Words by Justine Cerna
Meeting notes by Jelena Kovacevic
Every month the elected student body meets to discuss the business of the UWA Student Guild. This report details the happenings of the UWA Student Guild Committee meeting held on July 27th, 2022.
Talking points included the resignations of UWA Student Guild Council Office Bearers and Ordinary Guild Officers (OCGs), appointments of Office Bearers and OGCs, mid-year budget changes, and new projects and positions. Those convened revisited the Council’s position on climate change – an important issue for UWA’s students. General business discussion under 16.2 approached the nuances of gender-diverse representation and underscored gender-inclusive language in SOCPAC spaces.
- WELCOME AND OPENING
The meeting commenced with an acknowledgment of country by Rashdina Ramli (RR)
COUNCILLOR RESIGNATIONS AND APPOINTMENTS
Amitabh Jeganathan (AJ) moves to skip to BUSINESS FROM THE EXECUTIVE (10.1 to 10.8 inclusive) before the Managing Director’s and Finance reports, which passes. This addresses the suite of resignations from certain offices and consequent appointments.
See motions pertaining to resignations and appointments below.
- DIRECTOR’S REPORT
6.1 MANAGING DIRECTOR
Tony Goodman (TG) zoomed through the Director’s report. He briefly touched on the ongoing adjustments staff are making in response to COVID-19. Informs Council that Risk and Ordinances meeting is next month. On this front, the Guild is struggling as catering outlets are understaffed.
Nominations for the Guild Election open on the 1st of August (now closed). The Student Representative Code is now available to running students, so they know what “they are signing up for.”
On a positive note, the Student Legal Advice Centre is being worked on and will soon be added to the university system, and UWA’s UDUB Radio is now live. Marketing on UDUB Radio will pass through soon to clubs and societies to inform the wider student body.
“RTRfm (92.1) is a UWA radio station that shows potential. Do embrace it”
He thanks Aidan Mansfield (AM) for his contributions as Vice President and wishes him the best. His resignation is addressed in Motions with Notice (Operations) under 10.3.
Results in catering are better but still below budget. Legal and Consultancy costs will be done at the end of the year. Otherwise, reports that the Guild is running a very tight ship. Staff departments are all below budget right now.
“Most departments are tracking on budget except for the Residential Students Department (RSD), who now have a plan to make up for excessive expenditure.”
- QUESTION TIME – STUDENT REPORTS
9.1 Geemal Jayawickrama (GJ) of the International Students Department (ISD) to the Ethnocultural Department:
- Ethnocultural calendar is a duplication of resources. UWA has all the religious dates and community holidays; ISD and Guild have already worked on this.
- Adam Elyousef (AE) of Ethnocultural Department concurs that they have received a lot of holidays not on the Guild Calendar. The department is trying to be as inclusive as possible.
It appears to be a case of overlap in responsibilities. The Guild Diary does include important dates from Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, but misses some cultural dates.
- ISD successfully organised one of the biggest welcome events for international students on campus – Botanical Picnic with ISD – on the 14th of July.
- Additionally: “We have secured extensions for all Sri Lankan students on campus – this was the biggest thing for ISD.”
AE to GJ regarding the ISD Elections and vacant positions:
- GJ says there is an application process that potential candidates must go through. In the meantime, they have appointed an interring vice president and general secretary.
9.2 Narendra Gammanpila (NG) to Access Department regarding special funding
- Dana Fung (DF) responds, clarifying they wanted funding for special projects, activities, and functions. With the money, they can fund up to four students with special considerations for Access Week. If they get funding from other sources, they could fund up to twenty.
Melani De Alwis (MDA) from Access directed a comment to the Executive, querying the exclusion of Access to Student Wellbeing Meetings held this month. AJ says: “This was not out of spite,” and that he and Sapphire Carter (Welfare Department) think Access’ concerns would be better directed to UniAccess. AJ recommends that Access can also contact Lisa Goldacre of Success and Wellbeing, Student Life at UWA.
9.3 Charlotte Kennedy (CK) reports: “[Regarding UDUB] everything is ready for launch: music, subscriptions, and website. They are holding off on advertising until they are properly licensed.
- AJ encourages student artists to submit their art.
- BUSINESS FROM THE EXECUTIVE
All motions were moved by Amitabh Jeganathan and seconded by Narendra Gammanpila. Commentary and debate included were significant.
10.1 The 109th Council terminates the position of OGC for Louis Cheng effective immediately due to inactivity and a lack of attendance at councils, in standing with the regulations.
- AJ: “Regulations specify that if you miss three consecutive council meetings without apology, then your position is terminated. These are the rules.”
- AE: “Louis has had personal circumstances preventing his attendance and there should be a welfare check on him.”
10.2 The 109th Council approves the appointment of Anushka Mukherjee to the position of OGC.
- AJ: “Anushka and Louis are both international students, so it is an appropriate replacement.”
