Hi Postgrads! This month I have worked with USASA staff and student reps to respond to the release of the Human Rights Commission survey release regarding sexual assault and harassment on university campuses. USASA media release here. I’ve been preparing (along with the Women’s committee) for our Responsible Sex stall at UniTopia and our sexual violence campaign. I was also at Open Day at the USAS stall, which was lots of fun!
I’ve also been campaigning for students to enrol on the Australian Electoral Roll, so that they are eligible to vote in the Australian Marriage Law Postal survey. This is a survey that will ask Australians whether they think people of the same sex should be allowed to marry under Australian law. Marriage equality is a human right regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, and USASA supports marriage equality (USASA media release here). One of USASA’s objectives is to “promote and defend the interests and welfare of students at the university”, which includes campaigning for all students at our uni to have equal rights under marriage law.
Here’s a list of everything I’ve been up to!
01/08 HRC survey response
Met with the PVC: Student Engagement and Equity, Laura-Anne Bull to discuss UniSA’s response to the Human Rights Commission Survey release.
04/08 HRC survey response
Met with Kayla, Daniel (USASA General Manager) and Bridget (USASA student rep support officer) to go through the university’s recommendations
We then had a meeting with Laura-Anne Bull to discuss what we thought about the university’s recommendations for action/change, and we discussed things we thought were important for students (e.g. the ability to report an incident of sexual assault or harassment anonymously)
04/08 Women’s committee responsible sex stall
I submitted a proposal to the USASA UniTopia committee about the Women’s committee running a stall at UniTopia SP5, similar to the stall we ran in SP2. The focus of the committee this year has been education and campaigning for better understanding of responsible sex and consent. We had a great response to the stall last semester and want to run a more refined version this semester.
07/08 Women’s committee meeting
We discussed the planned UniTopia stall as well as Bluestockings week, the sexual health packs USASA is creating, and the fair that the Women’s Social Action Group (WSAG) is holding soon. I also had some email contact with a student from the WSAG about materials that we may be able to provide for this fair.
07/08 Governance committee meeting
Our discussions focused on preparing our newly drafted Election Regulations in time for the upcoming USASA elections, and further discussion on governance and organisational structure. We also welcomed Jivan, our new Mawson Lakes rep, to the committee.
07/08 USASA board meeting
I attended the board meeting, one of our longest meetings yet!
09/08 SSAF feedback
I ran a poll on some UniSA postgraduate facebook groups, asking students what they wanted their SSAF (student services and amenities fee) to be used for. I collated this information and sent it to Kayla for use in USASA’s submission to the university regarding SSAF. As usual, the highest response was always “students want more and better food and drink options on campus”! This is something that I spoke to University Council about in our meeting this month.
14/08 Attended “In conversation with Pat Buckley”
I attended a talk/informal meeting between Pat Buckley (the Dean of Graduate Studies) and a group of PhD students at Magill to discuss things that affect PhD students. This included the thesis defence, preparation of the thesis, and job opportunities.
17/08 University Council
Kayla and I attended University Council, which is the principal governing body of the university. The president and postgraduate representative of USASA are members of the council every year.
19/08 Preparation for Responsible Sex stall (Women’s committee)
I went “window shopping” at Kmart for supplies for our stall. I noted items and prices to add to our budget. I created the budget and sent it to the UniTopia committee. I also brainstormed some phrases and signs to be used in the marketing of the stall and USASA’s sexual violence campaign.
20/08 Open Day!
I helped out at the USASA stall at City East open day, and got to meet some prospective UniSA students. We had lots of fun and it was a great time (even though it was pretty hard waking up so early on a Sunday morning to be there for setup!)
Kayla and I didn’t have a formal President and Vice President’s meeting this month, as we were in contact nearly every day and discussed issues as they arose. I have also been writing a paper for the USASA September Board regarding the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations.