Here’s What Your SRC Candidates Want You to Know

By Juliet Manolias and Henry Chen

With this year’s SRC elections closing on Thursday this week, Tharunka gave all candidates the chance to respond to written questions. About half of them took up the opportunity.  

To see what the office-bearers said, as well as a run-down on what all the factions and tickets mean, check out our overview of this year’s elections.

But let’s now turn to the SRC councillors. Unlike office-bearers, they don’t run collectives and they don’t get paid. Instead, they represent student interests by raising their concerns on the council. They’re divided into two electorates with six councillors each to ensure all faculties are represented (read: to stop the SRC from being dominated by Arts students). Electorate A is for Arts (and Law and Business), and Electorate B is for everyone else (Engineering, Architecture, IT, Science and Health).

The National Union of Students is the peak body representing university students in Australia. As an affiliated student union, Arc@UNSW sends elected delegates to the NUS to influence its direction in campaigning to change government policy to promote students’ interests. These elections happen at the same time as SRC elections, so SRC candidates often run as NUS delegates as well.


Here are the best bits from the councillors’ responses to our questions:

  • Hersha Kadkol and India Old have disclosed that they are members of Socialist Alternative, while Nick Palmer is a member of Student Unity.
  • Many candidates are fed up with UNSW management’s lack of transparency, accountability, and justification for recent actions that have negatively impacted the students and staff. They wish to fight for change via activism, through protests and student movements. The candidates calling for this kind of student organisation were predominantly from Left Action and RISE.
  • A majority of the candidates who feel this way only spoke very generally about fighting these issues, rather than sharing their ideas for specific policies or courses of action. Some members of RISE however did specify that they would utilise direct democracy when making their decisions.
  • Candidates acknowledged that most students don’t know or care about the SRC.
  • Jack Nethery and Lileana Colarelli (both of SPICE UP) gave clear plans for how they would get engaged with students to hear their concerns rather than broadly stating that they would “listen” to the students. Both stated that they were willing to set up questionnaire stalls, email surveys, and invitations for students to attend SRC meetings. Lulu Edwards (Together), in a similar vein, hopes to make the SRC contact links easier to find and seek out a formal suggestion box system.
  • Financial issues were frequently cited as a major problem faced by students, not only those that appeared as a result of COVID-19, but also those imposed by the university and government, such as the more recent HECS issue, alongside cuts to funding, courses, and jobs.
  • Eight respondents have been elected as SRC or NUS members previously.
  • Sarah Mullins provided a list on ways to increase accessibility for disabled students, unlike other candidates, as well as ways to improve biodiversity and sustainability on campus. Sarah was also the only candidate to refer to online exam proctoring services (e.g. Examity) as a problem students face.  
  • India Old expressed the aim to fight for free education for all students and welfare payment access for domestic and international students.
  • Benjamin Burgess is the only candidate who wishes to see the return of the semester system.
  • Brianna Fitzmaurice and James Morched are the only respondents who are not running for a Councillor position and are NUS Delegate candidates only.

If you haven’t yet made up your mind, you can also view the official candidate statements submitted by all SRC candidates.


Councillor A

Spice Up

Name Francis Gonzaga

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor A

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

Primarily, I want to see an SRC that students are aware of. Many students, like myself, are unaware of the council’s capacity to engineer change on campus. For example, I had no idea officers received a $10,000 stipend. We are meant to gravitate to the SRC but instead we flee upon seeing them during voting week. Student politics has devolved into a running joke amongst the wider uni community, and that’s something I feel that myself and SPICE UP UNSW can change.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

I’ve only ever helped volunteer distribute pamphlets on the main walkway. I’ve never held a councillor position or officership.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am not and have never been a member of a campus faction or political party

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

I personally think that there is a lack of student initiative to get involved in uni life. There are definitely factors that students can’t control: part-time work and the commute back home just to name a few. Nevertheless, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone into a foreign environment can be incredibily daunting. Hence, many fail to engage with the numerous opportunities available on campus. Surrounding students with a supportive community is something the SRC should seek to fulfil, rather than just trying to achieve ulterior political motives.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

An emerging problem from this phenomenon will be a prevailing indifference to university life. Clusters of students may pursue a shift towards online learning because of convenience. This is obviously a great reason for students who suffer long commutes and work long hours. However, sacrificing face-to-face learning prevents involvement in uni life. Learning is not just in the classroom, but also from the people around you in social settings. University is not just a degree. Yet, COVID-19 has excised the human element, which is arguably the most crucial component to formative learning. Myself along with the SPICE UP team will respond by allocating greater resources to collectives. This will help cultivate stronger uni voices on campus, which will inevitably create a stronger uni culture. This will help increase the allure of face-to-face learning.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

Never


Name Lileana Colarelli

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor – Electorate A

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

As part of the SPICE UP UNSW team, I have three main objectives I would like to seek to achieve on the SRC. The first is to engage more students with the SRC by focusing on listening to student concerns and issues by setting up questionnaire stalls, sending out email surveys and inviting more students to attend SRC meetings. Prioritising the engagement of students will be key to best representing the diverse range of issues faced by the student population and will make for a more effective and transparent council. Secondly, our group is dedicated to fighting for better Student Service and Amenities Fee allocation, which we believe has been poorly utilised by the University this year, especially in light of the current pandemic. We believe a significantly greater chunk of the SSAF ought to go to Arc next year so as to provide the SRC, IRC and CAPS with more resources. Finally, more resources need to be directed to the collectives and grow student voices. Collectives do the most groundwork in organising and lobbying against the University’s decisions and therefore need access to all resources to most effectively lead the fight against the University.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

No, I haven’t.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am not and have never been a member of or affiliated with a campus faction or political party.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

The pandemic has certainly highlighted how intrinsic a positive, interactive and engaging educational environment is for learning and engaging with both academics and personal development. Currently, the biggest issues facing students are undoubtedly the struggles that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With learning and assessments now being based almost entirely online, students are faced with a challenging and restricted learning dynamic that has negatively fostered a loss of enthusiasm and motivation towards their studies and lack of individual support. Additionally, the University has had a pervasive history of disengagement with students when it comes to both listening to their concerns and students feeling like they don’t have an avenue to voice their concerns. An example of this is relevantly reflected in many students not caring or even knowing about the SRC, which is their most accessible representational body when it comes to advocacy and their concerns being raised within the University.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

