By Madeleine McDonald
If you’ve been too busy stockpiling food and toilet paper, here is the news you might have missed.
ANU announced on Friday that all public events and social gatherings will be cancelled until the end of semester one. This comes after a case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the ACT. ANU has defined ‘events’ as any non-essential activity. The majority of lectures and tutorials will continue for the meantime. However, the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) has advised lecturers to be prepared to teach courses online. Several courses will be taught online, starting from this week.
The Canberra Young Workers Centre’s report into wage theft at ANU revealed that 77% of surveyed workers on campus have experienced some form of wage theft. Students were invited to voice their experiences of wage theft at ANU at the Workers’ Forum on Wednesday, which was organised by Unions ACT.
ANU has been reluctant to act on the issue, stating that it “[does] not have the legal authority” to regulate the businesses. This is despite pressure from the Young Workers Centre to introduce an audit process for all businesses operating on campus. A spokesperson from the University stated that ANU will be hosting regular forums to “discuss the issues raised in the report” and will be conducting examinations of its lease agreements with current vendors.
On Friday 13 March, ANU students took part in a National Day of Climate Action. The Strike, which was organised by Canberra Uni Students for Climate Action, ANUSA and the ANU Environment Collective, called for a shut down of Australia’s fossil fuel industry and support for Indigenous sovereignty. More protests are planned throughout the rest of 2020, including a national strike organised by School Strike 4 Climate.
The ANUSA Governance Review, which is not yet publicly available, was discussed at SRC 1. The Review outlines a number of recommended changes to the structure of ANUSA. These changes include an overhaul of the Disputes Committee and changes to the size of the SRC. A motion was passed at SRC 1 to create a Governance Review Working Group, which will draft the required constitutional changes after internal consultation – this process will likely take until July.
ANUSA’s first Mental Health Committee Meeting took place on Friday. The new Committee has been formed to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health through running information campaigns and promoting structural changes to support students suffering from mental health issues.
ANUSA Migration Workshops have recommenced, with the first taking place on Thursday. The workshops, run by the ANUSA lawyer, provide assistance to students applying for the temporary graduate visa or for permanent skilled migration.
The spread of COVID-19 is expected to significantly impact travel, as PM Scott Morrison announced that all people entering Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This decision was made shortly after New Zealand announced that it would be quarantining people for a period of two weeks upon entry into the country.
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