• It's Time for Action: Demand Action on Sexual Assault at UTas
    According to the Australian Human Rights Commission report released on the 1st of August, over half of all students at UTas were sexually harassed in 2016, and 6.5% were sexually assaulted Of these students the vast majority did not seek help from the university, and 0% made a formal report about the incident. While the Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen has since come out to say sexual violence is “never OK,” we are yet to see the university take action on any specific incident, or commit implementing a system that offers any real support to students. What students need is not more slogans, or hollow campaigns, but fast and immediate action from the university that tells that they believe us, that it’s not our fault, and that we will have justice. Sign the petition and join the UTas Women’s Collective, and Tasmanian Young Labor members, as we call on the State Government and the University of Tasmania to to commit to implementing: A standard sexual assault reporting model which recognises the rule of law Clear penalties for perpetrators of sexual assault and violence And A full-time trauma informed counsellor that specialises in harassment and sexual violence.
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    Created by Heidi La Paglia
  • Pledge your support for job security at UTS
    Two thirds of Australian workers have a permanent job, but at UTS more than 75% of the university's 8000+ employees are either casual or on fixed-term contracts. This is strikingly similar to the employment profile of McDonald's and not what you might expect from "Australia's #1 young university". The decision by UTS management to employ the majority of people on insecure contracts is at odds with the university's public commitment to social justice, and has negative consequences for UTS staff, students and the university as a whole. Most striking is the fact that the face of teaching at UTS is now likely to be that of an insecure worker. The majority of teaching is performed by casual academics facing some of the highest student-staff ratios in NSW, who have no access to paid leave, no permanent office for research or student consultation, who receive 9.5% superannuation when their permanent teaching colleagues receive 17%, who aren't contracted to consult sufficiently with students, and who have no security of employment from semester to semester. Many are forced to work at multiple universities to make ends meet. Having the vast majority of staff in insecure jobs means thousands of UTS workers are treated as second class employees who face material challenges such as not being able to plan for their future, having difficulty getting a home loan, and having no access to annual leave, sick leave or parental leave. Shamefully, many casual and fixed-term staff have been working in the same jobs for several years - jobs that are clearly ongoing. Through such practices, UTS management are preventing staff from fully participating in University life - which is entirely counterproductive to achieving the university's goal of becoming a world-class university of technology. There is obviously a need at times for short-term casual and fixed-term employment arrangements, but UTS's reliance on such forms of employment is exploitative. A public institution receiving hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars every year is surely obligated to invest in secure jobs and treat staff with respect. Staff deserve better. Students deserve better. You deserve better.
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  • Stop Trimesters At Griffith
    The current structure of the trimester system unfairly affects staff and students. Through institutionalizing the drive to hasten the completion of degrees and rake in profit, the University has thus forgone creating an atmosphere that disrespects the concept of obtaining a comprehensive education in an attempt to establish the university as a degree factory. The trimester model completely ignores the necessity of study breaks for students to catch up on content as well utterly disregarding the students who rely on the end of year break to save essential funds that ultimately sustains them for the following academic year. Already carrying the weight of being at university, this financial and social deficit will place a greater burden on the mental and academic health of Griffith University Students. The implications of this model call in to question the practicality of deadlines and workloads placed on academic staff by creating a third teaching period. This new policy strips the ability of staff to have time to part take in scholastic pursuits, including conferences and undertaking research. This policy will lead to an increase of fatigue and burnt out staff which will ultimately affect Griffith's high standings within research and the quality of the education. At all ends, the trimester model is solely for the university and against the students and staff.
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  • University of Tasmania: Students deserve a safe campus!
    Despite signing onto the Universities' Australia Respect Now always campaign only last year, and making a commitment to the ongoing Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) project aimed at stamping out sexual assault on campus, the University of Tasmania (UTas) is actively welcoming a convicted sex offender on campus. Nicholaas Bester, who is currently a Phd student at the University of Tasmania (UTas) Sandy Bay campus, was convicted and jailed in 2011 for sexually abusing a 15 year old student at St. Michaels Collegiate girls college, where he was head of science. At the time of his parole, Bester was admitted to UTas as a student and received a phd scholarship. In 2015 Bester stated on social media his first crime was 'awesome' in a conversation so offensive it was reported to Tasmania Police and resulted in him being charged with producing child exploitation material. He served a prison sentence for this in 2016, during which time he remained a student at UTas. Despite multiple complaints being made about Besters presense on campus, the University of Tasmania has put students at risk by: - Accepting Bester as a resident in the John Fisher student accommodation complex, where he lived in close proximity with many students. - Making no attempt to terminate Bester’s student status after he was reported to the police for predatory behaviour at the University gymnasium. At the time, an agreement was made with Bester that he would no longer attend the gym, but UTas continued to accommodate him on campus. When questioned, the university deputy vice-chancellor for research, Bridgid Heywood said that "there is nothing in the universities' rules which precludes Bester from continuing his research." However, this appears to ignore the university behaviour policy which states that all staff and students have a right to work and / or study in an environment that is free from inappropriate behaviour, including the sexually harassing and abusive behaviours which Bester has engaged in. The universities decision to support Bester's phd status despite his continued criminal and inappropriate behaviour poses a clear threat to other university students, and in particular the underage students whom attend campus for pre-university units. This is ironic given the university sectors national commitment to creating safer campus environments after the release of the national union of students women's survey last year which showed that over 72% of women experience some form of sexual harassment or violence while studying . Sign the petition to demand that the University respect their commitment to improve student safety, by immediately terminating Nicholaas Bester's Phd scholarship, and banning him from attending all University of Tasmania campuses. *Under Federal and state legislation, universities' are autonomous self-accrediting institutions. The university has the authority to terminate a phd student position according to its own policies.
