SRC 3 Liveblog
By Adelle Millhouse, Declan Milton, Anthony Lotric, Sam Wright, and Keeley Dickinson. Contributing reporting by Lottie Twyford and Helena Burke
We’re now onto our final business, appointing Aisling Arnould to the position of Department Officer. This is again a constitutional formality, and passes without debate.
The meeting closes.
The last motion, 8.10, concerns an interpretation, discussed earlier in the night, made about who counts as an undergraduate student under the ANUSA constitution. The interpretation was triggered by the suspension of the Honours Project of Clubs Council Discipline Clubs Branch Officer Heather Johnson. Johnson, being unable to continue her Honours Project and deferring study, is now no longer classified as a student, thanks to the General Secretary’s ruling that being an undergraduate student student requires “current enrollment in classes”.
According to Clubs Council Chair Jacob Howland, could limit ANUSA’s ability to provide support to many students, and lead to many currently-held leadership positions becoming vacant.
Howland proposes a motion for the SRC to:
- Note the interpretation of an ‘Undergraduate Student’ as requiring current enrolment in classes. This means that students on program leave are not considered to be undergraduate students
- Refer this interpretation to the Disputes Committee for consideration, on the basis that it constitutes a breach of section 20(3) of the Constitution which outlines that the Disputes Committee must consider the validity of resolutions calling for the dismissal of Representatives of the Association and must consider any allegations of a breach of this validity.
- Refer the question of whether the language or criteria for membership of ANUSA should be altered to the Governance Review Working Group.
- Require that the Working Group undertake consultation on this question and that they report on their progress on this matter regularly.
- Request that the Working Group then put forward a proposal for amendment of the Constitution to clarify the issue with the classification of an ‘undergraduate student’.
Motion 8.9 is moved by Panditharatne and concerns the recent ‘Covidsafe’ app released by The Australian Government. The motion will have ANUSA will provide information to students on both the privacy and security concerns about the app along with its potential benefits in the fight against COVID-19. ANUSA is concerned about the general intrusion from government tracking but will emphasise in its communication with students that it is an individual’s choice to download the app.
Panditharatne speaks to his motion. He apologizes for not consulting more broadly, but says that this was necessary given the tight timeline. He states that while ANUSA should give students information about the Covidsafe App, the decision as to whether they should download it should be entirely up to them. He claims that, despite some privacy concerns, it has the potential to be very good for public health.
Eville echoes Panditharatne’s points, states that he has downloaded it, and urges others to do so as well.
Motion 8.8 is moved by General Representative Ben Yates and concerns the investigative working groups created at a Gen Rep planning day during the mid-semester break. Yates emphasises that the working groups are “not an endorsement of any particular aim” and are “exploratory in nature”. The working groups also aim towards providing structure for gen reps at a time when most of their related projects have become redundant.
Proposed working groups include:
- The Kambri Tenancy Working Group, to investigate the possibility of ANUSA taking on tenancies in the Kambri precinct for commercial ventures and/or service provision, similar to PARSA’s bike shop.
- The Service Improvement Group, to liase and consult with ANU’s Service Improvement Group. This group will act as a consultancy for the University and is currently working on common issues cited by students through the ‘student experience accelerator’ project. Yates emphasises the group’s potential to “bypass” bureaucratic delays and develop a working relationship with ANUSA.
- The Arts Funding Working Group, to investigate the possibility of a dedicated body for arts funding, replacing the current Clubs Council model.
- to replace the current funding model through Clubs Council. The group will consult with relevant stakeholders and develop funding models designed for theatre, a centralised group for arts advocacy, and a body to retain institutional knowledge in the arts at ANU.
- The Campus Master Plan Working Group will monitor the implementation of the Campus Master Plan, ensuring that students’ best interests are being met.
- The Future of Course Representatives Working Group will investigate how to manage the course reps program for this year in light of the shift to online classes.
- The Off-Campus Working Group will investigate methods of representation, advocacy, and community engagement for off-campus students. This follows the unclear status of the Off-Campus Collective
Kenya moves a procedural for another speaker against the amendment. The procedural passes, allowing Gen Rep Nick Carlton to speak against the amendment. He says that it seems as if Eveille does not support the protesters because he disagrees with the substance of the motion as a member of the Labor Party. Carlton argues that the reason that police arrested the protesters is not social distancing, as incarcerated refugees are not able to abide social distancing rules, which seemed to be okay with the police. Additionally, the protesters were maintaining safe social distancing measures by remaining in their cars. He states that it appears to him to be a “targeted attempt by the Victorian Police to say that anyone who protests the mandatory detention of refugees will be punished”.
Wren Somerville again speaks to the motion. Somerville speaks further about the circumstances of the refugees, stating that “for a period of time”, refugees “weren’t even allowed access to soap”. He emphasises the manner in which the protest was carried out as abiding with social distancing, and adds that it is “outrageous” that social distancing laws are not being used to protect the refugees in the Mantra hotel, but rather used against protesters.
