Sonnets to Gonski: A Tragedy in Crumbling Verse

An edit of the 'do it for her' meme, showing several photographs of David Gonski pinned to a board, with the words 'do it for her' behind them.

from Ye Olde Editorial Team

O! Chancellor Gonski, mythical man
The tertiary sector is in havoc - 
The Government splitting us asunder!
-  misled, dazed, we’ve nothing left but panic.

For the executive staff we are burdened with questions
We read that, We are many and ye are few 
Yet behind gilded glass walls, great ye are
And we choose then, sir, to appeal to you:

Four dramas for your consideration,
Ceremonial, sir, your role may be, 
But as you from Gillard through Morrison: 
We give our hearts in this report to thee

Poetry is nought but a small revolution
But we’re only asking if through our mockery we can grant our absolution.

Merlin Crossley, you’ve hoarded your clout;
climbed, become head, of the overgrown pole
Can you not ease then our pain, the triptych 
that tortures, the length of sword from stone?

Does myth not dictate you know time in reverse?
Is this why policy on trimesters -
‘spreading studies over more of the year, 
decreasing stress’ - 
was poorly-researched, ill-informed, so perverse? 
O! Professor, just confess it’s a mess

You said ‘universities are best served 
by collecting feedback from students and 
making it ... freely available’ . Good sir,
Are we to take that as why transparency is negligent, 
Why our system of justice has become so bent?

Ian Jacobs tells the papers we’re doing fine
We give our sympathies - CoVid, Tehan!
But sir, we’re skeptical to your outline
when being ‘a globally competitive university’
trumps the institution of academe.
With humble means, we ken matters of gold - 
We’re in for a future both nightmare and meme! -
But roaring lions, gilded walls, isn’t all we’ve been sold.

What’s the real cost of ‘‘university to business’ revenue streams’?
Won’t you tell us about who’s being fired?
How post-grads will go without training in teaching, 
leaving students at risk and so-called ‘teachers’ unhired?

The compression of three faculties to one,
This uni’s integrity’s second to--
Well, we won’t lie but we’ll mask our distrust
But don’t expect of us silence or to simply adjust

Eileen Baldry, you must hold your head high!
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion
You - nay, we - lose much to this plague, department’s
business prohibited - social friction and fusion
Disabled students are at such high risk
of being silenced by circumstance, but
we can’t afford to be locked out of UNSW’s plans
O the DIAP! we do mourn the funding cuts!

Don’t let women be dropped from the workforce,
not again. Parity must not fall, not
under COVID’s reign. Students: mature age,
parents,carers, the ill - remember Uni is stronger diverse!
Vulnerable students are at the whims of exec
In this pandemic, don’t let us fall further back!

Professor Claire Annesley, how we salute!
You joined only this year, our dear old FASS
You leave with three schools named one: ASSBEAD - sorry, FAAD
With you comes riches, knowledge, expertise
Ph.D in British English - don’t be displeased! -
The US has made us asses from arse
Welcome to the University of New South Wales – 
you carry burdens of so many arts

Mr. George Williams, good sir, lucky last
You’re ‘DVC: Planning and Assurance’
So, can you give us some assurance?
Present us with a plan? Thus sits our cast:
unconvinced, frankly, unsure what you do 
But we bow our heads now, and turn to you.