As mentioned above, the imposition of solely online classes as a result of COVID-19 has ultimately resulted in a loss of motivation and decrease in education quality. It is obviously quite a difficult issue, especially considering the uniqueness of each and every students situation and experience. However, by focusing on boosting student engagement and providing encouragement and ample opportunities for students to have their voices raised and heard we will both help find solutions to their concerns and provide assurance they are supported and not isolated (pun intended) during this difficult time.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I have always been an active community member and enthusiastic about representation and advocacy within the communities I am passionate about and have been a part of. In high school I held a couple of leadership positions, including House Captain and Social Justice Captain. My position as House Captain involved fostering spirit and pride as well as leading and mobilizing my house for community events. My position as Social Justice Captain involved advocacy for social justice and community service projects and issues and involved education, raising money and awareness about injustices that exist in the world and our immense capacity to makes positive and tangible changes. Since moving to University, I’ve been an active member of on-campus life, holding an executive position within my college of Sport Director in my first year (2019). This role involved regular liaising with the Inter-College Sports Association, organising sporting events for the IRC and leading and organising sporting teams within my college. This year I am a councillor on the 2020 UNSW Inter-Residential Community Council which focuses on community engagement and fostering positive relationships across UNSW’s entire college community. In the wider-community, I have been an ongoing leader with Edmund Rice Camps since 2016, which involves running and attending holiday camps for disadvantaged children and am currently leading an international water in the Cadulawan village in the Filipino province of Cebu to help the community build new water and sanitation systems.

Left Action

Name Hersha Kadkol

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor A and NUS delegate

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I’m a left-wing activist, and I think the SRC should be a left-wing, fighting force for student rights and for social justice.

The world’s in crisis and we’re seeing historic attacks on young people and our universities. I’ll push for the SRC to be part of the resistance to the Liberals and organising mass student opposition to inequality and injustice. I will take a strong anti-racist stand and push for the SRC to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. And I’ll make sure the SRC is committed to mobilising students in support of climate action.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

I’ve been part of the SRC Education Collective, a core team of activists fighting off attacks on education that have been coming thick and fast from both the government and university management.

Last year, in my role as an NUS office-bearer I helped organise the Cancel Trimesters campaign which mobilised mass opposition to the new calendar and its horrendous impacts on staff and students. This year, I’ve been involved in fighting course cuts, opposing the mass staff cuts that are ongoing, and organising to stop the fee hikes.

I’ve attended many SRC meetings and spoken in support of motions to stand with Black Lives Matter, to support demonstrations for climate action, and to commit the SRC to be part of national student protests – to name a few.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I’m a left-wing activist and a socialist because I think we need a totally new way of organising society. It’s always socialists that are fighters against all the horrors of this system and have been crucial to the victories achieved by our side.

It’s this politics we need more than ever as capitalism lurches from crisis to crisis, making the lives of ordinary people much worse or indeed unliveable. Anyone who’s reading this should consider joining Socialist Alternative if they want to fight for a better world!

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

The attacks on students are really coming from all quarters. For a whole chunk of the student body, we face higher fees thanks to Scott Morrison, and first years may even be kicked off their HECS loans if they fail 50% of their courses! The Liberals have always wanted a two-tier higher education model like their buddies in the US. And now students at the end of September are facing a $300/fortnight cut to financial assistance from the government.

The corporate university continues to fail students. Just because unis like UNSW can’t wring international students for every dollar they can get this year, students and staff are being asked to pay. 493 full-time staff members are set to lose their job by the end of the year, and huge numbers of casuals have already been axed, lowering our quality of education. Heaps of courses have been cut each term, often due to budget cuts not delivery problems. And we’ve got trimesters to thank for increasing our pace of learning and putting extra strain on staff even before this crisis! Not to mention that we’re still paying as much if not more for these degrees. Racist police brutality and looming climate disaster continue to be issues students care about. Left Action is dedicated to fighting on all these fronts – we’ve managed to even throughout the crazy year that 2020 has been.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

We live in a society where an effective public health response to a deadly

pandemic somehow means people lose their livelihoods, while the cost of living remains as high as ever. Students have been shown no mercy, whether it’s been with fees skyrocketing and quality of education suffering, welfare being cut, or losing their casual employment with little respite. Magnify this 1000 times for the experience for international students. And it’s only going to get worse as the crisis continues to unfold. We live in uncertain times, but we know that young people can only get anywhere in a society with sky-high graduate unemployment by collectively fighting back. As part of a team of activists in Left Action, I commit to continuing to organise that resistance.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I have been an activist for many years, and have in that capacity been the National Union of Students Anti-Racism officer in 2018 and 2019. My role has never been to simply reflect the concerns of students whether they be students of colour or otherwise, but to go out and actively fight for student interests and against racism.

For example, I helped organise in late 2018 a solidarity action at UNSW after a graduate student fell victim to an Islamophobic witch hunt and was demonised on the front page of the racist Murdoch press. I also organised over a thousand people to stand in solidarity with Muslims in the days after the fascist violence in Christchurch.

It’s a record like this that I want to continue in the SRC and as a delegate to the National Union of Students in 2020 and beyond.


Name India Old

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor A and NUS Delegate

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I would like to make the SRC a left-wing activist body that fights for the rights of students and staff on campus. This year has seen huge attacks on education with fee hikes, course cuts and job losses. I want to get the SRC fighting back against these attacks. More than this, I want to continue to push for the SRC to fight for progressive social issues such as climate justice, against racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia and for refugee rights.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

I have been a councillor in the SRC this year and have been part of various activist projects. At the beginning of the year I helped to initiate the huge protests in Sydney to Sack Scomo and for climate action in response to the bushfire crisis. During the lockdown I have continued to advocate for the rights of students organising various online and socially distanced campaigns and protests recently to fight Uni Management and Liberals attacks on education. I have also attended and promoted the Black Lives Matter rallies.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am a member of Socialist Alternative.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

The biggest issue facing students at the moment are the attacks from the Liberal government on our education. Arts degrees have fee increases of over 110%, HECS will no longer be given to students who fail their courses, courses are being slashed and teachers sacked. This is an attack on the quality of our education and we must fight back! As well as this issues such as climate change and racism have had a great impact upon students this year and we also must fight against these injustices !

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

Students have been greatly affected by COVID-19 such as the aforementioned attacks on our education. As well as this students are faced with attacks on welfare payments and increased health risks. In response to this, I will be continuing to fight the liberal government and Uni Management for free education for all students and welfare payment access for domestic and international students. As well as this, I will be fighting for increased safety on campus with regular cleaning, sanitiser and masks available as well as continuing online options for more at risk students.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I have been an activist at UNSW since the beginning of last year and have organised protests against trimesters, climate justice, refugee rights and against a racism. I intend on continuing to get students involved in protests and fighting for their rights and for justice! If you want your SRC to a be a left-wing body that fights for students vote for Left Action!


Name Caitlin Keogh

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councilor A

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I want the SRC to be a body that fights for students and takes an active stand on progressive issues. The UNSW SRC has the ability to take a lead in organising and providing resources to campaigns that defend students and staff rights and conditions as well as fight around broader social issues. The UNSW SRC has a rich history of activism and that needs to be revived!