Kenya speaks for the motion. She calls the Victorian Police a “violent gang of thugs”, and emphasises that the protest complied with social distancing. She claims that one woman, who was not even attending the protest, was fined, and claims that the Victorian police have a ‘track record” of “smashing protests into the ground”.
Nobody speaks against the motion.
Wren exercises his right of reply, stating that the nature of the “capitalist society” means that protesting is essential, and must be maintained in “all sectors”. He says that “in these times we are seeing a way…to continue to protest in a modified way”.
Motion 8.6 passes.
There is a procedural for a 10 minute break. This passes.
Motion 8.6 is moved by non-SRC member Wren Somerville and concerns the “refugees who are being imprisoned in unsafe conditions and degrading conditions in the Mantra hotel in Melbourne.” In response to this, protests and other acts of activism took place, which saw protestors being fined “a total of nearly fifty thousand dollars”. If passed, the motion will see ANUSA condemn the treatment of refugees in the Mantra Hotel, support the protests and activism that has taken place as a response, and demand that the refugees be “immediately released from detention, and allowed to live in the community.” The motion will also see ANUSA condemn the Victorian Police for fining activists.
James Eveille moves an amendment to remove the support for protesters, and condemnation of the police who fined them, from the motion. He argues that there has been a necessity for police to enforce the “health directive of the Victorian health department” regarding social distancing, but wants to make clear that he is not opposed to the motion.
Wren Somerville speaks against the amendment. He argues that it is an act of “hypocrisy” by the police to fine activists who, he asserts, were abiding by social distancing rules. He adds that removing support for the activists takes out the major content of the motion.
Howland says that the reason he is bringing this issue to SRC is because of the broader implications such a decision may have, using the example of not being an ANUSA member means he could not be on the SRC Zoom call.
The motion passes.
An amendment is proposed by Panditharatne. He states that it is too early to refer this matter to disputes, as there are other mechanisms which can be used to deal with the issue.
Clubs Council Chair Jacob Howland speaks against this amendment arguing that, “unless he is horribly mistaken”, a discussion of this nature could take place at the AGM, but a change could not, unless through a constitutional amendment. Howland says going to the executive was a decision he made given that he believes the executive have a high level of solidarity.
Heslington speaks for the amendment and says that she understands why the issue was brought to the executive, but that she does not like the idea of the SRC deciding if an interpretation is valid.
The amendment moves to a vote, and passes.
Environment Officer Grace Hill moves a procedural to replace point 4 of the motion’s platform – which currently states “ANUSA supports the NTEUs action in fighting for the rights of its members for fair treatment at this time” – with “ANUSA supports NTEU members fighting back against cuts to pay, conditions and jobs, and condemns university management’s calls for cuts to pay, conditions and jobs”. Heslington asks if anyone dissents the amendment. There is no dissent, and so the amendment is added to the motion.
Li proposes an amendment to change the language regarding “indefinite extensions” of international students visas, to “including extensions of their visas within reason”. Li speaks to this amendment, stating that student visas can never be indefinite and rejects this claim. Li says extending the visa to the time of degree completion makes more sense as the previous version “was not realistic”. Hill speaks against the amendment questioning who is to decide what is “within reason”. For international students who have exhausted their visa and have to reapply, Hill defends keeping “indefinite extension” so they do not have to keep re-applying.
Eveille agrees with many of Hill’s points but states that immigration law points differently and we “cannot make our own statement”. Education Officer Skanda Panditharatne states that “ANUSA should support international students staying as long as they want”, which he justifies on the basis that he believes in open borders. Gen Rep Aryanne Caminschi asks whether international students were consulted before Hill wrote her amendment. Hill admits that she did not consult the International Students’ Officer, but has spoken to many students. Li adds a point of clarification that he collaborated with the International Officer on his motion. We move to a vote on the amendment. The amendment passes.
Zoe Ranganathan speaks for the motion as a whole. She affirms the importance of bringing attention to cuts to any section of the University, and to the pay of academics of other essential staff that keep the University running. Ranganathan states that to oppose these cuts “we have to be the strongest collective we can”. Hill now speaks to the motion saying that the “whole funding model to universities has been upended” adding “that these are existential threats to universities”. Citing La Trobe University’s refusal to accept cuts, she states that the strategy that should be undertaken is not to accept concessions of potentially 20% cuts. We move to a vote on motion 8.4 and 8.5. It passes.
Ben Yates speaks to the motion as a whole, stating that a lot of the Gen Rep roles are redundant now that campus has been closed. Yates admits that they have not consulted with Clubs Council, but generally echoes what Yates said, stating that Gen Reps are keen to work collectively to address issues on a larger scale.
Day moves a procedural for five minutes of question time. This passes.
