October and the start of November have been a busy time for the NUS Books Not Bombs campaign, and I participated in a bunch of rallies and events alongside other students.
Also, this October a couple of discussions and meetings with pro vice chancellor Joanne Cys and Program Director of the Bachelor of Arts Jonathan Crichton were able to confirm that two courses with significant ATSI content (HUMS 1053 Colonial Experiment: Australian History 1788 – 1918 and COMM 2060 Communication, Culture and Indigenous Australians) would not be cut, and following these meetings all MBAA students got an email on October 8th confirming that both courses would be available as part of second year History and Cultural studies.
Say NO to Lockheed Martin (October 17th)
This demo was organised by Adelaide Uni students involved in the NUS Books not Bombs campaign against the announced deal between their uni and Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer. It was good to have students and staff from both UniSA and Flinders in attendance, since we’re facing a lot of the same kinds of collaboration: the CEO of Lockheed Martin sits on the UniSA Defence and Systems Institute Advisory Committee. A member of the NTEU at UniSA also spoke at the demo.
Close The Camps, Bring Them Here: Medical Emergency On Nauru (October 19th)
I chaired this snap action, which followed several senior medical staff being deported from Nauru and the Médecins Sans Frontières being booted from the island.
Since then, a number of children have been brought from Nauru to Adelaide. I think this highlights the importance of campaigning for the university to establish a scholarship for refugees on temporary or bridging visas. Currently the university only has a scholarship for students of a refugee background, but certain specific visa conditions which deny access to HECS-HELP mean that a more substantial scholarship is required for students on these visas.
I would like to draft a proposal as soon as possible, so anyone who wants to be involved please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk Together and Unity Festival (October 20th)
A good chance to promote the NUS Against Racism campaigns.
World Teachers Day Rally – Public Schools, Preschools & TAFE (October 26th)
A groups of UniSA students headed straight from the USASA and NUS election campaign trail to the World Teachers Day rally, which had hundreds of teachers from across the public system rallying as part of their Enterprise Bargaining Agreements and against the closure of TAFE campuses by the state government. School teachers have come to a bunch of university student rallies against cuts and fee hikes in the past, and they appreciated the solidarity shown in return.
Don’t Dump on SA Rally (November 3rd)
The campaign against the Coalition government’s plan to dump nuclear waste in SA has been building connection with the local Books not Bombs campaign. One need only look at the resume of our former chancellor Jim McDowell to see the connections between the nuclear and weapons industries. There was good support for Books not Bombs petitions at the rally, and one of the key activists involved in the anti-dump campaign has been asked to speak at the Books not Bombs end of year drinks and contribute to an upcoming newsletter. At the rally, Vivianne McKenzie, an Adnyamathanha woman, spoke powerfully against the dump, as did MUA SA Branch Secretary and President of SA Unions Jamie Newlyn.
Pride March (November 10th)
Both a celebration and an ongoing battle: a year after marriage equality was won there is still so much to fight for, with “religious freedoms” used as a thin disguise for the bigotry. As the Magill representative, it is particularly important to speak-up against homophobic and transphobic exemptions for employers, since so many teaching and social work students at Magill will go on to work for religious employers.
Books not Bombs’ end of year drinks (November 15th)
A way to cap off the year so far, there’ll be staff and students from UniSA, Adelaide and Flinders there, and encourage people to come along and check out what the campaign has been up to from 6pm at the Exeter balcony.
Organising for NUS protest against racism and fascism (December 5th)
This December a couple of fascists (Gavin McInnes and Tommy Robinson) are coming to Adelaide, and I’ve been organising with NUS to have a protest against them. These protests are important if we’re going to stop the far-right from growing, and build the confidence of anti-fascist forces.
There has unfortunately been far-right propaganda appearing on campus: anti-migrant stickers and “it’s ok to be white” posters, all part of a campaign to spread the lie that white people are the real victims of racism. I’m proposing that the USASA student board should take a stand against this by supporting in building the December 5 rally.
Currently the policy regarding postering on the USASA poster boards has some serious issues. Individual students can (rightly in my view) have their posters and flyers for roommates, study participants and theatre auditions approved quite easily on an ad-hoc basis. This is more difficult for a USASA affiliated club, and almost impossible for a NUS event, which usually requires specific board approval, despite USASA being an affiliate of NUS. This can even lead to the paradox that a club event, if also endorsed or hosted by NUS, can be harder to get approval for precisely because it involves an organisation to which USASA is affiliated.
Over the next month, I’d like to draft a clear policy on USASA poster boards. I think the default should be that NUS posters are able to postered, and I think greater flexibility for both student and clubs will contribute to the kinds of events that can be run and to life, even vibrancy, on campus.