UMSU

2020 UMSU Ticket Statements

4 September 2020

Are you voting in the 2020 UMSU Elections?

UMSU Election week is from the 7-11 September 2020. Here you can find your candidates and their statements below in alphabetical order by position. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate in reaching out to the Deputy Returning Officer, Stephen Luntz.

Other relevant information may be found on the UMSU Website.

Stephen Luntz
Deputy Returning Officer
s.luntz@unimelb.edu.au
0438 667 787

 

AMPLIFY

The Amplify ticket for the University of Melbourne Student’s Union is a centre-right wing ticket that aims to represent those of us within the Student body who wish to see responsible management of Union funds. These are not the Union’s dollars. They are your dollars. “Amplify’s” policies are designed to keep you the Student first and foremost in the Student Union’s mind. If elected to any position Amplify candidates will campaign, in whatever form possible to minimize or abolish the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). This is our primary goal and promise to you.

This fee is unethical and illogical, it forces students (many of whom are casually employed whilst studying) to pay an  exorbitant amount of money every semester for services that they might barely access. The reality is, the Student Union as it stands is there to serve the few, not the majority. We will approach the management of this Union realistically, you are at University to get an education, not to enjoy a theme park. Let us cut unnecessary services and put money back in your pocket.

Our Policies:
• Axe the SSAF!
If elected, we will make the SSAF a voluntary fee, paid only by those wishing to utilise certain services. If you access a service, you pay for it. Simple.

• New lecture recordings
Unfortunately, whilst many staff member have been working diligently to maintain teaching standards during COVID-19 there have been reports of some lecturers uploading lectures from previous years. This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated under an Amplify administration.

• More study spaces
An increase in available study spaces is something all students could appreciate. Whilst in this COVID-19 world we have no use for physical study spaces we will inevitably return to campus. Amplify has a plan for both right now and after COVID-19. That is why we will champion an increase of places to study and focus on learning.

• Cheaper Student Parking
The Student Union should look at what truly affects students. The inability to find even remotely convenient parking facilities at a financially sustainable level near the University is a primary issue. Amplify will, through whatever means possible drive for more parking facilities; closer and cheaper than what is currently available.

Candidates:

President – Jeremy Mann
General Secretary – Sara Burns
Education Officer (Public Affairs) – Justin Riazaty
Welfare Officer – Henry Kerr
Environmental Officer – Michael Plant

COMMUNITY FOR UMSU

Students need support. Students need representation. Students need community.

Being a student is about more than just studying. It’s about the connections you make with other students, the relationships you grow and learn from: it’s about the Community you discover.

We’re Community for UMSU, and we’re committed to creating that community for all students on campus. That means rallying with students against a university administration that puts profits first. That means equitable and meaningful representation for all students. Listening to what students want.

We believe UMSU has the potential to meaningfully serve the student community. But right now, UMSU doesn’t have the best leadership we could have. That’s why we’re putting forward some of the most passionate, experienced, and progressive candidates, to shake things up in 2021!

This has been an incredibly difficult year, exacerbated by a disappointing UMSU administration. For the past few years, UMSU struggled to:

  • Meaningfully engage students UMSU runs on approximately $8 million of student money every year. We pay for UMSU to function, yet many students barely know what UMSU is, let alone what they’re paying for. Not enough students are accessing the many services UMSU offers. UMSU must fundamentally change in order to address this immense gap between its aims, and the reality of its representation.
  • Adequately represent the true diversity of Unimelb While UMSU should be a body representing all students, it can do much more to represent international voices in its ranks. Of the 21 representatives on students’ council, only 3 are international students. Of the 25 Office bearers, only 2 are international students. Compared to a student body where approximately 42% of all students are international students, this is an extraordinary failure.
  • Effectively advocate for students UMSU has the capacity to directly confront the University on student issues, but they are not using this power judiciously. For example, while the university announced the Melbourne Commencement Ceremonies at the start of sem 2 2019, UMSU did not adequately fight this disruptive proposal. This lack of student input resulted in the entire week of 2020 Summerfest being condensed into one day. This had a direct impact on clubs, who, instead of having two full days to exclusively promote themselves, were stuck in a cramped and inaccessible carpark, with limited access to students.UMSU needs student representatives who will speak out, scrutinise the details, and prioritise ordinary students over themselves.