Day thanks Wicks and Yates for their work, but says that he is confused, as that the motion appears to be a little bit opposed to its intentions. Day asks why the membership is restricted by the Chair, if the point is to hear from people who do not necessarily agree with them. Yates clarifies that membership of each group that these groups will not be not restricted to Gen Reps long term, but they will be used as relatively informed people to “get the ball rolling”. Wicks adds that if they formally invite people, it will make the process more professional and will allow people to have more structured answers and ideas.
Howland says that it is very difficult for people to get the attention of people within the University. He asks how do they think getting the University’s attention will go for Gen Reps. Wicks says that there has been quite a shift in the services management group and that he has a “great connection with SIG [The Service Improvement Group]”.
Question time elapses, and we move to a vote. The motion passes.
Motions 8.4 and 8.5, which both concern solidarity with ANU staff during the COVID-19 crisis, will also be moved on bloc.
Motion 8.4 was moved by Disabilities Officer Zoe Ranganathan and seconded by General Representative Ben Yates, both of whom are affiliated with Labor Left. The motion’s preamble details the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Australian Universities and claims that “most of the financial burden” has been placed on staff “through cuts to jobs, wages [and] increased casualisation”. It also highlights the potentially disproportionate impact on arts and humanities faculties from a sector-wide restructure based on enrolment revenue.
The motion would call for ANUSA to publish a statement, in support of academic and non-academic staff against these cuts. It also suggests cooperating with the ANU National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) branch “where possible to the mutual benefit of staff and students” who are affected.
Motion 8.4, meanwhile, was moved by Environment Officer Grace Hill, a member of the Socialist Alternative. It claims that “we are facing the university restructure from hell” as a result of the financial impacts of COVID-19. In light of this remark, it is similar to the preceding motion and calls for ANUSA to condemn “the cost of budget shortfalls”, caused by the crisis, being forced onto staff and students. It would go further by committing ANUSA to call on the government for an unconditional bail-out for the higher education. The motion also hopes to commit ANUSA to fight against cuts to “funding, jobs, courses or pay” at ANU and also “extend solidarity and support” to students and staff doing the same on other university campuses.
Furthermore, the motion claims that for decades international students have been exploited by high tuition fees to make up “the government imposed short-fall in funding”. Hence, the motion calls for ANUSA to support international students during this crisis by demanding the government give them equal access to welfare and healthcare, and particularly an indefinite extension of visas.
Amendment moved by Panditharatne to remove a section about the creation of an Arts Funding Working Group. He says that “working groups are generally a good idea”, but he also says that he has an issue with this one in particular as it “infringes on the work of the Clubs Council”.
Several members of the Clubs Council Executive speak for this amendment, stating that this should occur in partnership with the Clubs Council.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Zoe Ranganathan speaks against the amendment, saying that there needs to be “something” for Arts students and that there is a “large amount of scope” for an arts council.
The amendment does not pass.
Motions 8.2 and 8.3, which both concern Proctorio, are to be moved on bloc.
The motions would have ANUSA endorse the No Proctorio campaign in addition to generally opposing the use of Proctorio at ANU. It also notes that thousands have signed the petition against the University’s use of the software, and that many students, rather than a “small group” of them, oppose its implementation. Furthermore, it expects that the University will arrange alternative arrangements to digitally invigilated exams.
SAlt member, and non-SRC member Kenya Matsebula exercises her speaking rights. She states that the only territory on which the ANU is giving ground is on “logistical concerns”, and that more fundamental concerns about it are “not taken as valid” by the University. She asserts that the fact that so many students do not want it to be used, “should be enough, period” for it to be abandoned.
A procedural from Disabilities Officer Zoe Ranganathan to ask a question is then passed. She asks Pandatharatne whether he consulted with the relevant departments, particularly the Women’s department, about the motion. Panditharatne apologises for not consulting relevant departments, says there was little time. He clarifies that the intent of the motion is “specifically to talk about the student partnership side of things” which he states he believes is an SRC-wide issue
Panditharatne also exercises his speaking rights as a seconder. He states that his main concern is the lack of consultation from ANU at every stage of the roll-out of Proctorio. He ‘various issues’ noted in the motion’s preamble means he is ‘doubtful’ the university ‘appreciates the fact they have missed the voice…of a number of students…is not cognisant of the fact that students overwhelmingly have a problem with proctorio… [this is why] I used some pretty strong language in this motion to address the relevant bodies involved”
Matsebula exercises her right of reply. “ANU has behaved in a pretty slimy way…consultations…have been disingenuous… in the pursuit of profit in this crisis”. She states that “students should have a say in their education, it’s that simple”, and that it is “appalling” that the uni has attempted to dismiss this as unreasonable. She wraps up by stating that “the interest of capital accumulation is adverse to the interests of students”
The motion (8.2 and 8.3 on bloc) moves to a vote. The motion passes.
Di Donato speaks to his motion. Following SRC 7 last year, Gen Reps were surveyed about their experience presenting their reports, with the consensus that it was “a rewarding experience”. However, it was made clear that every Gen Rep writing an individual report led to an “a unhealthy comparison between gen reps”, which this motion, with its joint reporting hopes to address. He concludes by explaining the “broad nature” of the motion stating that it doesn’t have a strict procedure to be followed.
