August was a busy month with the release of the Australian Human Rights Commission report on sexual assault and harassment at university, the marriage equality campaign, and other activities for USASA.
Australian Human Rights Commission “Change The Course” report.
On Tuesday the 1st of August the Australian Human Rights Commission released their report on sexual assault and harassment at university. You can access the national and UniSA results here. You can also read the USASA media release here. If you are feeling distressed about the Australian Human Rights Commission report you can contact the National Hotline on 1800 572 224 for specialised trauma counselling. UniSA students can also book an appointment at UniSA Counselling here.
I attended a briefing on the day of the release with the Pro Vice Chancellor of Student Equity and Engagement, and the USASA General Manager and Student Representative Support Officer. We will be working with the university to ensure that they are held accountable for the practices and procedures in response to sexual assault and harassment at UniSA. The university has spent the past six months reviewing their policies, procedures and services in response to sexual assault and harassment, and has produced high-level recommendations. On the Friday week of the release, I attended another meeting with the Pro Vice Chancellor of Student Equity and Engagement, the General Manager, the USASA Marketing Director and USASA Post-Graduate Representative Louise Kyriaki. We were able to raise our concerns about the process and discuss the next steps. For the remainder of my term I will be working closely with organisations such as End Rape On Campus, the National Union of Students, and student groups such as the UniSA Women’s Collective, Rainbow Club and the Sexual Violence Action Group to ensure the recommendations are implemented swiftly and appropriately. The university is now establishing a new working group with student representation from these groups as well as university staff who will implement the recommendations from the internal policy review.
The UniSA Sexual Violence Action Group have organised a panel on the 5th of September which I will be speaking on along with the Vice Chancellor David Lloyd, Founder and Organiser of End Rape On Campus Australia Sharna Bremner, Zoe Harrison from Yarrow Place and Narelle Lietske Head of UniSA Counselling. The panel will take place from 5-7pm at the City West campus Bradley Forum. I encourage you all to attend to ask any questions you have in response to the report.
The Sexual Violence group is also organising a community fair across all metro campuses on the following dates from 11-2pm:
- Tuesday 5th September, City West campus, Student Lounge
- Wednesday 6th September, City East campus, Basil Hetzel Plaza
- Tuesday 12th September, Magill campus, A building “The Caf”
- Wednesday 13th September, Mawson Lakes campus, Sir Eric Neale Library
Student Connect at Mawson Lakes
On the 2nd of August I attended a meeting with Mawson Lakes Representative Jordan Mumford and Academic Dean of ITEE Delene Weber and her team to discuss a new initiative in the division called Student Connect, a student council which would engage students from across the division to discuss academic or facilities issues. I was able to raise the value of meaningful student representation and engagement with university decision-making. We will continue to work with the Student Connect team to build a connection with USASA going forward.
Our Education Committee is continuing to expand, with the August 3rd meeting held at Magill Campus. We have strong representation from the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, as well as representation from the Business School, and the School of Nursing and Midwifery. We discussed how school and division representatives could use the Education Committee as a higher-level committee to raise issues and run projects or campaigns about education and academic issues.
Unitopia and Sexual Violence campaign
The USASA Women’s Committee will be present at Unitopia again in SP5. We will run tea bars across all metro campuses to raise awareness about consent and sexual health. We will also be launching our sexual violence campaign. Look out for Unitopia this October at a campus near you!
National Day of Action student protest
On the 8th of August students across the country rallied to oppose the Government’s proposed cuts to higher education. In Adelaide we rallied at Parliament House and marched through Rundle Mall, fighting for free education and against cuts to welfare and work rights.
Club Strategic Plan
At USASA we have been reviewing all of our club processes and policies to see how we can best make USASA a supportive place for clubs and societies. I have been drafting a student-centric clubs policy and have been working with USASA staff to finalise this.
Attended a University Council Meeting at Mawson Lakes. I was able to raise my response to Council in regards to the Australian Human Rights Commission report and hear the Vice Chancellor’s response. I was also able to see the plans for the UniSA Retail Management Plan and hear the report-back from the student focus groups, as well as raise my views and feedback on it.
Marriage Equality Postal Survey
The Federal Government has called for a postal survey on the issue of marriage equality in Australia. You can read the USASA media release here. USASA supports marriage equality and is listed as a supporter on the Australian Marriage Equality website here. I stand with all LGBTI+, queer-identifying and gender diverse students during this difficult time. Student unions and queer collectives across August 14-24 spent time and resources getting students enrolled to vote on the issue of marriage equality in the most collaborative student campaign in years. The final result is that 16 million people are enrolled to vote, which according to the AEC is the largest since federation. If you are feeling distressed throughout the next few months of the postal survey process please access the free UniSA Counselling here. USASA also has a Rainbow Club which you can find here.
USASA Sexual Health Packs
Across September you’ll be able to access the USASA Sexual Health Packs at a USASA Campus Counter! The packs will include information on sexual health and resources, as well as safe sex items.
01/08/17 – Release of Australian Human Rights Commission report, survey briefing.
02/08/17 – Student Connect meeting
03/08/17 – Education Committee meeting; Sexual Violence Action Group meeting post-survey
- Unitopia Meeting
- USASA Activation – Response to AHRC survey
- Recommendations and review next steps meeting
- Governance and Legislation Committee Meeting (UniSA Council)
- Women’s Committee Meeting
- Governance Committee
- USASA Board Meeting
- National Day of Action higher education student protest
- Clubs Policy Meeting
- Met with EROC to discuss USASA campaign and response to AHRC survey
- Meeting with Kelly Graham-Sutton to discuss LEAD Project
- Sexual Violence Action Group meeting
- Met with new NTEU UniSA Branch Organiser John Pezy to touch base
- Meeting with SRSO – Marriage Equality media release and response
- Meeting with new Magill Representative Carey Moore
- Marriage Equality Enrolment drive
- UniSA Council Meeting
- Meeting with new City West representative Zahra Darwishi
- Meeting with SEE to discuss SSAF survey results
- Marriage Equality Enrolment drive
- Sexual Health Pack Packing
- Board Papers Meeting
- Meeting with UniSA Online Project team
- Clubs Committee Meeting
- Welfare Committee Meeting
- Finance Committee Meeting
- Attending “Students as Partners” workshop at the University of Technology Sydney with General Manager and key university staff