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

Yes! For the last 3 years I have been on the SRC and involved in organising campaigns that fight around a whole range of issues. I helped kickstart the campaign against trimesters in 2017 and launched the Cancel Trimesters Campaign when I was the Education Officer in 2019. I always push for the SRC to be a left wing activist body and will continue to do.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am running with Left Action. Left Action is a ticket made up of activists and socialists on campus. We are serious about organising activist campaigns that challenge the corporate greed of UNSW, fight against racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. We have been organising campaigns for climate justice, for democracy, against police brutality and more. The SRC needs people with principles, who have no interest in defending injustice and the status quo.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

From job insecurity, to uni fee hikes, course cuts, welfare cuts life for students is getting more and more difficult. Decades of corporatising universities has undermined higher education and left students and staff worse off. On top of this environmental destruction and economic recession have been presented as young people’s new reality.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

Covid-19 has brought so many social and economic inequalities to light. It has proven that governments and businesses, including university institutions, prioritise profit over people at every point. The pandemic has been weaponised against university staff and students to justify course cuts, fee hikes and mass job losses. The government and university management across the country are forcing students and staff to pay for the crisis in their profit. International students who are used as cashcows for the sector have disgracefully been thrown on the scrap heap by universities who have offered little to no support. I will continue to engage in the campaign against attacks on staff and students that is being organised across the country.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

Change comes from putting pressure on the people in power, that has always been the case and so organising campaigns that confront injustice and inequality and embolden people to take a stand is what I will be doing on the SRC.

Together

Name George Rafael Castillo

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

Put simply, my only agenda within the SRC is to fight for meaningful and impactful changes with genuine commitment and the aim of seeing these initiatives come to fruition. Although, I haven’t previously been a part of the University’s student council, the ticket which I have aligned myself with consists of individuals who match both my passion and commitment to making impactful differences in the lives of our student community which I aim to assist them with in any way, shape or form.

I do not favour or completely align myself with a specific political party or affiliation. Whilst I do value the ideologies and intentions behind most agendas pushed by each party, I believe that my neutral stance grounded upon my moral compass of generally treating others with honesty, respect and integrity, is what will drive my commitment to accomodating for student needs and advocating awareness and action for issues held dearly by my fellow university constituents.

Although I am generally a pretty chill individual going about his day listening to RnB, I do not take these words promising fair representation and admirable devotion lightly, as I have every intention of bringing real action rather than just typed up characters on your screen.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

From year 6 onwards I have been a part of the SRC. Lame as hell I know however I truly did enjoy making a genuine impact for my friends and the initiatives and issues we were passionate about. I thought it was incredibly fulfilling to be passionate about something that was impactful in their daily lives and how strongly they felt about our causes.

Furthermore, I was blessed to be the school Vice-Captain in year 10 and final form leveled up to School Captain in year 12. Reflecting back on all our successful trials and mistrials, at the very least, I can say that I gave it my best and made the impact I knew would matter to as many people as I could. Although I initially had no intention of running for the University student council, I find myself back here again with the same student focus just on a different platform.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

As mentioned before, whilst I can empathise with each political faction and what they stand for and intend to do, I will be running as a non-factional member for the Together ticket in the hopes of joining their highly motivated and high integrity team.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

I believe that each student’s “biggest issue” greatly varies with each of their subjective experiences, priorities and current connections both socially, professional and personally etc.

However I do personally think that the equitable accomodation for both mental health support and effective student breaks within the trimester could be greatly improved. Whilst the major shift from semesters to trimesters has greatly benefitted the University, one way of alleviating the pressure on students to continue their academic excellence could be to provide more avenues for support in the mental sphere and its correlation with special consideration applications, as well as through tangible means like greater leniency or understanding for course-work assistance.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

Besides from the clear restrictions of a pandemic and university shutting down, there are simply too many adverse ramifications which have affected our normal student ongoings. However with each prevalent and new issues yet to come, I know that we not just as a student voted party but as an entire student body, will respond and approach these obstacles together. Most likely with memes to raise morale but most definitely with patience, understanding and pragmatism.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

My main two passions in the realm of representation and consultation lie within:

1. The SRC/Leadership Team/School Captaincy, as exemplified by my involvement during high school

2. 180 Degrees Consulting: my time as a project consultant and Treasurer with this social impact focused student-run organisation at UNSW which came into fruition from my general curiosity in the consulting sphere.


Name Lulu Edwards

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I have three goals.

Firstly, I want to investigate new ways for societies to communicate with the student body. It sucks that something so arbitrary – like the amount of times we refresh our feeds – determines our access to information about student life! UNSW already has a student app and societies already create event pages on Facebook. Imagine if those events were duplicated on the app for people to view through different filters.

Secondly, I want to increase awareness of the types of support offered by Equitable Learning Services (ELS), and Student Support and Success Advisors (SSSA). There is hardly any mention of ELS and SSA in the courses I have undertaken.

Thirdly, I want to listen to your experiences and suggestions. I will make sure the SRC contact links are easier to find, and investigate setting up a formalised suggestion box system.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

I have never been involved with the SRC before.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am not personally part of any political faction.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

I think there are four big issues, and I want to talk to people about them. Firstly, safe and affordable housing. On campus accomodation is quite expensive, so too are rentals around UNSW and in Sydney. Secondly, mental health and feeling alone in a huge institution. Thirdly, finding a job in the COVID-19 recession. Fourthly, climate change.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

Students have been affected by COVID-19 in ways that are impossible for me to comprehend alone, which is why I feel strongly about listening to your experiences and suggestions.

COVID-19 has taken away normalcy and exacerbated pre-existing physical and mental health issues. I know many students are in shock and are grieving sudden changes to their housing, health, finances, relationships, academics and idea of what the ‘future’ looks like. ELS and SSSA have been a lifeline for me during this time, which is why I want to increase awareness of their services in Councillor A’s electorate.

If we find better ways for societies to communicate to students, it will be easier to get involved in student life. This will help people make friends and develop new skills, which is important as we come out of a time of social distance and adjust to a more competitive job market.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

No, and that is why I am super excited to be running for SRC!!!


Name Oliver Vincent

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor for electorate A

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

As a member of the SRC, my main ambition is to advocate for the improvement of UNSW’s environmental policies as well as to campaign against fee hikes legislation.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am a member of and involved in with NLS

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

i believe their are several major issues facing our students in the near future. One is the fee hike legislation proposed by the federal government. If this legislation passes, it may lock many current and future students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds from attending university as a whole, and as a member of the SRC, I will do my utmost to campaign against such a future.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

Students have been seriously affected by Covid-19 in many ways. the most obvious is in mental health, as covid health restictions, while absolutely necessary, has added stress to lives of members of our student body. As a councillor on the 2021 SRC, I will advocate for the expansion and increase in visability of the mental health services available to students.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I have experience with advocacy, with the RTBU in the Keep Our Buses Public campaign, as well as being a member of NSW youth parliament in 2018.