Fellow Gen Rep Ben Yates seconds the motion, highlighting Cahill’s “diligence with working with the Gen Rep’s” stating that the “rationale behind [the motion] is good”.
The motion moves to a vote and passes.
Motion 8.1 is moved by General Secretary Taylor Heslington, and has the SRC confirm the creation of the 2020 Honoraria Committee. The members will be the President, the Treasurer, a Department Officer, a College Representative and a General Representative. Prospective committee members must submit their applications for review by the General Secretary and Social Officer within one week of the application form’s release.The Committee’s recommendations for honoraria will be presented to the SRC at SRC 4. A total of ,000 will be allocated amongst nominated ANUSA ordinary members or elected representatives, but no more than ,000 per individual. Honoraria nomination forms will be available to download from the ANUSA Facebook page and should be submitted to [email protected] by 8pm on 13 May.
This is all essentially a constitutional formality, so the question is ‘put’, avoiding any discussion.
The motion passes.
Motion 8.7 is moved by General Rep Cahill Di Donato and concerns the submitting of reports by General Representatives for ANUSA SRC. In SRC 5 of 2019, a motion was moved to all 14 General Representatives of the SRC to provide a written report for the following SRC. The Motion argues that this was “generally considered a success” but that an issue did arise which was that individual reports “created an unhealthy comparison of work between General Representatives”. To avoid this, tonight’s motion suggests a “combined” report written by all General Representatives. If passed, this Motion will see that Gen Reps will submit a collective report to SRC 4 and SRC 8 in the future.
Now onto elections. There are a number of positions open on the dispute resolution committee, as it is currently empty. There are two nominees: Kevin Tanaya and Dominic Harvey-Taylor.
Kevin Tanaya now makes his speech for nomination to the disputes committee. Tanaya is running for reelection and says that he is “quite satisfied” with how the committee has conducted itself. Tanaya also says that one of the issues was a lack of people, saying that unfortunately the committee is now down from five members to just two.
Dominic Harvey-Taylor also speaks as a nominee. He states that he is interested in the role because of his interest in dispute resolution. He cites the fact that he is not a member of any departments as making him more impartial if there were any disagreements between them.
Former Observer editor and Clubs Council Secretary Jason Pover asks whether the disputes committee will be able to be “collegial” considering that it is designed for five members, rather than two. Harvey-Taylor state that he will assist at future meetings to open up more positions so that the other vacancies can be filled. Tanaya says that he thinks Harvey-Taylor is a reasonable person, and that they will be able to work it out if there is a deadlock in decision making.
Day asks a question about the importance of the disputes committee in the day to day operation of ANUSA. Tanaya and Harvey-Taylor clarify that they understand the committee’s function in working with the General Secretary with regards to interpretations they have made.
Clubs Council Chair Jacob Howland asks what their view is regarding using legal advice in making determinations on the disputes committee. Tanaya replies that while legal advice is important, “it shouldn’t dictate” their decision making. Harvey-Taylor agrees.
Pover asks how the nominees would deal with conflicts of interest when they are on the committee. Harvey-Taylor replied that he has no good answer, and would have check with the rest of the committee. Tanaya asserts that the “appropriate response if you have a conflict of interest is refusal”, but clarifies that this is up to the discretion of the individual disputes committee member whether they recuse themselves.
There is a procedural to move the SRC to a Zoom breakout room for anonymous voting. The procedural passes. Both nominees are accepted onto the disputes committee. Heslington returns members from the breakout room. Both Tanaya and Harvey-Taylor are elected.
We then move to a ten-minute break.
Clubs Council Chair Jacob Howland takes his report as read, and gives his apologies for submitting late. 72 clubs have been successfully re-affiliated, with approximately another 30 pending, and 3 new affiliations. A number of Clubs Council Executive members have returned to “a more normal level of capacity to perform their functions”, and the Discipline Clubs Branch Officer Position is vacant. There is nothing to report from the governance review working group; notes that many of the reservations from ANUSA regarding the governance review expressed at SRC 1 were “kind of jarring” for himself and others who had worked on the review. He states that this speaks to the broader failure of “people who care about governance in ANUSA”, himself included, and hopes to do better going forwards.
States that the funding application system should now be available to “all successfully re-affiliated clubs”, and that be believes ten to twelve thousand dollars’ worth of grants has so far been submitted, with about three thousand paid out. He apologises for delays related to funding, but states that these should “now be broadly resolved”.
Ethnocultural Officer Zenia Vasaiwalla now speaks to her report. She begins with a summary of completed projects which included the release of a “COVID-19 resource document” in partnership with the International Students Department and the Disabilities Student Association. The document was particularly targeted at providing relevant information to “international students, migrants and refugees, indigenous students and other people of colour”. Vasaiwalla then summarises a number of ongoing or forthcoming online events but reiterates that the status of the ‘Ethnocultural Revue’ is still uncertain, although creative work is still being undertaken.
