By Shovan Bhattarai
With the start of a new term, after a fleeting two week break, hatred of the trimester system has turned into action. The “Cancel Trimesters” campaign is making a big splash on campus. In just one day, thousands of UNSW students have read anti-trimester leaflets, heard speeches in their lectures, or signed a petition directed at university management.
The impacts of Trimesters on students has been overwhelmingly negative. After surviving one term of trimesters, students have seen the quality of our education take a massive hit, as 13 weeks of content has been crammed into 10. Our stress levels are skyrocketing and our mental health is declining as we try to keep up with the increased workload. To top it off, the special consideration process has been made increasingly difficult with the ‘Fit to Sit’ rule.
It is obvious to all that the trimester system was never about pedagogy, quality education, nor increased ‘flexibility’. It’s a money-making scheme, pure and simple. Forcing more students through the system in a shorter time period while cutting the number of academic and support staff was always going to be a disaster. But from management’s point of view it’s a brilliant cash grab. Students are now demanding that our education is put front and centre, rather than the profiteering of management.
Management isn’t happy about this new student activism. UNSW Security were spotted trying to clamp down on the “Cancel Trimesters” campaign; tearing down posters around campus and intimidating the students leafleting the Library Main Walkway.
“It was really obvious they were trying to silence us” says NUS Ethno-Cultural Officer Hersha Kadkol, who was filmed being harrassed by UNSW Security while leafleting this morning. “Management is terrified of this campaign, so they’ve sent a bunch of security to intimidate us.”
UNSW Security were caught on film lying to “Cancel Trimesters” campaigners, telling the students that they would need to apply for a permit before they could hand out flyers and demanding that they presented their Student ID cards to identify themselves.
This did not have the intended effect, says Kadkol. “The University needs to actually listen to students and staff. This attack on our free speech just further demonstrates their careless attitude towards us and has enraged students.”
Students are calling out the undemocratic way the university has implemented trimesters. In a survey conducted by UNSW before the introduction of trimesters, 90% of students opposed the change. UNSW ignored the voices of students, buried the survey, and claimed that they had support for their model as they ploughed ahead with the plan. It was only after Tharunka investigated the university through a Freedom Of Information request that the extent of UNSW’s deception was revealed.
The students involved in the “Cancel Trimesters” campaign demand a complete end to trimesters at UNSW, and in the meantime have called for a reduction in coursework and assessment load, the return of a mid-semester break, a longer exam stuvac, and a complete overhaul of the special consideration “Fit to Sit” model.
“We encourage everyone, students and staff, to get involved” says Macy Reen, UNSW SRC Councillor and student involved with the “Cancel Trimesters” campaign. “Making memes about trimesters and complaining about them to your friends is great but I really encourage anyone who is opposed to trimesters to join the campaign and force the university to listen to us”
The “Cancel Trimesters” campaign has called a rally for Wednesday of Week 4 (26 June) at 1pm and will meet weekly on Tuesdays at 2pm. Like the Facebook page for updates and send the campaign runners a message if you want to get involved in any way. Hersha (Ethno-Cultural Officer, National Union of Students) can be contacted on 0427 193 727, or Caitlin (Education Officer, UNSW SRC) on 0425 813 331.
Upcoming events include:
|Cancel Trimesters organising meeting
Come discuss the campaign and get involved
|Tomorrow, Tuesday 4th June on the Library Lawns|
|Joint Staff and Student Forum
“Spill the tea” on Trimesters (tea and biscuits provided)
|Wednesday 12th at 1pm in Matthews Theatre C|
|Cancel Trimesters Rally!
Biggest thing happening on campus all year, worth skipping your classes for! Click attending on the Facebook event and put it in your calendar today!
|Wednesday the 26th at 1pm on the Library Lawns|