Name Benjamin Burgess

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Undergraduate Councillor A

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

If elected to the SRC, I would aim to improve students’ experience at university through supporting a manage shift to more sustainable environmental and economic policies, improving student welfare services, especially in response to COVID-19 related issues, and facilitating an increased involvement of students in UNSW policy decisions. In addition to this, I would like to have a role in overseeing the effective reversion to a semester system, combat cuts to faculties and services, and improve the accountability and transparency of UNSW management.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

I have never been involved with the SRC

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

No

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

I believe that the biggest issues facing students continue to be the stress induced by the UNSW 3+ system and COVID-19. Aside from that, students are also very concerned with changes to university fees, cuts to certain faculties and student services, employment prospects and UNSW’s continued reliance on fossil fuels.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

I can imagine that COVID-19 has had a severe impact on a number of students at UNSW. Although the University and its staff have done an excellent job of facilitating the move to online learning and supporting students virtually, it is likely that some students’ mental health is being adversely affected and others are finding it difficult to remain motivated and focussed throughout the term. I think a significant reason for this is the lack of social interaction with other students and the decreased level of active participation in classes compared to when students are present in classrooms. Therefore, to combat this, I would encourage the managed return to physical classes and the reopening of university services to those who are confident and well enough to attend, contingent on NSW cases remaining low. Also, as a member of the SRC, I would encourage the expansion of mental health services to students and promote virtual activities that encourage student interaction and engagement.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

No

Rise

Name Saskia Wibowo

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor A

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

Especially throughout this year, I’ve realised that there are many ongoing issues affecting the uni community at large – whether it be those impacting students, staff or other associated individuals. Having witnessed the graveness and severity of some of these situations, I feel it only just that everyone within the community receive an opportunity to have their voices heard, and ensure that appropriate action be taken in response to their troubles and concerns. On the SRC, I would really love to play my part in helping to achieve such a goal – hoping to construct a more solid student community backed by a voice that continually shows support for its members, and seeks to serve in their best interests.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

Yes! I am one of the councillors on the SRC this year.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I don’t have any political affiliation per se, but do stand by the principles and policies of Rise: Grassroots so am representing them as one of their SRC candidates.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

I think students from varying walks of life are bound to have somewhat different types of issues affecting them that are most significant to them. However, as a general trend, I feel that matters surrounding quality of education, welfare and the capacity to have a say in decision-making are all issues that stand the test of time and impact all students regardless of their background.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

COVID-19 has undoubtedly brought up issues of all shapes and forms that are continually affecting students – primarily surrounding the need for adaptation to changing ways of learning, added pressure from ongoing economic stress, and especially for first-years and international students, greater difficulty in feeling part of a wider uni community. In response to this, I hope to do what I can to show continued allyship and solidarity with all individuals affected, as well as onboard initiatives from around campus where possible that help tackle such issues in a constructive manner.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

Yes I have! Apart from being part of this year’s SRC, since starting uni, I have been extensively involved in quite a few other leadership and representative roles around campus.


Name Sam Lane

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor A

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I would like to hold UNSW more accountable and transparent for their responses to issues that students care about. UNSW has made progressive strides in certain areas such as their recent divestment from fossil fuels, however in other areas their responses to hot button issues are lacking. Particularly, in terms of treatment of casual workers in COVID-19 as well as the recent faculty mergers. It is simply not enough to give students a corporatised response to issues like these which demand transparency. 4 whole faculties are now one. With a restructuring as large as this one, there are going to be trade-offs downsides. Yet UNSW has marketed this change as a win-win for learning and efficiency. Is it really? Like many other students, the decisions that UNSW have made this year have perplexed me, and if I was elected to SRC I would simply ask “why?” Why must we lay off workers while other’s salaries increase? Why are there so many ambiguities surrounding the quality of learning in the new faculties? With questions as large as these, students are owed answers. I intend to find these answers.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

Apart from sitting in on a meetings, I have not been involved with the SRC.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am running on the Rise ticket, which is a grassroots ticket. We are not beholden to any political party, and our decisions are made collectively.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

The problem uniting students of all faculties in my opinion is the sense that the value of our education is uncertain. We pay fees for at least 3 years, and for some of us we emerge into a world which may not value our degree. Goals that may have seemed attainable to our parents, like buying a house or even having steady employment are nigh on impossible for most young people. The policy direction surrounding education in this country is often at the expense of young people. The threat of deregulated fees, fee hikes, loss of HECS and the defunding of alternate tertiary education leaves us in a perilous state. If elected, I hope to push back against this concerning trend and implore UNSW to better focus its resources on the needs of students.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

The more pertinent question is: How have students not been affected by COVID-19? Every facet of our life has been uprooted during this pandemic. Particularly, I believe that the support given to staff to run online courses, and the support given for students’ mental health have been less than optimal. In regards to the first issue, exams in particular have been mediocre at best and there ought to be more resources diverted to the running of online exams in ways that benefit students. However, the far more important issue is mental health. The hidden pandemic in COVID-19 is the pandemic of mental health. UNSW has a duty of care to its students to look out for their mental health. The burden of mental health care has fallen on ARC and its societies to keep us connected. Now more than ever, students need engagement even if it is online. We need more resources into on-campus mental health services. It is not enough to outsource the duty of care to student societies.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I have been involved in advocacy in high school but not at university.


Name Ruby Pandolfi

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I’m running as a councillor because I want to ensure that UNSW has a progressive voice on campus. Students have the power to create a sustainable and fair future, and Rise is a group who is committed to making that happen. If elected to the SRC, I will continue to fight passionately against attacks on education, for climate justice, and act in solidarity with anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles. The SRC must be accountable to the wider student body, and make other decision making bodies at the university accountable to the will of students – I will always strive to make the SRC as transparent and democratic as possible. I have been heavily involved in collectives and other organising and activism outside of university as well, so if elected to the SRC, I will push for community activism and social justice to be at the forefront of what the SRC does.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

I haven’t been elected onto the SRC before, but I have been heavily involved in collectives (specifically the Enviro collective and the Fossil Free campaign which achieved full divestment last year) for the past four years of my student life. I participated in and ran as a councillor in the 2018 election, and have lots of experience with how the SRC operates and functions.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am running on the SRC with Rise, a diverse group of progressive and independent students looking to make UNSW a fairer more accountable, and more accessible place. We are a radical, left-wing group of students who believe in the power of mass student movements as a catalyst for change, in order to challenge power and disrupt a system which prioritises profits over people. Rise is a ticket which is committed to organising against the corporatisation of universities and demanding a better quality of education in the higher education sector. With UNSW proposing almost 500 job cuts, fee hikes and course cuts, now is the time for students to fight back against powerful elites who prioritise profits over education, among other things. A vote for Rise will mean a commitment to solidarity with anti-racist struggle, fighting back against attacks on the university sector funding, decreased on-campus housing costs, increased disability services and continued action on climate change to name a few. Vote [1] Rise if this matters to you!

