and police or court matters.
To talk to some of these lovely people, check out our Welcome Week Stall (in front of the Quad), where you can also pick up a tote bag, some goodies, and the Orientation Handbook we have made for you to help figure out what exactly this place you have committed 3+ years to actually is.
University looks different for everyone. We recommend physically coming into uni if you can, and joining a collective to get involved in the struggles happening around you. Whatever you do in your time here, the SRC is here to help you.