May 6, 2020

Council Wrap-Up: March/April 2020

Luke Thomas Luke Thomas, General Secretary

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all keeping well. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Over the past couple of months, the Guild has had to work in an unprecedented way. Back in 1918-19 during the Spanish Flu, I’m sure that the Guild Presidents HT Stables and AF Blackhouse were grappling with a similar situation, but with very different response.

Instead of slowing down, we have pivoted and used the tech we have to work harder than ever.

Unfortunately we needed to suspend Guild Council in March due to Covid-19, but we successfully transitioned online for the April Council. We were also able to invite online observers for the first time ever, which I hope was insightful for those that came!

For those that couldn’t make it, here’s a brief look at what we covered.

Here are few of the motions we supported during Council. The 107th Guild Council:

  • Supported CAPA’s “Support Australia’s Future, Support Postgrads” campaign, calling for extensions to PhD candidate milestones and RTP scholarships;
  • Made grants more accessible to students in need;
  • Committed to recontinuing environmental activism, including supporting the Uni Students for Climate Justice Digital Climate Strike on May 15;
  • Stood against job cuts, course cuts, and attacks on student and staff conditions;
  • Stood in solidarity with international students who were racially abused in Melbourne, and condemns racism anywhere and especially at UWA;
  • Called on the Government to extend Subclass 500 Student Visas by 12 months, and support international students through this crisis;
  • Acknowledged and celebrated the students who are partaking in cultural festivals affected by COVID-19;
  • Supported the NUS #SaveOurStudents campaign and endorsed its 7 demands (fixing Centrelink, securing housing, reducing fees, supporting international student financial assistance, free visa extensions, fair assessment adjustment, and textbook accessibility);
  • Thanked the Prosh Directors and Editors for their hard work, pulling together the paper when many people would have just given up!

Motions are put up during Council by passionate student representatives, but they don’t indicate all the hard work done between Councils. Here’s a look at some of the recent big wins your student representatives have had over the past couple of months you may have seen:

  • Fails will not affect GPA or WAM
  • Opt-in ungraded pass
  • Loanable tech for students in need
  • Special Consideration (14 day leniency policy)
  • Establishing and supporting the Financial Hardship Fund
  • Supported the creation of welfare packages
  • Assembled assessment policy guidebook
  • Began our “You can’t ask that!” video series through the Ethnocultural Collective
  • Advocated to allow students to opt-out of Examplify (successfully!)
  • Advocated for refunds to parking permits
  • All campus parking free!
  • Put together an Office Bearer Consultation Hours schedule
  • International Students’ Department Glitz and Glamour Quiz Night
  • Launched the “Pay and We Go” campaign to pressuring UWA to drop Pay as You Go Parking.
  • Ran countless online events

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I encourage you to get in touch with myself or an Office Bearer if you want to learn more. You can get in touch with them during their consultation hours on our new Discord server!

Stay well and take care.

All my love,

Luke