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

The university sector is under attack – UNSW is facing 500 job cuts, cuts to courses and fee hikes across the board. This is a crisis in higher education – students are losing equal access to quality education, and staff’s jobs are on the line. All of this reflects the horrific systems of domination and inequality in our society, where the amount of money you have determines your access to education and opportunity. Universities in Australia have undergone a significant re-structuring process ver the past decade towards more corporate, managerial and profit-driven models, and under the cover of COVID, the government wants to push through a myriad of changes which will only make it more difficult for students and staff to access education, and to have secure work. The government is trying to make students and ordinary people pay for the crisis at a cost to their education – we as students must fight back against this, and demand more from our education system.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

The government due to COVID-19 is attempting to push through reforms to the education sector which will disadvantage ordinary people. Students are facing increased class sizes, online courses, decreased contact with lecturers and tutors, lack of social engagement due to distance learning, and increased financial pressure. In order to combat this, I am involved in various groups that are fighting against the neo-liberalisation and corporatisation of the university sector. By getting active in collectives and in wider campaigns, we will be able to build a mass student movement which opposes these cuts, but also more broadly contribute to building wider campaigns against the reduction of social welfare, the incarceration of Aboriginal people, and other social justice issues brought about by the prioritisation of capital over people’s welfare, and the colonial systems of domination which facilitate white supremacist ideology.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

Personally, I have been involved in activism around social justice throughout my time at UNSW, including being a part of the Fossil Free divestment campaign, the black lives matter movement, the climate strikes, as well as organising in solidarity with various worker struggles. This has been both on campus through university collectives, and off campus with groups such as the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN). The skills and experience that I have gained in the student movement will allow me to work effectively as a representative and bring a principled approach to everything I do.

Councillor B

Spice Up

Name Jack Nethery

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor B/NUS Delegate

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

SPICE UP UNSW has three main policy objectives;

Engage more students with the SRC.

Focussing on listening to student concerns and issues will be key to best representing the diverse range of issues facing students during this pandemic. Setting up questionnaire stalls, sending out email surveys, and inviting more students to attend SRC meetings to raise their concerns, will make for a more proactive, transparent, and productive council.

Fight for a better SSAF allocation.

Students have been greatly left behind by the university during this pandemic, particularly the most disadvantaged students. We believe that a significantly greater chunk of the Student Service and Amenities Fee ought to go towards Arc in the next academic year, so as to provide the SRC, IRC, and CAPS with more resources.

Direct more resources to the collectives and grow their voices.

By providing greater resources to the collectives, we want to help lead the fight against the university. Collectives do the most essential groundwork in organising and lobby against the University’s decisions on many things. We want to see alive and active collectives that have access to all resources necessary to carry out their work effectively.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

No, this will be my first time running.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am not and have never been a member of a campus faction or political party.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

The lack of face-to-face classes this year has posed unique challenges, and has resulted in a less comprehensive teaching dynamic and a loss of enthusiasm and motivation towards studies. This has resulted in the more disadvantaged students feeling ‘left behind’ by the university. Additionally, a lack of SRC engagement by the student body means many concerns are left unheard.

SPICE UP UNSW aims to address these issues by creating a more transparent, proactive, and collaborative SRC.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

COVID-19, and the resulting lack of face-to-face class, has resulted in an unavoidable decrease in the quality of education and a subsequent loss of engagement with university.

It is a difficult issue to address, as each person’s response is unique. However, by providing more opportunities for students to have their voices heard (as outlined in our policy statement), we can aim to implement measures to help students overcome these issues.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I’ve had multiple representative roles throughout High School and College. I was elected House Captain in Year 12, which involved working in a team to organise sports carnivals and charity events throughout the year. Currently, I am the Cultural Director on my college’s Activities Committee, which involves organising in-college events and aiding other members of the team in other areas, such as social events and community service.


Name Melody Ranger

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor, NUS delegate

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I would like for more attention to put on the students. If I were on SRC, I would want to engage more students and fight for a better students service and amenities fee allocation which will greater benefit new and returning students.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

No, I haven’t been involved with SRC before.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am not and have never been a member of a campus faction or political party.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

Currently, most of the biggest issues which students face are surrounding COVID-19 I think. With classes being online, students are missing out on key learning skills achieved through in person teaching.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

I think COVID-19 has impacted different groups of students in different ways. For example, first year student have been unable to get to know their cohorts and haven’t formed those connections which help with their courses later on. STEM students have been unable to get into their labs until now, which means that they are missing out on key lab skills which are required further down their career path. Design, arts and architecture students haven’t been able to access the required supplies to do their courses. Overall, students haven’t been able to experience their courses and university at its full potential. I hope to listen to students concerns more and direct more attention and resources in order to benefit them more coming out of the pandemic.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

No I haven’t been.

Left Action

Name Cherish Kuehlmann

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

NUS delegate, Councillor B

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

During all times but especially in the context of a historic crisis and pandemic, I think it is crucial that our student council has an activist strategy for defending student and staff interests. Its clear the 1% and their neoliberal governments are on the offensive against students and the working class, and historically, sucking up to management and asking nicely for change has gotten students nowhere.

If elected to the SRC, I’d will ensure to continue standing up to attacks against students from both the government and UNSW management, but also to rebuild a fighting student movement in this country because I think that students have the power to fight against all of the injustices in our society.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

Although this is my first time running in SRC elections, during my time at uni I have been active in the UNSW Education Collective, helping the SRC Education Officer to fight to defend our quality of education through the Fight Course Cuts: UNSW campaign and the national Stop Fee Hikes campaign. I’ve also attended most of this year’s SRC meetings. I’ve argued for the SRC to endorse these campaigns in support of staff and students, and other motions from extending welfare and Jobkeeper/Jobseeker for international students, to supporting the Black Lives Matter protests and calls to defund the police.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I’m running as an anti-capitalist socialist representing Left Action!

