Every month the student representatives meet to discuss the business of the UWA Student Guild. This report details the happenings of the Student Guild Council meeting held on Wednesday, 19th March , 2023. Discussion concerned the Guild’s new Masterplan, the replacement of Boost Juice with Tutti Frutti at the Ref, and support for students hit the hardest by the rental crisis.
Readers can find the meeting agenda here. If an amendment is considered ‘friendly’ by the council member who initiated the motion the amendment is accepted. If an amendment is ‘non-friendly’ the amendment has to be voted on by the whole committee to be accepted.
5.0 BUSINESS COMPLETED VIA CIRCULAR
5.1 The 110th Guild Council approves the updates and changes to the RSD Regulations which have been applied to improve the functionality and efficiency of the Department, including the addition of 3 OCMs, as recommended by the Governance Committee.
5.2 The 110th Guild Council:
5.2.1 Endorses the protests called by the National Union of Students (NUS) Queer/LGBTQIA+ Department against the speaking tour of UK-based anti-transgender activist Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker.
5.2.2 Affirms the right of transgender people to be recognised as their identified gender and condemns ongoing attacks against trans people globally by transphobes and the far-right.
5.2.3 Calls on students to participate in the national campaign against Keen’s speaking tour across Australia by attending the protest in Perth on March 14, 11:30am at Solidarity Park outside Parliament House, and
5.2.4 Commits to promote the protest through official Guild channels, such as social media, emails, digital noticeboards, etc.
5.3 The 110th Guild Council accepts the resignation of Meghana Maganti from the Young Leaders’ Council (YLC) committee.
Robert Whitehurst moved a procedural motion to accept all motions passed via circular. Motion passed.
12.0 MOTIONS ON NOTICE (OPERATIONS)
12.1 The 110th Guild Council approves the new Advance Payment Policy for Guild staff, as recommended by the Strategic Resources Committee.
Under this policy staff can seek up to $2000 in advance once every six months. Advances have to be approved by the relevant director and only if the application meets certain conditions. “This is not a loan”, and staff will have the relevant amount docked from their salary, says Tony Goodman, managing director of the Guild.
12.2 The 110th Guild Council approves the new Tenant Business Case for Tutti Frutti, as recommended by the Strategic Resources Committee.
Tutti Frutti (a frozen yoghurt store) will replace Boost Juice in the Refectory. Geemal is a fan of the strawberry flavour.
12.3 The 110th Guild Council approves the 2023 Election timetable.
12.4 The 110th Guild Council requests the Managing Director write to the WAEC in order to conduct the 2023 Annual General Elections for the UWA Student Guild & NUS.
13.0 MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE (OPERATIONS)
13.1 The 110th Guild Council congratulates the PROSH team, led by Paris and Matt, for a successful PROSH.
13.2 The 110th Guild Council approves and accredits the election of the Albany Students’ Association that occurred on Friday the 24th of March.
Kaelin Abrahams: There’ll be an Albany rep at council meetings for the first time since the start of the COVID period.
14.0 MOTIONS ON NOTICE (REPRESENTATION)
14.1 The 110th Guild Council:
14.1.1 Wishes all Muslim UWA students a Ramadan Kareem, extending our support to those fasting away from their families during their overseas studies,
14.1.2 Encourages UWA students who are away from their families that are fasting to interact with the Muslim Students’ Association, the Ethnocultural & International Students’ Departments for support during Ramadan, and to reach out to the Guild’s support services for extra support,
14.1.3 Directs the University to work with relevant Guild Departments to cater to the needs of the students whose assessments (e.g. quizzes, tests, assessments) coincide with religious celebrations, and
14.1.4 Supports the upcoming Grand Open Air Community Iftar’ hosted by the Ethnocultural Department and the Muslim Students’ Association on March 31st.
Moved: Alejandro Villa Gomez
Seconded: Alex Knowles
Holly Mellor proposes an amendment to remove motion 14.1.3. She argues that special consideration is already provided for students whose study is disrupted by religious events and practices. (Non-friendly, rejected).
Holly Mellor then proposes an alternative amendment, which would change the wording of 14.1.3 to instead say “Directs the University to continue their ongoing work with relevant…” (Friendly).
Holly Mellor suggests an amendment to motion 14.1 to add “…reaffirms its stance as outlined in Motion 15.1 of the March 30th meeting of the 109th Guild Council and as follows:” (Friendly).
Viknash VM proposes an amendment to add motion 14.1.5, which says “Directs the Ethnocultural Department and International Student Department to share a guide as to how students can get adjustments during the month and broadly.” (Friendly).
Charlotte Kennedy proposes an amendment to motion 14.1 to:
- Add a mention of other religions whose followers may be going through periods of fasting as well as Muslims. (Non-Friendly, rejected).