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  • Student Control Over Swinburne Clubs
    A change in governance will mean no more lengthy processes for clubs, no more delays in club payments, meaning no more cancellations of annual events, and will also allow consistent and responsive communication. This not only gives students an increased opportunity to upskill outside of their course, but a smoother, more functional management system that will lead to more campus culture. Leave your experience with SSAA in the comments below!
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  • Stop the War on Students
    https://youtu.be/RdeFLgDFCts The Liberals have already made it clear who the first victims of the 2017 budget will be. It’s young people who will have money taken out of their pockets. It's students who will face higher fees and more debt, studying in underfunded institutions. It's universities put under even more financial pressure and asked to offer more. These changes will mean an 8% fee hike, earlier HECS repayments for students and funding cuts for universities. And all of it to pay for billions of dollars of hand-outs to multinationals. Similar cuts and policies were defeated time and time again under Tony Abbott. Students ran a massive campaign and we are ready to do it again. Find out more about our campaign here: https://www.facebook.com/makeeducationfreeagain/ For more information regarding the changes: http://thenewdaily.com.au/money/your-budget/2017/05/01/budget-2017-university-degrees/
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  • Stop the wage theft of school cleaners
    I am one of thousands of school cleaners in Victoria. We’re proud of our hard work keeping our schools clean and bright for the students, teachers and parents of Victoria. We are already some of the lowest paid workers in the state. We have families and lives too. We don’t deserve this kind of treatment. We deserve respect, and good secure jobs. Please stand with us and ask Premier Andrews to do the right thing by your school cleaners.
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  • Fix the Parking Mess!
    The cost of securing a parking spot at Monash is ridiculous, with permit and ticket prices rising significantly on an annual basis. A FREE carpooling service was introduced as an incentive for students to drive to university together. The reduced number of vehicles would lower Monash's carbon footprint, as well as free up parking spots across campus. Last year the university imposed a fee on the carpooling service, and as such it is being severely underutilised. The infringement system at Monash is also increasingly costly and harsh. The university are charging more for fines, and while first time offenders and ambiguous offences are issued infringement notices straight off the bat, the appeal process is so unduly rigid that it's almost impossible to successfully challenge an alleged offence. The cost of attending university alone is enormous. We do not need the added pressure of paying hundreds of dollars for parking when we're not even guaranteed a spot. Do One Thing Monash, fix the parking mess!
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  • Fund Our Future
    Access to early childhood education means that our next generation of Australians get the best start to life. Research has identified indisputable evidence of the positive effect that quality early childhood education has on children’s ongoing learning and development. As the union for workers in the early childhood education sector in Queensland and the Northern Territory, our members know firsthand the difference that quality early childhood education means for our students and the community. The importance of early childhood education as a driver for immediate and long-term economic development was recognised by the Productivity Commission in October 2014, yet for the last three years the Federal Government has provided no real commitment or certainty when it comes to funding. As it is, Australia currently provides less than a quarter of the OECD average expenditure on early childhood education, when measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For more visit: www.fundourfuture.net.au
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  • Save the Griffith University Post Office & Stop the Cuts to Services
    For the last 12 months the Griffith University Administration has been pushing a greed fuelled campaign to cut vital student services (Welfare & Academic Assistance) including but not limited to monopolising the services provided to students. So as to charge students even more for their food, drink & services whilst on campus. Two days before Christmas 2016 the Griffith Administration sent a disgusting letter to the owners of Griffith Post Office stating the Post Office would either be forced to comply with strict uncompetitive trade restrictions or face a University push to not renew the lease. Leaving students and staff with none of the vital services provided by current owners for the past 13 years. This is all due to the University's desires to establish a full monopoly on the sale of food and drink on campus. The University Administration has also sought to cut vital services such as welfare funding, and staff numbers for the sake of improving the bottom line of the University's budget. It is sickening that Griffith University is a public institution and is promoting these moves to further corporatise a place of education at the expense of both students and staff. The Students and Staff of Griffith University are sick of this corporatist agenda. We therefore call on the Uni to cease its sickening attacks on the Griffith Post Office and their cuts to vital student services. #GUStudentsBeforeProfits #SaveTheGUPost
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  • Keep our Elected Representatives
    Flinders University Council is the highest decision making body in the university. There is legislation before the South Australian Parliament that will cut the size of Council and the number of elected staff and students. The current composition of the Council includes 4 elected staff and 3 elected students in a total of 21 members. Eleven members are external to the University. Cutting any of the elected positions will compromise the access of external Council members to the varied experiences and opinions of staff and students, and reduce the ability of staff and students to participate in decision-making.