Vasaiwalla notes the rise in COVID related racism, citing it was “quite disappointing” and urging people to report their experiences. The Ethnocultural Department will post an anonymous portal for people to provide their experiences. The department has also worked with the Asian Australian Alliance on this issue.
Environment Officer Grace Hill now speaks to her report. The report begins by discussing the economic implications of the COVID crisis, and highlights government policies and developments that “6 months ago would have seemed impossible [but] are now a reality”, like raises to welfare payments and the implementation of free childcare . Hill then examines the impact of COVID on the higher education sector, noting that Universities Australia predicts 21,000 job losses. Warning against what has happened to staff at courses at universities across Australia, the report states that “we must be prepared when we see similar measures at ANU”. Hill goes on to say that “we might see deregulation back on the table” in regard to the University.
Moving onto environmental politics, Hill highlights QLD Labour’s approval of the b Surat Gas Project. Hill criticised the idea that the crisis has seen a slowdown in “environmental destruction” stating that “protesting for the climate is now more important than ever”. Hill also says that “there has been a lot of argument that the Earth is healing itself now that people aren’t going around their everyday activities…this is rubbish.”
Conceding that climate activism may not draw much attention online right now, Hill talks of her contributions to the ‘No Proctorio Campaign’ which she says has almost 400 signatures, citing her involvement in organising the campaign meeting and starting the petition. She has also encouraged members of the Environmental Collective to have their voices heard in the campaign against Proctorio. Speaking of the University response to the Campaign, Hill says that “it has been bad”.
Hill’s report concludes by highlighting the May 15 digital climate strike and plans for an EC online forum at some point in the year. No expenses have been accrued since the last SRC.
In response to Hill’s report, Gen Rep Nick Carlton asks whether Hill foresees larger fossil fuel companies buying up smaller companies that have folded due to the COVID crisis? Hill replies by stating that this “speaks to the irrationality of the market…and global capitalist competition”. Hill goes on to express concern over the approval of mining operations in Western Australia and that people should be prepared for the impact this will have.
Ranganathan takes her report as read. She then directs attention towards the work of the Gradwise program, which puts people with disabilities in contact with a counselor to help them find jobs after uni.She states that her department is currently working on a disability action plan. She explain that this will allow the department to meaure the University’s progress on disability issues so that they can them to a “higher stand to make things accessible for years to come”. Further, she echoes Jin sentiments that her department has a lot of money but few ways to spend it during this crisis. She asks for suggestions from students on how this money can be used.She also clarifies that the launch of the online disability learning project has been pushed to Semester Two because of the pandemic.
Disabilities Officer Zoe Ranganathan now speaks to her report. The report opens by noting that online attendance to events has been low. She reminds students of the definitional qualities of having a disability, and that people shouldn’t feel as though “they are not disabled enough” to be a part of the community.
Ranganathan states that the ANUSA Disability Action Plan Committee has been formed and will run its first meeting today. The Mental Health Committee has not been able to convene due to Coronavirus commitments.
The report moves on to discuss recent advocacy campaigns. Ranganathan has updated the wording of the four demands in The Remote Access Learning Campaign. Specifically, the campaign pushes for “a mandatory alternative to participation marks”, “greater awareness for online Access and Inclusion appointments” and a push for “counselling and NHC psychology appointments to be available online”.
Ranganathan also wishes to continue her investigation into the switch from the Campus Link Service to the Campus Traveller Service when in person classes resume. Work with Access and Inclusion has pushed for the restarting of frequent newsletters. Ranganathan moves on to discuss creating an ANUSA Disability Action Plan Framework to streamline discrepancies in policy between different departments across ANU. Ranganathan then condemns the universities approach in regards to Proctorio, given its effect on disabled students – “Students with a disability who have serious concerns about their physical disability being filmed”. The department has also been in close contact with ‘Accessibility and Employability’ to advance graduate opportunities for people with disabilities, including launching a Neurodiversity Hub in the coming weeks.
Ranganathan moves on to discussing collaborations with other members of the ANU community. The DSA has worked with the ISD to improve resources for international students with a disability. Ranganathan has also been in contact with Wamburan and Bruce Hall to create Disability Advocate positions in all residential halls for 2021.
The report concludes by stating that final expenditure cannot be released since it requires an in person bank meeting.
International Students’ Officer L. C. Yip is not present, but has submitted a report. The report begins by stating that the past month has mostly been dedicated to individual student assistance given the impacts of COVID-19. Yip has received a ‘drastic increase’ in reports of on-campus racism, and states that “this has been a difficult and trying time for all”, and as a result supporting one another is essential. She states that racism is never acceptable, and calls for anyone who has experienced it on-campus to reach out to her via [email protected]. Next steps for supporting individual students were discussed in the collective meeting on 24th April.