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

Huge question! Students were already facing the existential threat of climate change before the crisis, and now a devastating pandemic and historic economic collapse. And when it comes to our education – the government no longer wants to pay. The Morrison government and university vice chancellors are now scrambling to make up their revenue shortfalls by squeezing staff and students, UNSW included. This means students quality of education is getting exponentially worse. Alongside years of funding cuts, reduced course offerings, bloated class sizes and mass staff sackings to implement trimesters, the Liberals latest fee hikes, increased funding cuts and changes to HECS are just another attempt to move the cost of education away from the government and onto students. UNSW Management has also announced staff cuts and faculty mergers. The university management is prioritising their own profit margins over providing decent education for students and working conditions for our staff.

I think our education should not be undermined for the sake of ensuring the ongoing profitability of the corporate university. But unless we fight against this, the Liberals and university management will confidently continue their assault on our education. Education is a right that should be put before profits.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

The COVID-19 pandemic has not affected everyone equally. While corporations have recieved massive bailouts from the government, many students have been left unemployed and in precarious positions. After the Australian government and billion dollar corporate universities hyperexploited international students for years, they have offered next to no support for these students during the crisis. Many have been left unemployed and even homeless.

The SRC should be made up of students that are willing to take on the fight against the abhorrent and racist treatment of international students. If elected, I will ensure to pressure our university to provide necessary services for all students who need it such as counselling, income support, food and housing on campus.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

During my time at university I’ve been involved in a number of progressive campaigns. As part of the fight for climate justice I helped set up Uni Students for Climate Justice at UNSW, organising and building multiple climate strikes, including calling the nationwide protests during the bushfire crisis. I’ve also been active in the fight to free refugees, against the religious exemptions bill in the fight for LGBTI rights, and the fight against black deaths in custody.

Additionally, as part of the UNSW Education Collective I’ve been at the forefront of organising a student fightback in Sydney against the Liberal Government’s myriad of attacks on students and our education, as well as UNSW management’s staff and course cuts on campus. If elected, I want to continue to take a stand against these attacks through our SRC and student union, and support students who also want to fight against these injustices.

Together

Name Nick Palmer

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor B

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I would like to create a greater level of transparency and accountability, especially in the midst of ‘restructuring’ at UNSW. I want to do this by highlighting decisions made by the SRC and also push the university administration to justify in greater detail any changes or cuts they intend to make. Students deserve to know why things are happening, otherwise how can they be sure that their best interests are being considered?

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

Last year I campaigned with Together for my friend.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I’m representing Student Unity.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

I think students are facing a great deal of uncertainty at this point in time. There is not a lot of clarity these days and everything seems up in the air. University has many moving parts and is often too rigid to keep up with the changing state of things. Students are struggling financially with fees and insecure work. Student health and well being is also a significant issue, both physically and mentally.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

I think COVID-19 has compounded the issues raised by trimesters, namely a decline in the quality of education. Online interaction hasn’t been able to reach the same level of student engagement and participation. I have found that students are needing to take a lot more time to teach themselves concepts due to poor online communication. I would push for the university to move towards lighter assessment loads that are more reasonable on students.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

No I have not been involved with representation, consultation or advocacy.


Name Ava Powell

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor – Undergraduate B

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I would like to build a stronger student community by inviting social cohesion and collaboration between various distinct groups around campus eg. colleges, societies and clubs. Further, I hope to foster opportunities for more meaningful social impact through the university experience, such as community support projects and environmental impact, including fast tracking divestment and supporting broader social movements.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

Until recently, I have had very limited involvement with the SRC, my experience reaching as far as a student voting. This perspective has given me a baseline understanding of the varying parties advocacy and their goal orientation, which I now wish to expand to the inner workings of creating positive change for students at UNSW.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

No, I am not.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

While the student plight is ever evolving, this year’s circumstances have significantly magnified their impact. Currently, I believe the downfalls of the online learning environment (such as 24 hour exams and lower quality learning experiences) and stress surrounding fee increases are of highest concern.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

Students have suffered an extremely abrupt change at university and also everyday life, that has ruminated in the degradation of mental health and financial security. I will respond by driving for student financial support grants and fee reductions. Further, I hope to focus on improving the online learning experience by determining and providing for the needs of the student body. For example, reducing the pressure placed on students surrounding academic results (such as utilising SY Grading as a possible support mechanism for students who have been particularly impacted by COVID19) to account for the adverse impacts of life during the pandemic.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

In the past year I have been involved in the House Committee of a UNSW college as the Charities and Communities Director, and as a consultant with 180 Degree Consulting. As a House Committee Director I worked to represent resident needs and desires to the staff, aiming to create an environment and events fitted to optimise the experience of all. Through consulting with 180 I was able to practice organised problem solving and strategic and effective response, skills that I believe are beneficial as part of the SRC.


Name Fergus Stafford

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor B

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

My main goals on the SRC in 2021 relate to mental health and wellbeing, the way that UNSW deals with this issue, and ongoing issues with CAPS. These services have long faced significant challenges including lack of funding, long wait times, poor coordination and communication between CAPS and academic staff that have been the subject of advocacy efforts for some years now. The disruptions to student life arising from COVID have led students to feel more disconnected than ever from their peers and available support services. It is therefore more important than ever that we sustain our advocacy on these issues, ensuring that these services receive the funding and attention that they need, that they be promoted more widely to the student body, and that they be effectively integrated into academic processes.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

I haven’t had any role on the SRC before, but I did help campaign for Together at last years elections.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I’m not representing any political faction.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

The biggest issues currently facing students clearly relate to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impacts on virtually every aspect of UNSW’s activities, from assessments to funding. Substantial loss of revenue and the associated impacts, disruption to classes and extracurricular activities, uncertainty regarding international student travel are just a few examples of the pervasive consequences that have impacted every student at UNSW.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

As already mentioned, COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of student life at UNSW. Many first years have spent little to no time on campus, and may be disaffected and disenchanted with their university experience to date. International students face uncertainty regarding their ability to travel, which for some, such as those in their final years of medicine, poses a direct threat to their ability to fulfil the requirements of their degree. These issues will continue to evolve, and it is crucial that our advocacy evolves with them.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

As UNSW’s representative on the Australian Medical Students Association in 2020, representation, consultation and advocacy have been central to my role. AMSA advocates on behalf of all medical students in Australia, and this year it has been my responsibility to facilitate that by hosting events aimed at enabling me to gauge the opinions of UNSW students on relevant issues, and to represent those views at regular meetings of representatives from around the country.


