Kelly Chen, Holly Hayne, Enrong (Annie) Zhao, Shailene Wei
Week 5, Semester 2, 2020
Since the beginning of COVID-19, everyone’s been having a hard time. The pandemic has made the collective’s activism exceptionally difficult. This is especially shown in the fight against the radical changes in tuition fee and staff cuts. However, we are still fighting hard against those issues. We actively participate in strikes and publish related info through social media.
Moreover, since we also have international student as a part of Global Solidarity Office, we are also devoting effort to make international student life better under COVID-19. We got in contact with an NGO called ‘1 for the World’ aiming to fight to eradicate extreme poverty through student leadership. We got many online meetings and still discussing the feasible way to collaborate. Additionally, we individually looked after international students through online contact to make sure both their physical and mental health are well.
In short, we will continue work on issues that affect students and issues that students care about. We will continue to fight the recent staff cuts and tuition fee reform, and we will keep assisting international students as they are been heavily and negatively impacted by the current global environment and yet not given enough care by the University and the government.
Week 1, Semester 2, 2020
This year as Global Solidarity office bearer I have spent many hours building activist campaigns for social and environmental justice on and off campus. In Feb-March I helped organise a number of climate protests, including the occupation of the Sofitel foyer, the venue set to host the ‘Future of Mining’ Conference that we planned on blockading. When the pandemic hit I campaigned alongside other activists for schools and workplaces to close because it’s clear that the government is prepared to sacrifice human life to preserve the profits of business. The recession has unleashed an agenda of class-war from the rich and powerful, who are determined to push the costs of this crisis onto ordinary people. In higher education this has meant the hiking of fees, mass staff layoffs, course cuts, and attacks on HELP loan access. It is likely that the university will roll out even more attacks in the coming weeks and months with the recent news that up to 30% of Arts and Social Sciences full-time staff could be given the sack!
The mass, multi-racial Black Lives Matter uprising that has swept the United States has done more to challenge racism than decades of electing black Democratic politicians. The Biden campaign and ex-cop Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris is a slap in the face to every protester that has risked their life fighting militarised police in pursuit of justice. In Sydney, the BLM solidarity protest of 50,000 (despite the government ban) was a historic moment in the fight against the oppression of Indigenous people. Office bearer or not I will continue to fight for justice in the face of inequality and oppression. Make sure you’re coming to the next rally to defend our education at 1pm Fisher Library on Friday August 28th!
Students' Representative Council, University of Sydney