- This nomination is contested by Doug Jackson, who is nominated by Adam Elyousef and Melani De Alwis.
AE reminds the council of regulations for casual vacancies and mentions due process includes the questioning of council members to nominees. Tony Goodman acts as Returning Officer, overseeing the following speeches and nominations.
Chair of Council Rashdina Ramli (RR) allows nominees and those in favour to speak.
Anushka introduces herself as an international student, as well as the welfare officer for ISD, bystander trainer for ISD, and Access international rep: “I have the experience to back myself up for the position.”
She would love to get further experience in Access training. Ideas off the top of her head: She wants to work with the environment department and do textbook swaps. She has “intention” and “wants the right things for students.”
Doug thanks MDA and AE for the nomination. He brings a “wealth of experience”. He was not active in his first year but has been a senior socials rep since and now is an ordinary committee member for the Arts Union. He is also a proxy for NUS and Council. He is from the Shire of Peppermint Grove. He believes not having a STAR representative replaced by someone from the same party would “subvert” the student will.
Julia Aguinot (JA): “What could you do to carry on Louis’ work?”
Anushka responds by saying she would need to know what the job entails and how much commitment is attached. She currently works with UWA future students and has experience with it.
Doug says he is keen to get involved in “anything” and that having diverse voices is important; plus, he has seen things that both have and haven’t worked in the past.
The Council moves to a vote to decide between the two candidates. Anushka wins OGC. She is congratulated and shook Geemal’s hand.
Doug leaves the meeting.
10.3 The 109th Council accepts the resignation of Aidan Mansfield from the position of VP of Guild and OGC effective immediately and recognises the hard work Aidan has put in throughout the year.
- AJ: Aidan has started a JD at UniMelb and is working as an intern at a law firm, so he cannot commit to the role of VP. “He has done incredible work in the first six months of the year.”
- AE: What has Aidan achieved?
- AJ: “Aidan has had his hand in everything. Parking, Student Legal Advice Centre, and changes to election regulations are just some things he has achieved.”
- GJ: As ISD President, he has received a lot of support from Aidan.
- NG: Aidan helped with the Lyn Beazley institute. He has worked hard.
10.4 The 109th Council approves the appointment of Jasmine Hensley to the position of OGC.
- (AJ): “Jasmine was voted into Ed Council president with a huge amount of support. Students are keen for her to be involved, and her personal reasons for stepping back have now been mitigated; however, she could not make today’s council meeting.”
10.5 The 109th Council accepts the resignation of Tanisha Kothari from the position of OGC due to personal reasons.
10.6 The 109th Council approves the appointment of Kushagra Rathore to the position of OGC.
10.7 The 109th Council accepts the resignation Misha Riaz from the position of OGC due to personal reasons.
10.8 The 109th Council approves the appointment of Lara Dale to the position of OGC.
- (AJ): Lara has been the SOC secretary and will bring “cool energy” to the council.
10.9 The 109th Council approves the appointment of Daniel Roden to the position of Deputy Chair.
12. MOTIONS ON NOTICE (OPERATIONS)
12.1 The 109th Council approves the mid-year budget subject to the amendment that SOC, Enviro, and PSA transfer $500 to the Access department for AUSLAN classes.
Moved by Narendra Gammanpila (NG)
Seconded by Amitabh Jeganathan (AJ)
- (MDA): “AUSLAN should be accepted as a language that should be practised. AUSLAN classes should be practised this semester. She hopes the qualifications can be given to students both hard and not hard of hearing.
- Dana Fung (DF) proposes an amendment to the motion “transfers $500 each to the Access Department.”
12.2 The 109th Council endorses the formation of the Student Legal Advice Centre (SLAC) and approves the SLAC budget of $9,628.
Moved by AJ
Seconded by NG
- (AJ): “The idea came from Joey Chan – former Guild member and president of Blackstone. At the time of his proposal, it was outside of the budget capacity of the Guild. SLAC will provide services to students who work, international students who need help with their visas, etc. This service will be immensely helpful.”
- Why has this council been able to do this, and other councils haven’t?
AJ: The idea came back this year, and people realised it would be a valuable service. Speaking of the genuine need for SLAC: “Many students on a survey felt that the service was something they would need. We will trial the program this year and hope the next council can keep it going afterwards.”
- (AE): Will people in the system be paid?
AJ: SLAC will facilitate CBD training for law students wishing to earn community service credits – they will not be paid. Volunteering is expected as part of their degree.
12.3 The 109th Guild Council approves the permanent position of Associate Director Innovation to be created and that current staff member Chloe Bull be appointed.