- Change the wording of 14.1.1 to read as “…, as well as students from other religions celebrating their own religious holidays,…” (Friendly).
14.2 The 110th Guild Council:
14.2.1 Commits to sharing the open letter to drop the charges on the UWA Guild Facebook and Instagram pages:
14.2.2 Commits to posting a public statement on its social media platforms demanding that the charges against Cherish be dropped,
14.2.3 Urges all office-bearers and members of the 110th Guild Council to sign the above open letter and share it, and
14.2.4 Endorses taking a solidarity photo with Cherish at the end of the current Guild Council meeting.
Moved: Sean Cheung
Seconded: Holly Mellor
Luke Alderslade proposes an amendment to remove 14.2.4. He argues that the photo should be taken at a time when more members of the Guild are present. (Friendly).
Geemal Jayawickrama proposes an amendment to the motion, to add the words “Stands in solidarity with Cherish Kuehlmann and…” to 14.2.1, (Friendly).
Kaelin Abrahams proposes an amendment to remove 14.2.2. This was a practical objection related to Guild social media practices. (Non-friendly, rejected). Holly Mellor proposes an alternative amendment to change 14.2.2 to instead say “Commits to posting a solidarity photo and a public statement on its social media platforms to show that the 110th Guild Council stands in solidarity with Cherish,”. (Friendly).
Cooper Mason speaks against the motion, arguing that Cherish did in fact trespass and broke the agreement between protestors and the police. Therefore, the charges against Cherish are fair.
14.3 The 110th Guild Council:
14.3.1 Recognises that the rental crisis is severely undermining the capacity of students, especially low-income and international students, to find a decent and affordable place to live,
14.3.2 Rebukes UWA management for its failure to organise adequate logistical and financial support to students who are struggling to find an affordable rental,
14.3.3 Calls on the McGowan state government to impose rent caps to relieve the pressure of housing costs on students and low-income earners, and
14.3.4 Endorses the ‘Get a Room—Students for Affordable Housing’ campaign and commits to preserving affiliated posters and other materials disseminated by campaign activists.
Moved: Sean Cheung
Seconded: Rutvi Timbadia
Geemal Jayawickrama proposes an amendment to remove the words “logistical and” from 14.3.2. (Friendly).
Ashley Lui proposes an amendment to replace the words “decent and affordable” with “suitable” in 14.3.1. (Friendly).
Rutvi Timbadia proposes an amendment to change 14.3.2 to instead say “Acknowledges the work UWA has done through the establishment of the Accommodation Concierge which has assisted close to 800 students in 2023 and would like to see more financial support given to students.” (Non-friendly, accepted).
14.4 The 110th Guild Council:
14.4.1 Condemns the AUKUS submarine deal as an escalation of an imperialist arms race and increase militarisation,
14.4.2 Denounces the acquisition of nuclear submarines as a step towards nuclear proliferation, which risks devastating environmental impacts and facilitating the development of nuclear weapons,
14.4.3 Recognises the AUKUS submarine deal as a gross abuse of taxpayers’ money, which should be spent on addressing the current cost-of-living crisis, and
14.4.4 Calls for Australia to withdraw from the AUKUS alliance to avoid being drawn into a US-China conflict.
Moved: Sean Cheung
Seconded: Holly Mellor
Holly Mellor speaks in favour of the motion. She argues that the government should be addressing the cost of living instead of spending so much money on these AUKUS submarines.
Holly then proposes an amendment to remove 14.4.4. (Non-friendly, accepted).
Cooper Mason speaks against the motion. He argues that this motion isn’t relevant to the Guild’s representation of students. He thinks that council meetings should be about achieving results and tangible benefits for students, not political distractions.
Luke Alderslade speaks against the motion. He argues that council meetings shouldn’t be about political point scoring and instead focus on issues that directly impact students.
Melani De Alwis speaks in favour of the motion. Given chronic funding cuts for the education sector, the submarine deal is a significant waste of taxpayer money.
Lara Dale speaks against the motion. She argues that the motion is more of a political stance than a student stance. The Guild should be emphasising issues relevant to students.
9.0 QUESTIONS TIME – Student Reports
Question for Robert Whitehurst from Luke Alderslade:
Luke notes that the Sports Rep, Liam Tubby, hasn’t been attending council meetings three times in a row and hasn’t been submitting reports. While he isn’t compelled to attend council meetings, Luke would like to check up on Liam.
Robert tells Luke that he will reach out to Liam about this. Geemal Jayawickrama says that Liam has been actively working, even if he hasn’t been attending council meetings.
Question for Bradley Carter from Luke Alderslade:
Luke asks about the appointment process for the new Enviro officer.
