Words by Justine Cerna

Every month the elected student body meets to discuss the business of the UWA Student Guild, elect new members, and pass potential motions. 

This report details the happenings of the second UWA Student Guild committee meeting held on January 26th, 2022. It should be noted that the UWA Student Guild does not recognise this date – Australia Day – as a public holiday. 

 

Guild Council Meeting – January 26th, 2022 

Meeting commenced 

Director’s Report  

Tony Goodman, Managing Director of the Guild, addresses two pressing issues presenting as UWA prepares for the 2022 academic year to begin:   

  • A delay in the financial reviews, which will hopefully be addressed at the next monthly meeting in a 2-month combined report and;  
  • UWA opening, following state government policy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about the Omicron variant.   
  • Currently developing a process that will be in place to ensure all people who enter UWA are double vaccinated to ensure the safety of staff and students.   
  • Reports the university’s stance is to abide by-law, which requires the community to get booster shots when eligible.  
  • Acknowledges the need for a safe O-Day regime and a process to deal with Omnicron once classes begin and preparations for online learning for worst-case scenarios (lock-down).   

Business from the Executive + Motions (OPERATIONS) = How are we going to fill these chairs? 

The 109th Guild Council Executive accepts the resignations of elected Education Council President, Jasmine Hensley and Women’s Officer, Esther Nixon. Motions are passed and effective immediately.  

  • With these early resignations, the Council has found there is no recommended practice for electing candidates to take up these vacant positions.  
  • In the interim, the 109th Guild Committee has appointed Julia Aguiñot as Acting Education Council President and Samantha Eadie to be Acting Women’s Officer.  
  • Some pointed questions from the floor were asked regarding the selection process for Acting positions, which further highlights the need for the Guild to establish a protocol for filling vacated seats. There are concerns that the wider committee was not consulted regarding this – could other candidates have been offered the position? Why weren’t they?
  • The Guild Council acknowledges the lack of precedent and offers explanations as to why Ms Eadie and Anguiñot were picked – they are on the executive team, have relevant experience and have the capacity to take the role in the short term. There currently is no direction requiring the Council to return to ballot count to offer the positions to the runner up.   
  • The Council refers to the previous direction, which suggests a recommendation process not yet fully outlined.   

 Motions (Representation)  

“8.2 The 109th Guild Council:    

  1. Will work with the University to find solutions to welcome international students back to campus in a safe manner.   
  2. Calls upon the State Government to reconsider its border closure policies to allow International Students to enter WA safely.   
  3. Calls upon UWA to accommodate the adjustments needed by students to alter their study arrangements after the announcement.  
  4. Encourages all clubs and Departments to continue to engage all offshore students through their social media platforms.”   

             Moved by Geemal Jayawickrama  

             Seconded by Charlotte Kennedy  

             Motion passed unanimously.  

University’s case in appeal to State Government officially supported by the Student Guild. 

Exemption clause (b.) is substantiated by majority compliance with vaccination requirements amongst international students.  In the meantime, Geemal asks everyone to consider the difficulties of online learning, with education quality and experience significantly hindered by asynchronous communication and old resources.    

“11.1 The 109th Guild Council:   

  1. Rejects the celebration of Australia Day and stands in solidarity with WASAC and all First Nations students at the University of Western Australia.  
  2. Recognises January 26th as the beginning of a traumatic and painful history of the colonial oppression of Australia’s First Nations peoples.  
  3. Acknowledges the role that denial and ignorance plays in exacerbating intergenerational trauma.  
  4. Endorses the 2022 Perth Invasion Day rally held in Forrest Chase. Encourages UWA students to support WASAC events, Reconciliation Week, and NAIDOC Week.” 

             Moved by Aidan Mansfield 

             Seconded by Daniel Roden 

             Reason for lateness: Consultation with the School of Indigenous Studies 

  • Motion to remove WASAC from the motion as the Council has not been able to speak with them directly.   
  • Motion to amend 11.1 to incorporate actions that the university could take to meaningfully execute this motion.   
    • Discussion centred on what the Guild’s stance should be – to change the date or abolish it completely. Proposal to amend motion adding a new clause stating the Guild supports the abolition of Australian Day put forward.   
    • Proposal to delay the motion to properly discuss the matter, consulting the appropriate parties and make an informed decision on the Guild’s stance on changing/abolishing.   
    • Council seeks to abolish the date and intends to seek further guidance to bring the motion back in the short term. 

Motion without Notice: 

109th Guild Council protests the Federal Government’s Religious Discrimination Bill 2021. 

  • Motion for UWA Student Guild to sign an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison establishing stance against the Bill.   

Meeting concluded 

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