Moved by AJ
Seconded by NG
- MOTION WITHOUT NOTICE (REPRESENTATION)
15.1 The 109th council:
15.1.1 Acknowledges the causal relationship between climate change and natural disasters occurring all over the world, and not limited to: Floods in NSW and Eastern States. Wildfires in Alaska, California and across the United States. Wildfires across Europe
15.1.2 Acknowledges that working-class people are disproportionately affected by natural disasters (especially heatwaves) and suffer in unsafe workplaces with inadequate air-conditioning and services.
15.1.3 Acknowledges the 2021 State of the Climate Report, which highlights the need for immediate action on climate change to save the environment.
15.1.4 Condemns the delay in the report’s release date to avoid national outrage amid the previous federal election.
15.1.5 Condemns the Federal Government’s new 43% renewable target, which is seriously inadequate in addressing the climate catastrophe.
15.1.6 In consultation with the Curtin Student Guild, host a National Day of Action on Climate on August 5th at Forest Place, affirming the demands outlined by the National Union of Students:
220.127.116.11 Real zero emissions by 2035
18.104.22.168 No new coal, gas, or oil
22.214.171.124 100% publicly owned renewable energy
126.96.36.199 Tax the billionaires to fund a just transition for affected workers
188.8.131.52 Land, not mining rights protect ecosystems and stop logging native forests
Moved by (GJ)
Seconded by (NM)
- (GJ) says future leaders have a responsibility to do their part. “Students should be the change they want to see in the world.”
- (NM) reports on the consensus of a conference held in early July that there has been a lack of climate change action around the world: “We have a role to play as students in fighting for that to be better. People need to attend protests. Climate change and action need to be the number one issue for students.”
- (AE) reminds the council that Indigenous people and those in rural areas will be most impacted. Indigenous Australians are often cut off from services. It’s not just supporting. It’s advocating that students should attend the protest on August 5th. He is communicating with WASAC in writing a piece on the impact of climate change on First Nations people.
Question time & Debate:
Kaelin Abrahams (KA) proposes amendments to 15.1.5 to instead read “Encourages the government to build upon the 43% target”. (NG) seconds the motion.
- (NM) is willing to compromise and change the wording to “inadequate”.
- (KA) is thankful to (NM) for moving to try to find the middle ground. To substantiate their suggestion: “More than 10 years ago, Kevin Rudd was elected on the basis that there would be a carbon scheme. There was still climate denial back then. The carbon tax was repealed, and the climate wars began because the Liberal Party kept repealing. It’s called negative language. To condemn Labor’s 43% is wrong. We should encourage the government to move from this point.”
Alevine Magila (AM) and NM against KA’s amendment
- AM: “43% by Labor is inadequate. If new coal and gas projects expand, Labor will not work on climate. [Look at] Labor cooperation with Adani. McGowan has been overseeing the Scarborough gas project. Labor’s policy is “abysmal”, and Labor’s target is a “fig leaf”. We want original wording to be retained.”
- NM: Happy to say: “The target is inadequate and condemns Labor’s partiality to the fossil fuel industry. Wording is important, and it should “absolutely criticise Labor’s policies. The Guild should take a stand on this.”
(KA) is not satisfied with this counter to the amendment.
The council moves to a vote on (KA) original amendment. The vote fails.
The council moves to a vote on the original motion with NM change. There is a majority in favour.
The motion passes.
16. GENERAL BUSINESS
16.1 SECURITY – SAFETY ON CAMPUS AND SAFEZONE
In light of 2021, NSSS and general public concern regarding interpersonal safety, the university acknowledged the need for effective safety measures. The ‘SafeZone’ app – which provides students with the means to request escorts or lifts across campus grounds – has been launched. The university encourages Guild clubs to promote the app on their pages.
Security reports lighting has been improved, and they have installed more security cameras. To allow (via the Guild) cooperation on the matter, council members and office bearers were given the opportunity to provide input on actions and ask security questions.
Council expressed concern regarding the ”negative” connotations of ‘safety’ and asked if it could be renamed. Access highlighted the struggle of people with physical disabilities. Responding to the latter, security specified that ‘SafeZone’ is to be used in instances of feeling unsafe and suggested that in day-to-day movements, UniAccess would be more appropriate.
16.2 GENDER DIVERSE REPRESENTATION AND INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE
Pride Department’s Parastoo Javid (PJ) and Chloe Bryant (CB) of the Women’s Department acknowledge the issues for appropriate representation for gender-diverse individuals. Both officers will attend the next SOCPAC (Society’s Council + Public Affairs) meeting to discuss the issue.
Whilst noting the presence of non-binary people in the Women’s Department space, PJ makes a point that “including non-binary people in discussions with women doesn’t favour non-binary people and excludes masculine presenting non-binary people.” Women’s (or any other department, society, or club) should be careful to not conflate the varied presentation (and associated lived experience) now present on campus, and anyone wishing to include non-binary people in their events should be mindful of this.
The meeting closes at 9:47 pm.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 31st of August at 6:00 pm.