UMSU doesn’t have to be like this. That’s why we’ve formed a three-point plan to bring Community values back to UMSU.
Supporting our Community Student representatives must address the fears and concerns students have. UMSU needs to make sure it doesn’t cloud itself in bureaucracy, making it inaccessible and irrelevant to students who feel alienated by the pedantic red tape that smothers our union. Instead of a top-down strategy, we believe the student community should guide its representatives to achieve student goals. We’ll support students by: 1. Pursuing Fee Relief for all students.
We’ll work with students to submit collective grievances to the university, and negotiate refunds with the University. Should the University remain recalcitrant, we’ll not stop; we’ll take legal action.

2. Simplifying UMSU’s bureaucracy.

-Employ students to translate UMSU and university documents, ensuring all
students have access to materials in their preferred language. – Push for election reform, advocating for online elections, tackling aggressive
campaigning, including affirmative action for non-binary students.

3. Prioritising safety on campus for ALL students, no matter their background
– Establish a focus on BIPOC/Queer safety, especially on underrepresented
issues like stalking and intimate partner violence – Demand institutionalised consequences for perpetrators, – Lobby for trauma informed care that treats survivors as humans, not just
paperwork

Building our Community Student communities are fractured by the pandemic. Many of us are back home, and those of us in Melbourne are isolated from our friends and public spaces. UMSU needs to step forward and connect with students in these chaotic times. We will:
1. Provide additional support and resources to small clubs
– Increase grant funding – Develop free online event resources, – Dedicate extra promotional resources to smaller clubs
2. Create additional opportunities for students to connect with each-other
– Establish faculty and course based study groups – Host regular evening social gaming events – Offer opportunities for online volunteering for students
3. Equip students with their working rights and increase advocacy
– Lead an investigation into student wage theft on campus – Strengthen student ties with staff by hosting fundraisers for NTEU strike  funds – staff working conditions are student learning conditions! – Establish a work ready program that educates students on their work rights,  and provide professional clothing for students who cannot afford it.

Fighting for our Community
Students need a Union that fights for their rights and interests, acknowledging their varied experiences and needs. This diversity is reflected in Community. Our many experienced candidates come from marginalised groups largely neglected by the University. Together, we will:

1. Demand Housing Support and create a Student Tenants Unions
– Extend rent bursaries and employ a Housing Security Coordinator – Push for free public transport to make housing options in suburban communities more feasible for students
2. Combat racism, transphobia, and misogyny at the University
– Develop a counter-course handbook alerting students about
racist/transphobic/queerphobic subjects – Create and enforce mandatory anti-racism workshops for staff and an
anti-discrimination policy – Lobby for psychologists of colour to provide professional mental health support
3. Develop environmental infrastructure
– Launching an environmental clubs support network, building an empowered and
grassroots campaign for climate justice – Engaging trade unions to push a Green New Deal, climate action NOW, and a just
transition for all workers

We have a vision for our student community. A community that fights for a better UMSU, and a better university.

UMSU has the potential to drastically improve the quality of life of all students. It just needs the fresh ideas, innovative strategies, and competent people to get us there.

Our community deserves better. Vote[1] Community in all positions, for a student union that will fight with you, not just for you.
For more information, visit communityforumsu.com!

FEE REMISSION NOW!

Uni this year has been a fucking joke. We’re expected to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a couple of Zooms a week. And now the government wants to privatise education even more. They’re doubling the cost of an arts degree and gutting funding for all students. Science students are paying for “labs” where you watch someone else do a prac over Zoom or video. We know what the Liberals’ model of education looks like. RMIT is going to have huge classes and online lectures even after the pandemic ends. Obviously class has to be online until the pandemic is over. But why should students have to pay for it while Melbourne Uni execs earn a total of $26 million and the uni has reserves of $74 million??? Vote Fee Remissions Now! We’ll fight for this year’s fees to be refunded for all students.

INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Hey pals! We’re Pavani, Lauren, Elmira and Ailish, and we’re running to be your Media Officer Bearers (OBs) in 2021. We’ve been extensively involved with the department in the past and bring diverse skills and lived experiences to this position. Pavani (she/her) is a second-year international student committed to making the department more representative of the student body it serves. Lauren (she/her) is a third-year Media, English and French student dedicated to growing ‘media’ in all its forms: print, audio-visual and online. Elmira (she/her) is a second-year Fine Arts (painting) student with a passion for pushing boundaries of design and accessibility to campuses beyond Parkville. Ailish (she/her) is a third-year Politics & Media major on a mission to create more publication opportunities for students. We recognise that 2020 was a turning-point for media, and our experiences this year shape our 2021 vision. As OBs, we have four main goals. First, we will make media more accessible to all students, primarily by expanding our online presence. We will revamp the Farrago and Fodder websites as well as organise a more frequent upload schedule to showcase student work outside traditional print cycles. Second, we are passionate about stimulating engagement from all aspects of the student community. We intend to partner closely with satellite campuses, and collaborate with various faculties, UMSU departments, and societies. Third, we want to showcase media in all its forms, with a revived focus on audio, audio-visual and social media-based content. Finally, we consider student media our home, and are determined to foster this community spirit. We want to provide contributors with individualized support, host free educational workshops and cross-team meetups, and nurture autonomous spaces where BIPOC contributors can collectively discuss their specific needs. For an independent and inclusive Media Department, Vote [1] Independent Media!

INDEPENDENTS FOR STUDENT DEMOCRACY

The Independents for Student Democracy (ISD) has been involved in the student elections since 2019. The ISD is a group of students passionate about democracy and promoting student wellbeing and community/clubs experience on campus. As a ticket, the ISD aims to support students from various backgrounds and perspectives to contest student elections and get an experience of the civic process, and to serve the student community. Democracy is a great thing, allowing us to express our views and choose our own leaders based on who best represents our interests and values. This requires people to get involved, both to vote and to stand for election. This is what motivated the founding of the ISD. For people reading this, I would encourage you to consider founding your own ticket in 2021 or otherwise getting involved in student democracy. It is a great experience and helps contribute to a healthy democratic process and more representative student union.

Principles of the Independents for Student Democracy include:
• Democracy (promote student engagement in decisions that affect them,
including voter turnout)
• Clubs and Community (more money for clubs, increase the grant cap
for larger clubs)
• Independence (candidates or elected representatives are free to bring
their own perspective on issues)

STAND UP!

Now, more than ever, University of Melbourne students need a union that is progressive, will fight for their rights and make real change. We’ve already seen the impacts of COVID-19 and we know that 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for students all around the globe. The Federal Government continues to push towards fee deregulation while also lowering the support available for students. Despite the unprecedented stresses and anxiety students faced, the University didn’t listen. They didn’t listen when students asked for a WAM amnesty, more flexible special consideration and financial support to make studies easier. The University didn’t listen when students asked for fee remission, nor are they fighting the government’s cruel cuts to education.

On campus, our student union has been working to represent and advocate for studentsm on these issues. But we can’t tackle these issues alone. When students come together that’s when we can stand up and fight for the rights of all students. This is when we win. This year we have already won a year long WAM amnesty, the Emergency Support Fund for students and changes to special consideration during Covid-19. But the fight isn’t over yet, we’re still fighting for fee relief, the protection of students in university housing, for a more robust and flexible support fund for students facing financial hardship and many more issues. That’s why we want to keep representing you in 2021, to keep up the fight!

We believe in an inclusive, accessible and safe campus for all students. We want to continue to fight for free and accessible education, for representation of marginalised groups, against staff and funding cuts, for safety on campus and for your rights at work. We know that students should be able to feel safe, supported, and included for the best university experience. It’s not just about getting the grades but about how we can support you every day while at university.In 2020, we have seen renewed

attacks on higher education by the Federal Government. Our Education Department will continue to work with the National Union of Students to fight these attacks which affect domestic and international students. We will also fight for equitable support for international students, who are often left out of government support packages despite already paying hefty fees. We will fight to make all textbooks and readers at the university made freely available for students. With online learning in play, we plan to push for developing a peer tutoring database where students can easily link to different study groups, peer assistants and tutor services. And of course we will keep up the fight for more accessible special consideration, lecture and
seminar recordings for all subjects, for the inclusion of 2020 results in MDHS admissions, and more.

This year Stand Up! OBs led the No Cuts Campaign against staff and funding cuts at the university. We are ready to keep up the fight into 2021 fighting alongside our comrades in the NTEU. Staff working conditions are student learning conditions. In the Welfare Department, we will continue to run popular events like Stress Less Week and Free Breakfast service. In these hard financial times, we also want to expand the food bank to include more necessities as well as food such as sanitary and hygiene products, toiletries, cutlery and face masks. In 2021, we will bring back the Safer Partying Initiative including pill testing kits forvital harm reduction. And of course, we will continue to fight for the rights of students in university housing and to improve
CAPS at the university.