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  • Women unite! Fight back against the Liberals!
    Women at university are worse off under a Liberal government. Health The Liberal Government has scrapped bulk-billing incentives for pathology services and diagnostic imaging. This means that women may have to pay up-front $30 for a Pap smear, blood or urine test, and from January 2017 as much as $173 for x-ray or ultrasound imaging. Women regularly rely upon these tests for the prevention or early detection of pregnancy, obstetric complications, cancers, STIs and UTIs The Liberal Government freeze on indexation of the rebate for GP consultations under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) until 2020 has already seen hundreds of practitioners around the country cease to offer bulk billing as they are forced to transfer increased costs onto patients. Most women students can not afford these increased costs of healthcare, and are forced to forgo necessary doctors visits, diagnostic testing and treatment. This poses critical risks for women’s health. Without early diagnosis and treatment, risk of poorer prognosis is high and the burden of disease, personal and financial costs on patients are increased. Education- cuts to funding The 2016-2017 budget revealed that Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals want to decrease funding to tertiary institutions by 20% as well as lower the tax repayment threshold by 10%. It was also strongly indicated that the Liberals will bring back fee deregulation. Universities are unlikely to put their hands in their own pockets to make up for funding cuts, choosing rather to cut vital student support services than risk jeopardising ‘important’ business projects Cuts to higher education will mean that women who are already disproportionately affected but a lack of funding will take longer to pay off their HECS debt and face a greater pay gap in the workforce. Cuts to services Severe lack of funding available for women’s services on university campuses. When the federal government make cuts to the higher education sector, often basic services relied on by women are the first to go. Universities across Australia do not prioritise the welfare of students, this consequently has a greater effect on women due to structural barriers which make it difficult women to go to university and study. As revealed in the results of the 2016 ‘Talk about it’ survey women students are likely to face harassment and sexual violence on university campuses. Due to a number of factors, including inadequate help services, women are strongly deterred from seeking help from university. Women should be able to balance university life as well as home life, and should not be forced to choose between the two. Services focused on assisting students who are also mothers have been neglected for too long. Many universities are lacking parent rooms, for mothers to comfortably breastfeed. Underfunded services have a detrimental effect on those who use them most, women are already limited by a culture of misogyny on campus and an initial lack of policies and services to protect them. Due to the lack of services and policies, many universities do not adequately address incidents of harassment on campus, making university an unsafe place for women. Universities receive funding from the student services and amenities fee annually, a small portion of which is usually allocated to the student union on campus. The rest of the SSAF is allocated to funding university projects, a funding increase to women's services could be done through this avenue. When the Liberal government make cuts to higher education universities will make cuts to student services. The Solution In order to address the stark difficulties of women accessing higher education the NUS women's department is running an O week and semester one campaign which will encourage women to support, promote and attend the National Day of Action on March 22nd. This NUS women’s department campaign will aim to put pressure on universities to start addressing the specific concerns of women, through more funding to services that women access. The campaign will produce a petition and towards the end of the semester the NUS Women’s Department will be submitting a government submission. The campaign will Lobby federal parliamentary representatives for accessible health care and education for women in the lead up to the federal budget. Lobby universities to provide more funding for student services, especially services that women frequently use, e.g childcare services and parenting rooms. Encourage and promote the March 22nd National Day of Action Focus on supporting women in higher education in the face of an aggressive conservative federal government. Highlight the challenges that women face in higher education specifically around education and health. Produce a petition pushing universities to commit more funding to student services Produce a government submission detailing the need to adequately fund the higher education sector, and how funding cuts hurt women the most, particularly women from marginalised backgrounds. Get Involved Promote and sign the NUS Womens petition! Sign up to the email list to receive updates on the campaign! Attend and promote the March 22nd National Day of Action. Sign a letter on behalf of your student organisation, pushing federal MPs to commit to not supporting cuts to higher education and health. Sign a letter on behalf of your student organisation, pushing universities to provide more funding for student services, especially services that women frequently use, e.g childcare services and parenting rooms. Like the NUS Women’s Department page for updates Change your cover photo, like and share posts about the campaign.
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