Yip has put ‘a couple’ of projects on hold due to the crisis; including International Student engagement and the pastoral care model in residential halls, and working with the ANUSA VP and the Disabilities Officer on increasing support for International Students across ANU services. She hopes to follow these up in the winter break.
The ISD and Ethnocultural Department have published a resource document for ‘culturally and linguistically diverse groups’ vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.
The ISD has online events and plans for online engagement in the works, including infographics, and a pen pals and ‘shut up and write’ event. There has been no spending since the last financial report, and Yip has worked on average 22 hours per week from 21st March to 20th April.
Interim Queer* Officer Aisling Arnould now speaks to her report. She begins by thanking her predecessor Shivali Trivedi for “all the work that she put in as Officer”. Arnould will be official appointed as Queer* Officer in this SRC meeting.
Arnould states that the Department has been transferring to online events, and has established a Discord server and “large group chat” to facilitate this process. Community Coordinator, Luca, has been looking at digital movie and board games nights, and the Department is considering expanding the number of autonomous groups within it.
The Department has movied its campaign against the Religious Discrimination Bill to Semester 2, since Parliament has been adjourned until August – they are, however, looking at producing two zines for the campaign.
A design competition for the new Department logo commenced at the Collective meeting on the 28th April, and will run for 2 weeks. The logo will feature on digital platforms and merch. The Department will also be sending a delegation to the online edition of Queer Collaborations, the national conference for Queer* students in Australia.
Women’s Officer Siang Jin Law presents her report. Law writes that the Respectful Relationships Unit (RRU) has been running online consultation on the Sexual Violence Prevention Stategy (SVPS) via Zoom. Law also states that she had received ‘a number of pastoral care incidences’ that have been “passed on to appropriate channels.” She adds that she has been posting support resources online, and acknowledges that the past weeks “have been an incredibly difficult time”.Law notes the controversial student code of conduct and expresses her disappointment to “how the university has used it against students”. She states that this is a project which has taken years to develop and admits that it is now about “trying to move forward from the difficult relationship with them”. She summarises the conduct has a piece “made for students by students”.
Clubs Council Secretary Jordan congratulates Law on the creation of the student code of conduct describing it as a “fundamentally great thing”. She asks if the University’s use of the Code against students will impact future activism on the subject. Law responds that these actions will likely make activists not want to work on it anymore. Law also asks the SRC for ideas as to what to do with a freed up k due to the National Organisation of Women Students being postponed.
CW: brief discussions of sexual assault and harassment, domestic violence
Women’s Officer Siang Jin Law presents her report.
Law begins her report by reflecting on the Women’s Department’s #WDStaysHome initiative, which aims to keep members connected online through social media. She writes that there has been a lot of engagement with Facebook threads, blog posts and Instagram takeovers, and that members ‘have been enjoying the sense of community created through these posts’. The Women’s Department has also hosted events online, with a virtual movie night, and weekly ‘Women* in STEM’ coffee catch-ups over Zoom, in collaboration with the ANU Science Society.
In terms of ongoing projects, Law writes that the Respectful Relationships Unit (RRU) has been running online consultation on the Sexual Violence Prevention Stategy (SVPS) via Zoom. Law encourages students who are interested in making submissions to do so on this SurveyMonkey form, while information on the April consultation sessions can be found here. She also reports that she is working on “creating a nationwide resource pool for people dealing with domestic violence or family violence”. At the previous SRC, she had indicated her intention to provide greater support in that area, as she expected a rise in family violence related disclosures during the quarantine period.
Law says that the organisation of the Sex and Sexuality Campaign is “in full force”, and that the organisation of a panel on “the concept of sexuality through a critical lens” is underway, with some “really exciting panellists” lined up.
Law also provided an update on the Women’s Revue, which is “still on track” for performance in August, depending on whether social restrictions will still be in place. The name for this year’s show will likely be unveiled “within the next fortnight”.
Law also notes that the Student Code of Conduct was recently passed by the Academic Board, and is “likely” to be passed by the Senior Manage Group. She states that the Student Code of Conduct may be passed this year, provided that there are no additional disruptions to the process. The Student Code of Conduct has been delayed over the past two year, along with other SASH initiatives like the online reporting tool, which was officially implemented earlier this year. The Code of Conduct was the subject of controversy when Deputy Vice-Chancellor Grady Venville recently described the actions of students involved in the ‘No Proctorio at ANU’ campaign as a “clear breach” of the student code of conduct. Law states that, “like most of the student body, the Women’s Department and our collective are staunchly against” the use of the invigilation platform Proctorio. Along with issues of privacy and security, Law says that the Department is concerned that it will be “inaccessible and discriminatory for many of [the Department’s] members.”
Law states that she had received ‘a number of pastoral care incidences’ that have been “passed on to appropriate channels.” She adds that she has been posting support resources online, and acknowledges that the past weeks “have been an incredibly difficult time”.