In the Women’s Department we will launch our Empowerment Project which aims to give women and non-binary students the knowledge, skills and confidence to end cultures of misogyny and sexism on campus and broader society through student run
workshops, discussion groups and guest speaker events. We will continue our Safety on Campus Campaign, demanding a prevention-based approach, advocating for a therapeutic response and working directly with students to create a safer campus culture.

In the POC Department we have a plan to improve the mental health and wellbeing of students of colour through the improvement of the CAPS service. These will include advocating for changes such as creating prioritised cases for students of colour, extending the free sessions available, improving diversity and representation in the staffing of CAPS, allowing students of colour to see a councillor of colour and organising an autonomous mental health support program. We also want to create an UMSU Anti-Racism Working Group, similar to the Sexual Assault and Harassment Working Group
created in 2020 by the Women’s Department.

Our candidates for the Queer department will keep the Queer space independent, activist, safe, inclusive, accessible and decolonial. They will make diversity within the queer community front and center, taking into account everyone’s different lived
experiences.

Students with Disabilities are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. It is therefore essential that this department puts these voices front and center to create a genuinely accessible campus. Online learning has demonstrated the university can cater to able-body students when they are disadvantaged, and with phenomenal wins like WAMnesty there’s no reason this generosity can’t be extended when we return to campus.

We are committed to continuing our thriving, supportive collective community through our autonomous departments. We also wish to ensure that these spaces are not just safe places to socialise but also places where students who wish to organise and engage in activism can do so. Supporting our diverse community is at the heart of so much of the work we do at UMSU.

There’s so much more policy we wish we could share with you here and we are so excited about our vision for 2021. Head to our Facebook page Stand Up! For UMSU for more detailed information about our policy and individual department plans. If you’d like to get in touch and hear more about our policy: bit.ly/StandUpInfo

Let’s keep up the fight!

STUDENT RESISTANCE

Student Resistance is a coalition of activists and anticapitalists on campus. We fight for education rights, the environment, and social justice every day of the year. We’re running because we want UMSU to stand in the best traditions of radical student
unionism and take a stand against every instance of injustice and inequality.

Fight fee hikes. Free education now!
The Liberal government and the Vice Chancellors of universities around the country are taking advantage of the economic crisis to implement historic attacks on university staff and students. The Liberals have announced dramatic fee hikes that will increase the cost of humanities degrees by 113% and law and commerce degrees by 28%. This is the latest step in the ongoing neoliberalization of higher education. Universities are becoming increasingly two-tiered, with the children of the ruling class able to study what they like while the rest of us are expected to get a degree that will make us ‘job ready’.

We also need to fight the corporate head of our own university. Duncan Maskell has attempted to push through massive staff wage cuts. We stood shoulder to shoulder with staff in successfully resisting that attack, but we know the battle isn’t over. Most recently, he has announced that 450 staff will be sacked. Melbourne University is the richest university in the country, with a Vice Chancellor who earns a seven figure salary. They will use any opportunity to screw over staff and students and increase their profits.

Our ticket contains all the experienced and leading student activists who have fought every single attempt by both Liberal and Labor governments to cut education funding and increase our fees. We’ve consistently organised mass, militant demonstrations
fighting for free education. We’ll organise, strike and march with all students for free, accessible and quality education.
We demand the university:
-Offer all students fee remissions
-Sack rich execs, not staff!
-End rampant casualisation
We demand the government:
-Drop all attacks on the cost and quality of education
-Fund free education

Stand Against Racism!

Thee digusting and brutal murder of George Floyd by police has inspired, radical and defiant anti-racist demonstrations in every corner of the globe. The American uprising against racism has shaken the system to its very core, inspiring riots, strikes, occupations and street marches for months on end.

In our country, First Nations people are routinely harassed, beaten, arrested and killed in custody by police officers. Indigenous land is plundered for massive mining projects, and sacred sites are destroyed. Only a movement of the scale and calibre of what we are seeing in America right now can even begin to challenge the racism of the system.

Across the country, activists associated with our ticket have organised some of the largest and most inspiring protests against the racist celebration of invasion day. We helped found and continue to lead the Campaign Against Racism &Fascism, which has repeatedly pushed back against the racist far right when they have attempted to organise on the streets. We want a student union that will unashamedly stand with Indigenous people, refugees, international students and all people of colour oppressed by the system of capitalism.