Bradley says that right after the resignation of Sophie (the previous Enviro officer) they got in contact with the marketing team about advertising the open position. They quickly received nominations and should select a new officer. This process “most definitely will be done by… two weeks [from now].”
Question for Holly Mellor:
Holly is asked about what the Education committee will do to address academic cheating and what progress has been made on this issue. Abuse of Chat-GPT in particular is of concern.
Holly says that their anti-cheating campaign has already begun and posts have been made on the Guild’s socials. The UWA marketing team and the libraries have expressed interest in collaborating on this campaign. A campaign against fraudulent medical certificates will be coming in the next few weeks.
Melani De Alwis says that the State Government has recently announced an independent review of the four public universities in WA. She says that one possible consequence of this process is a merger of some of the universities (as has happened in South Australia).
Geemal says that the UWA Senate weren’t informed about this until recently and the University doesn’t know anymore than the public does. He cautions against “jumping the gun” before details have been publicly announced.
Question for Alejandro Villa Gomez (the Ethnocultural officer) from Kaelin Abrahams:
Kaelin is critical of the Ethnocultural Committee’s behaviour during Harmony Week. He is concerned that there was only one event run for that week. There was a lack of social media marketing, and key attendants were late to this event.
Alejandro admits that the Committee failed to meet expectations and it was his fault. This “won’t happen again.”
16.0 GENERAL BUSINESS
16.1 TRCB – Masterplan Presentation
The Guild’s new Masterplan lays out a series of physical upgrades and new builds the Guild is looking to make around the Guild Village, Refectory, and Cameron Hall. The Masterplan is still a work in progress and hasn’t yet been approved or finalised.
The Guild intends to build a permanent ‘arbour’ (combined seating and stage area) on the edge of the Oak Lawn closest to the Refectory. This will include wheelchair accessible ramps and is meant to replace the ad-hoc, temporary platforms which frequently occupy Oak Lawn. According to the provided diagrams this could take up to a quarter of the existing Oak Lawn.
Part of the wall separating Oak Lawn from the car park will be knocked down to build wider, more accessible stairs. The Guild wants greater connection between the Swan River shore and UWA campus.
The Guild is planning to revitalise upper level spaces and will invest in new elevators at key locations. Cameron Hall is a priority as it is inaccessible and 95% non-compliant with modern standards.
The Guild Village courtyard, outside IGA, will be reworked. The existing trees and compost bins will remain, alongside some new lime trees. The staff member presenting this information, Laurence Lim, tells us he’s “at that age” that he enjoys composting. Light chuckles ensue.
There are twelve core ideas that will guide this Masterplan:
“The bones are good”, “Making it work for everyone”
“Clubs and hubs”, “Stay, stay, stay”
“Connecting it all up”, “Piano nobile”
“Small is beautiful”, “Partnering with the University”
“The Living Room”,”The welcome mat”
“A University town”, “Endemic garden landscapes”
16.2 World’s Greatest Shave
The Guild’s World’s Greatest Shave event is coming up and the Guild will be able to hold it for free. This means all the money raised at the event will go to charity.
16.3 UDUB Radio Presentation
Christopher-John Daudu (representing UDUB Radio) is asked about the apparent emphasis on campus events placed by UDUB in its broadcasts. Christopher explains that a focus on events is how they get engagement “physically and digitally”. He tells the Guild that publishing shows and content without an established audience would be futile. UDUB is aiming to build an audience before releasing more substantial content.
Christopher is asked about the lack of written minutes provided by UDUB last year. There’s concern about accessibility for committee members unable to attend meetings. Christopher says the issue is too specific and he’ll report back after the meeting.
Christopher is told that last year five UDUB committee members had resigned due to wellbeing concerns and lack of communication. He is asked about the current committee’s ability to handle these issues. Christopher is “happy to speak on this” and says that since he has started the role there haven’t been any communication issues. He reminds the Council that he started the role February this year, after these resignations.
Christopher is asked about the interest levels in presenter positions. He says there have been over twenty applications and plenty of ideas from the committee about content UDUB Radio can produce.
A council member asks about UDUB’s spending report, noting that there’s no listed cost associated with licensing. Christopher tells the council that licensing is an ongoing cost, payments are up to date and the next report will likely show this cost.
Christopher is asked about the playlist, and whether it will change to fit the mood of different locations on campus. He explains that, for now at least, there is only one playlist being played across different locations.
Geemal asks what the “biggest challenge” for UDUB is. Christopher explains that it’s growing an audience. With some sass, he tells the council that while it’s “great” that UDUB is making the Guild money (by advertising Tav events), UDUB really needs to work on developing skills among the students they’re working with.