We move another a procedural to have all the Department Officer’s reports passed on bloc.
Indigenous Officer Maddie Crowe is absent and has not submitted a report.
Social Officer Sophie Jaggar delivers her report. Jaggar reports that she has been working with the ANUSA Communications Officer to reach out to clubs and societies for potential collaboration with ANUSA for online events during quarantine. She expects that events will be up on the ANUSA Facebook page in the coming week, and encourages students to stay engaged with clubs and societies, so that they can be updated on events. Jaggar also provided an update on the progress of the ANUSA Social Committee Facebook page, which was being set up at the time of report writing – she writes that she hopes to provide a further update at SRC. The Social Officer works with the Social Committee to organise events like O-Week and Bush Week throughout the year.
On the topic of the 2020 Bush Week, however, Jaggar reports that she has not received any more updates on the ‘feasibility’ of Bush Week and Clubs Ball, which both take place in Semester 2. Jaggar says that she is considering a start on planning for an online bush Beek, and will keep SRC updated.
Looking back on this year’s O-Week and Friday Night Party, Jaggar writes that she believes that the organisers were able to overcome ‘the perception of the event from previous years’ – at the 2019 FNP, attendees were faced with long queues and inadequate toilets on site. She said that she has received ‘a lot of positive feedback [from] people who want to come to the event again next year’. Jaggar believes that the FNP will help to “increase ANUSA’s profit margin” and make “substantial profits” in the future, as both first years and returners from previous years will attend the event.
Jaggar takes her report as read and begins by announcing that the Social Committee has been launched on Facebook. Jaggar says that she does “already have a couple of things in the works” and says that she “highly encourage(s)” people to join the Social Committee.
ANUSA Treasurer Maddy Wang will now speak to her report, which she takes mostly as read. In it, she states that ANUSA has received its invoice for its third SAFF instalment. Wang also reports that there are three COVID-19 grants yet to be paid by ANU which come to a total of 5,000. Wang also notes that she and the ANUSA Social officer Sophie Jaggar are following up debts from O-Week and the Friday Night Party. There are no questions to the ANUSA treasurer.
Wang also says that she is currently researching sponsorship guidelines from “various Australian universities” in order for ANUSA to devise their own. Consequently, Wang says she has decided to structure ANUSA’s sponsorship guidelines on the ‘UMSU Ethical Sponsorship and Advertising Policy’, which will be presented to the Executive and then to a committee at next SRC. This follows a controversy surrounding ANUSA’s choice of a property developer as an O-Week sponsor.
Heslington takes her report as read, and then clarifies a few matters of interpretation and updatse the SRC on the Governance Review.
Heslington states that she was referred to make an interpretation concerning section 2.1, and section 5 of the ANUSA Constitution, concerning what constitutes an undergraduate student. She clarifies her interpretative process, stating that the first step in the interpretive process is looking to the plain words of the section, and the second is then to consider the intentions of the parties. Her interpretation was based on breaking up the relevant sections into two: a) that someone is enrolled in a course or unit of study, and b) that they are enrolled in a program. She accordingly interprets the latter part to mean any form of study that is not a formal unit. This interpretation concerned the Clubs Council, and will be spoken about more later this evening.
She then updates the SRC on the progress of the Governance Review working group. She states that the feedback she has received from officers will be reviewed at their next meeting in a few weeks, as people are preoccupied by other matters at the moment.
ANUSA General Secretary Taylor Heslington now speaks to her report. Heslington welcomes everyone to SRC 3 and says that planning is underway for elections this year. Though still in the beginning phases, Heslington says she started putting a timeline together and asks that people wait for the election updates that will take place in each SRC before they ask questions. Following Shivali Trivedi’s resignation as Queer* Officer, Heslington says she is in the process of following the constitutional requirements for a Department Officer vacancy.
As for 2020 projects, Heslington says that the Governance Review Working Group met on 28 April and that she has begun work on an “interpretation register” with her own interpretations from the past year. In the first Ordinary General Meeting a motion was passed to create an Elections Regulations Working Group. Heslington says that this Working Group will have its first meeting announced soon.
Panditharatne takes his report mostly as read. He flags the comment in his report about the ongoing issues of wage theft in the university and encourages victims to seek out support. He commends Observer for their recent wage theft reports. Panditharatne flags his frustration with ANU’s response to the Proctorio issue, and states that there is a Q&A with the Vice-Chancellor this friday. He encourages students to come along if they have feedback or questions about Proctorio. Panditharatne says he appreciates the op-eds in Woroni this week. There are no questions.
Education Officer Skanda Panditharatne now speaks to his report. He starts by thanking those involved in assisting students who are affected by COVID-19 and reiterates that ANUSA is ready to support those in need. Moving on, Panditharatne gives an update on the Proctorio situation, stating that he is disappointed with the way the ANU has handled the student response to Proctorio’s implementation. He does note, however, his admiration for students who have spoken out and encourages the ANU administration to listen to the protests. Panditharatne has created an email template and a google form collating convener responses when they are asked about their use of Proctorio along with a variety of other measures to ensure that there is a continued discourse with the university.