We demand the university:
-Offer free degrees to refugee students
– Increase the number of subjects that deal with race, Indigeneity, and historical battles
for social justice
We demand the government:
-Defund Victoria Police
-Free the refugees

Climate justice now!
Capitalism is destroying the planet. The system’s endless search for profit has led to rising melting ice caps, rising oceans, and extreme floods. The unprecedented bushfires that ravaged Australia over summer revealed the dire reality of the climate crisis.
Extreme events like this are going to become the ‘new normal’ globally. Amidst this crisis, support for coal, gas and oil is bipartisan politics in Australia. The government is set for a gas-driven economy recovery, Dan Andrews lifted the moratorium on drilling for gas and the Adani coal mine is set to go ahead under Queensland Labor.

We need now more than ever to build a mass anti-capitalist climate movement to challenge this bipartisan environmental vandalism. Uni Students for Climate Justice, an activist group we co-founded, organised over marches involving 100,000 against the Liberal’s criminal negligence in dealing with the bushfires. Last October, we argued for UMSU representatives to support a mass blockade of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC)- a gathering of the world’s worst climate criminals. At the start of this year, we organised a protest against Rio Tinto and Exxon Shell who were disgracefully invited to a job expo on campus.

We will use the position in UMSU to continue organising activism and protests in 2021 to force the University and the government to take climate action now! A fighting, activist student union is important to lead uni students in the fight for climate justice.

We demand the university:
-Withdraw its financial support from the International Mining Conference and Resource
conference
-Divest from fossil fuels
-End all collaboration with Rio Tinto & Boeing

We demand the government:
-Stop Adani
-Implement a just transition to 100% renewables
-End all coal and gas projects
End student poverty!

For years students have been unable to live with any dignity off minimal and prohibitive government payments. Now, the federal government is planning to slash the coronavirus supplement by more than half on the 28th of September. This will throw millions of workers and students back into poverty. Meanwhile, international students, long treated
as cash cows by the government and universities alike, have been denied any meaningful access to support and left in the lurch.

Student Resistance demands that welfare be increased, not slashed. We’re committed to use the welfare position to turn the student union into an activist body to fight the government whenever they try to throw students into the gutters.

We demand the government:
-Raise Jobseeker and Youth Allowance permanently
-Extend welfare payments to international students and migrant workers.
We demand the university:
-Dramatically expand hardship funds for students facing unemployment and poverty

 

VVHOLESOME

I’m Memes, You’re Memes: The main point of VVholesome is memes and having fun. We want to ensure that election is fun and you also have fun. Memes is our lord and saviour and we should always appreciate them.

But Also Serious: In the same vein, we believe that UMSU elections is an important part to ensure that the student union is run properly by the people that the students choose to be elected. If any of our member get elected, we will either resign to allow better people to run the union or satisfy the responsibilities that we are given. We believe that our candidates are amazing people that will do the best for UMSU to become a better union

Student Votes: We believe that every student votes’ matter. With the low turnout rate of UMSU election, it’s important to let people know that they should vote in UMSU election!

Student Union: We believe that student union is a good idea, however, since it’s being funded by SSAF, the expenditure should be spent wisely.

Progressive: Change is good and will ensure that students get the best they could

Reasonable: Being reasonable is important so changes will happen, even slowly.

Balance: Perfectly balanced, as all things should be

Transparent: We believe that all tickets and UMSU should be transparent to ensure that the election as well as UMSU’s future operation are trusted.

Critical: Being critical with all statements from all sides, including all tickets are important. 

Representation: Since UMSU is being funded by SSAF, which is paid by ALL students, it’s important for UMSU to represent all students within the university. By listening to students’ voices, UMSU will become better than ever.

Merit: We believe that the people who get elected should have some merit to why they get elected. To become the best union, the best people for the position should be selected.

Respect: Respecting everyone and their voices are important. Criticism is good, but intimidation is not.

Discussion: Having a discussion with all students is important to ensure one faction doesn’t dominate the whole population

Free Speech: Free speech, in most situation, as long as it doesn’t promote violence, should be respected. We will ensure that criticism towards our ticket is not ignored or deleted and we believe that all tickets should do the same.

More? More!: We do have more to say, but I have an assignment due soon so this will be all the policy statement there is. If you have any question, please message any of us! Thank you!


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