Name Damian Basso

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

NUS Delegate and UNSW Councillor for Electorate B

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

The SRC serves as the primary way of representing students’ interests, and empowering students’ rights. I would like to ensure it fulfills this important responsibility to the greatest capacity possible, to ensure the SRC body functions effectively and in a positive way. This would mean utilising my position in whatever way I can to ensure our campus is a safe, inclusive and accessible place for education for every single student.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

As I am a first year student at UNSW, I have not had the chance to have much involvement with the SRC at UNSW thus far. I have interacted with and talked with more experienced people than I about how the SRC works and have sat in on some meetings including some of their discussions after the government’s recently announced University course cuts.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am a member of, and have been involved in NLS.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

It’s hard to ignore that 2020 has been an incredibly hard year for a lot of people and in a large part particularly students. The COVID-19 pandemic has effected tertiary education in its own ways, both obvious and unclear. We need to ensure that campus remains safe and that student’s health is maintained appropriately throughout this pandemic and beyond. At the same time, the clear upset for international and interstate students who have had to leave, and for other students in the adaption of online and socially-distanced classes must be dealt with fairly to minimize disruption to students’ education, and ensure students are treated fairly. Additionally in this vulnerable time, the governments proposed University course cuts not only unfairly target and undervalue Arts degrees, but threaten public education and its funding as a whole. These issues have brought student rights to the forefront and the SRC clearly has work to do.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

COVID-19 has affected students to different degrees and in different ways. International and interstate students have of course had the immediate impact in often being required to uproot their lives in Sydney. They, along with the rest of the student body have had to adapt to a largely off-campus system of learning. Going forward, I think its important to ensure in the transition back to on-campus learning that has begun, social-distancing and a necessary level of regulation to protect the health of the student body is important. A great degree of flexibility is also required to meet different students’ needs, including in ensuring that students who may not be able to return to campus are able to have online options. If elected, I will try to use my capacity to meet students’ needs, listening to the complaints and concerns of the student body and accommodating them however I can.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I have had limited experience In an official capacity during my time at UNSW as this is my first year, but during high school, I was on my school’s SRC body. Otherwise, I am an activist and have been involved largely in the movement for a just climate as well as against the University course cuts proposed this year.

Rise

Name Meg Cooke

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Conciliar B and NUS delegate

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I’d like to see the SRC act as a fighting body which not only represents students interests but also fights for them. This year I’d like to push for the SRC to not only narrowly take a stand around issues of education but also on political questions like climate justice and Black Lives Matter. I’d like to use the SRC to organise covid safe protests against uni fee hikes and against indigenous deaths in custody.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

This year I was an NUS delegate and attended the National Union of students conference. There I argued that the NUS should be a fighting body that stands up to all attacks on students. I also argued that a National Day of Action should be called to fight climate change in which students from uni’s All around the country would come out and protest. I was also part of the education collective that has organised actions against UNSW’s 500 person staff cuts and uni fee hikes.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

Yes, I’m a socialist and stand in a proud tradition of radical students standing up against attacks from both their uni administrations as well as the government.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

I think one the biggest issues facing students are the attacks on education. The Liberal government is pushing enormous fee hikes for humanities degrees. UNSW is cutting courses and firing staff both of which lower the quality of our education. Additionally the issue of climate change looms ever present and will continue to be a front at which young people lead the fight.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

I think the key thing the SRC should be engaged in concerning COVID-19 is putting demands on the university administration to make sure students and staff are safe as the campus reopens. This means providing adequate hand sanitiser and free distribution of masks. It also means notifying all students and staff immediately if there’s a confirmed covid case on campus and shutting down the relevant buildings.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I’ve been involved in activism for the last two years. I’ve campaigned to end the liberals homophobic religious exemptions bill as park of Community Action for Rainbow Rights. I’ve also helped build Black Lives Matter rallies in solidarity with those in the U.S as well as against Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia. As a climate activist I helped organise the massive rallies against the bush fires earlier this year as part of Uni Students for Climate Justice.


Name Mirima Goldman

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor B and NUS delegate

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

To have a passionate group of activists who listen to students, engage with broader political debates and engage with university management head on. Recent decisions by UNSW management, including moving to a trimester system and to cut huge numbers of staff, have shown that the university management cares very little about the wellbeing of its students. We need an active and mobilised SRC to stand up for students within a university system which prioritises profit over learning.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

Yes. I am currently the SRC Environment Officer.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am running under the RISE Grassroots ticket. We are a group of progressive students with grassroots politics. This means that we believe action comes from the bottom up. It is for this reason that we have a focus on building collectives. In our collective spaces we aim to make them as anti-hierarchical as possible and work under a framework of direct democracy. Direct democracy means that everybody who attends has input into decisions made at our meetings.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

While there are so many issues affecting students at the moment especially with the recent fee hikes nation wide, as a student studying ecology and the environmental humanities I would have to say that the biggest issue facing students today is the climate crisis.

Every student at UNSW is being impacted by the climate crisis. We need to be part of the global movement encouraging uni management, federal governments and large corporate bodies to take action against climate change and ensure our futures.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

COVID-19 has impacted students in so many different ways. Student’s living arrangements and work commitments vary greatly. The university needs to recognise this, be flexible in their response and put as many measures in place to continue to support students’ learning. COVID-19 has also impacted how activism has been able to take place on our campus. As the Environment Officer this year I have changed how our meetings and events have run due to COVID-19. Importantly, through organising online and in a COVID-19 safe manner, I haven’t let the COVID-19 pandemic stop the fight against another global health emergency, climate change.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

Yes. My position as SRC Environment Officer this year and UNSW Fossil Free Convener in 2019 has resulted in me representing students voices on UNSW Sustainability management meetings as well as advocating for students through attending and organising student led rallies.


Name Sarah Mullins

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

Councillor – Undergraduate B

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

I’d like to be a voice for practical and meaningful change at the university. This involves speaking up for disabled students on campus; I want UNSW to overhaul the way we assess accessibility on campus and to integrate considerations for disabilities into our decision-making processes rather than as an afterthought. I’d also like to make the campus more welcoming to students with disabilities by creating resources to show what facilities and programs are already available for them, and by expanding those facilities; for example, by retrofitting wheelchair ramps where possible in existing lecture theatres, and introducing closed captioning on lecture recordings. I also support a repeal of the recently introduced Fit to Sit rules for exams and assignments.

I’d also like to work towards further improving UNSW’s commitment to the environment. We’ve made great strides recently with movements like Fossil Free UNSW, but I believe we can do even better. I’d like to work with Estate Management to improve biodiversity and sustainability on campus through the introduction of more native plants in our flower beds, rainwater capture, and increased solar capacity.