Panditharatne thanks the Education Committee for their continued hard work and announces that the EdComm scheduled for the 28/04 will not be taking place but the next one will continue as normal. He goes on to acknowledge the continued investigation into wage theft at the ANU and encourages anyone who has experienced wage theft and other mistreatment at the university to email ANUSA or the Young Workers Centre and join their relevant unions. Panditharatne goes over budgetary related news and states that no money has been spent since the last SRC.
Lastly, Panditharatne lists various Key Performance Indicators that he has set for himself during his time as Education Officer, ranging from activism to direct consultation with the ANU and provides an update on how each is progressing.
CW: sexual assault and harassment, family violence, domestic violence, mental health
Vice President Madhu Janagaraja now speaks to her report. She begins by mentioning that much of her work over the last month has been due to her place on the ANU Teaching Continuity Committee as weak as handling student assistance cases and individual student support. Of course, requests for assistance have greatly increased due to the situation and because many services across campus are at full capacity.
She implores people to get in contact with ANUSA if they experience any financial or academic difficulty as they are always there to help. She offers her congratulations for the grassroots activism from clubs and societies, ANUSA gen-reps and the environment collective. She also expresses her thanks to Lachy and other reps and students who have supported her through a difficult and frustrating time.
The bulk of her report covers ANUSA’s academic advocacy work. Several major changes include the cancellation/postponement of July 2020 graduation ceremonies, postponing identification and awarding of University Medals until the second half of 2020, halting the unresolved grades process for 2020 for results from second semester 2019 and terms in 2020 and putting on hold the degree transfer process review for 2020. Whilst it has not been possible to secure a standardised census date for Autumn and Winter Courses because of the variation in start dates, it has been agreed to treat post-census date drops for Autumn courses generously.
ANUSA is continuing to advocate that all fail grades from this semester be excluded from GPA calculations. The opportunity to opt into the CRS/NCN grading system is available to coursework students and they will be able to do it within a period of one or two weeks after the release of results. It is her understanding that students are not required to do anything other than opt-in with a formal notice of intention. Students are also now able to apply for extensions on assessment with minimal documentation and Colleges have been encouraged to adopt leniency when granting extension requests.
Regarding Proctorio, she reiterates that ANUSA remains disappointed by the response of the ANU, particularly implying that genuine student consultation has occurred in the decision to use Proctorio.
She expresses that it has been unfortunate that she has not been able to focus more time on the activities of the ANUSA Mental Health Committee, but they are starting a few initiatives ahead of University Mental Health Day on May 5. She asks any who are keen to get involved to get in contact with her.
In terms of SASH, the Universities Australia survey has been postponed. However, she does have positive news, that the code of conduct has passed the academic board and is waiting on further approval before becoming an ANU policy. The Respectful Relationships working group is continuing advocacy for those students who are currently not in safe situations at home.
Janagaraja takes her report as read and flags that there has been an influx in the amount of cases of students requiring assistance. The majority of these cases seem to be academic-related. There are no questions.
Environment Officer Grace Hill asks Day a question regarding an estimated timeline as to when the university will re-open. He replies that “discussions haven’t turned to dates”, but will “follow government advice”. Day also understands that the ANU will look at Workplace Health and Safety, to decide when everyone can safely return to campus.
A procedural is moved to vote on all Executive reports on bloc, so we move now to the Vice President’s report.
We move now to ANUSA President Lachy Day, who will now speak to his report. Day congratulates Education Officer Skanda Panditharatne, ANUSA Environmental Officer Grace Hill, and anyone else involved in the “Proctorio fight”. Day also congratulates former Queer* Officer Shivali Trivedi for her work.
In his report, Day flags that, ANUSA has not yet received any information as to when the University campus might reopen. Students whose ID cards have expired have been denied access to Chifley Library. Day says that he has been trying to get in contact with ANU Libraries and Security to “find a compromise, which upholds safety standards while still allowing students who need access for equity reasons.”
ANUSA was given five hundred thousand dollars by ANU for emergency grants in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Day says that this money is running out and that further funding will be necessary to provide financial support to students in need. ANU Advancement intends to fundraise during the ANU tax appeal. Day says that he will try to get some of the money raised to be allocated to ANUSA, since ANUSA has “proven through the crisis that we [ANUSA] are able to quickly distribute to students.” Day goes on to say that ANU Accommodation Bursaries are open to domestic undergraduate students and that accommodation has been opened on a “case by case basis” to students who have no alternative.
And we’re back for the third SRC of the year!
Fewer reps have opted for virtual backgrounds this time around – shout out to VP Madhu Janagaraja for her continuing commitment to Animal Crossing.
There’s some slight drama as a rep is unable to find the ‘raise hand’ button, and is named for course language.