Finally, I’d like to make changes that make campus life more enjoyable. This means opening up more spaces on campus for use by Arc societies during non-teaching hours, pushing for an earlier release of exam timetables, and improving working conditions and training for our lecturers and tutors.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

I haven’t been involved with the SRC before, but I do have experience

working with Arc as a society president.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I’m on the RISE ticket, and consider myself left-wing, but I’m not affiliated with any specific political group.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

Currently, I feel like the degrees many students are completing at UNSW are too impersonal. Many of us attend lectures in groups of over a hundred, with very little consideration for individual issues, and this is causing students to disengage with course content, particularly in an online environment. The biggest challenge facing us right now is finding a way to make university engaging, personal, and easy to access, particularly in a post-COVID world. I want to help find a way to make UNSW somewhere that represents the goals and interests of the student community, rather than a business that’s just selling us qualifications.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

Many students have really struggled this year to manage the pressures of online learning. This has also been a steep learning curve for many lecturers, who have had to rapidly learn to use new technology to continue teaching their courses. I believe increased technical support for lecturers who are unfamiliar with systems like Microsoft Teams or Blackboard Collaborate, and standardisation of how we use those platforms, would go a long way towards improving student experiences.

On top of this, it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone’s home life is the same; students with slower internet or a larger household are struggling to adapt more than those who are able to access appropriate learning spaces at home. Therefore, I believe the university should include these issues as valid reasons for extensions or special considerations on assignments and exams. I also would like to expand the spaces open for distanced on-campus study to give students who need it a guaranteed quiet space to complete their work.

Finally, I want to note that I believe online exam proctoring services like Examity are extremely invasive and can be distressing and disruptive to students completing their final exams. I stand firmly against the use of these systems for any UNSW course.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

I’ve done work with UNSW’s Green Impact environmental program before, and have been heavily involved in campus life through colleges and societies since I first began studying here three years ago. These experiences have given me a new perspective on how UNSW stands in terms of sustainability, and how the uni’s relationship with students and with societies operates. I’m committed to learning more about issues facing students by consulting with fellow advocates and collectives about how they think UNSW could improve for all of us.

NUS Delegate

Left Action

Name James Morched

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

NUS Delegate

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

My ticket and I would like to see an SRC and Student Union that genuinely fights for the rights of students and their right to a quality education, especially when it is under attack from the government and university management as it is now! The SRC and Student Union has been run by opportunists and careerists who see their positions as a way to jump start their future career in politics rather than to be a genuine representative that can engage students in fighting for their rights against attacks!

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

Yes I have been a councillor on 2 separate occasions. In those years I helped mobilise around the introduction of the Trimester system as well as around issues of Climate Change. I also helped organise a snap action of solidarity in reaction to the Christchurch Massacre among other things. In the times when I wasn’t a councillor however, I was still spending time organising campaigns and engaging with students politically around issues of racism, homophobia, sexism, and climate change

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I will be running on the Left Action ticket! For years Left Action has contested these elections and we always get a respectable vote from students that can see we are dedicated and genuine in our aims! Left Action is made up of dedicated left wing student activists that are active in politics year round, not just when elections come about or if they hold positions. We understand the strength that students have in defending their education, but also in fighting around social questions such as the environment, against racism, sexism, and homophobia.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

The 3 biggest issues I see students facing are the effects of the failing economy, attacks on the quality of education, and climate change. The economy is going into one of the worst recessions in history and things will only get worse going into the future. Young people are more and more being forced into unstable, casual work, are being expected to pay higher rates of rent and bills, and are forced to compete in the current housing and job market, all while welfare and wages are stagnant. This is a system that puts the profits of a few over the interests and wellbeing of the majority of society.

It’s clear that the neoliberal model of the university has failed with Covid-19 showing how underfunded our education is, and how much it relies on draining international students and using them as cash cows, rather than having a well government funded institution that can provide for all those seeking an education, not just those that can afford to go into debt. And finally, climate change which will become a more prevalent issue going into the future. Even if the 2 previous issues were solved, the planet would still be heading towards destruction, putting future generations at risk. The responsibility to save the planet has been shifted from the wealthy who created the issue, onto the majority of young people who will have to deal with it going forward.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

Students have been massively affected by Covid-19 in the immediate sense that their university experience has been ruined. More importantly however it has shown the flaws in the way the education sector, and the economy more broadly are organised and how they place profits at the forefront at all times.

The recent cuts to education have come in the form of staff cuts, course cuts, course mergers, fee hikes, and broader funding cuts which will affect the quality of education, and will drive people away from seeking a tertiary education and will push people to seek out the limited jobs available at this time, purely just to get through the recession.

This is why I’m already involved in a nationwide campaign against course cuts and fee hikes that has been organised through the Education Collective at UNSW! I will continue to help organise students against all kinds of attacks that are sure to come, including more attacks on education, as well as on welfare and the right to protest

Together

Name Brianna Fitzmaurice

Please indicate for which position/s you run.

NUS delegate

What would you like to achieve on the SRC?

Overall, I would like to help create the smoothest transition back to campus life for UNSW students moving forward from COVID-19 restrictions. This means I will be committed to advocating for and on behalf of student rights and wellbeing through the utility of this role and platform. I therefore seek to achieve an even more student focused environment when returning to regular university life.

Have you been involved with the SRC before? How?

As a first year student, I’ve no direct experience with the SRC. However, I have learnt a lot about its inner workings from more senior students who have, and am very exciting to fulfil this role.

Are you representing a political faction, or otherwise affiliated with one?

I am a member of and am affiliated with NLS.

What do you think the biggest issues facing students are?

I understand that navigating online university and COVID-19 conditions has put an immense strain on students’ learning and social experience at UNSW. On top of the widespread wavering of student motivation with regard to their online courses and the difficulties which have come along with that, the social disconnect under COVID-19 restrictions will be difficult to mend immediately upon and before a complete return to campus. I believe it will be a shock to transition back to regular student life and to rebuild inclusive and positive social environments for students to assist with their educational experience.

How do you think students have been affected by COVID-19 and how will you respond to it?

As I’ve said previously, the key issues with regard to COVID-19 come down to student motivation and social disconnect. I believe these two factors are very much linked. Accordingly, I seek to use my role as an NUS delegate to engage in student activism and advocate for student wellbeing. What I mean by this is that I will be active in the organisation of transition strategies back into regular campus life as I believe this is an imperative aspect of the student experience and therefore assists in the interest of students in their own education. I also intend to use my communication skills to engage with students in order to genuinely listen to their needs during this period, and work to find systems and strategies to meet these needs on an administrative level.

Have you been involved in representation, consultation, or advocacy before? How?

Through the limited opportunities during this first year, I have still advocated for student rights where possible and communicate on the needs of my peers. For example, I involved myself in the student-led protest against university fee hikes upon announcement of such policies in order to help voice student concerns and protect student rights. Likewise, I have been involved in NUS events affiliated with NLS consistently throughout this last trimester and intend to continue this and become even more active once given the opportunity under normal conditions. I am also an active member of queer collective, and seek to further my involvement within this group during a return to campus.


If you are a candidate and you would like to make a correction to this article, please email tharunka@arc.unsw.edu.au.

Henry Chen is a former member of the UNSW Labor Club.

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