Words || Cameron Colwell
In an effort to improve communications between itself and the student body, the SRC has passed a motion seeking to allow one reporter from Grapeshot to attend their meetings in order to report to the student body. Previously, Grapeshot has only been able to report on SRC meeting minutes, which are ratified in the meetings following those from which they are taken, and therefore are publicly available too late to be of use. While Grapeshot has previously attempted to have a reporter attend SRC meetings for the purposes of transparency and accountability, the SRC has blocked any previous motion which would allow this.
Lachlan McGrath, Treasurer of the SRC and submitter of the motion, provided Grapeshot the following comment:
‘The SRC and Grapeshot are two sides of student advocacy at Macquarie, working within and without the University’s structures to inform and represent students. Both the SRC and Grapeshot are most effective when working together for Students. The SRC are elected by and for students and so it’s imperative that students are kept up to date with all the work being done by the SRC and Grapeshot is the logical means to do this. I’m very excited to work with Grapeshot for the remainder of our term and more excited to see the new SRC working closely with Grapeshot right from the start.’
Previously, in May, McGrath justified the failure of a similar motion, saying that the SRC was in a formative state and therefore not ready to allow Grapeshot to witness its deliberations.
Issues of transparency have been a longtime issue with the SRC, which has so far maintained a policy of closed and confidential meetings. The constitution stipulates that ‘“The SRC members have a duty of loyalty to the University and the SRC, and outside SRC meetings they must support the letter and the spirit of SRC decisions when dealing with other parties.’ As Grapeshot reported last year, this meant any opposition to SRC decisions was to be kept quiet, and speaking out against those decisions was met with calls for dismissal.
In response to the passing of the motion, Grapeshot Editor-in-Chief Angela Heathcote commented the following:
“I’m relieved that a point of extreme difference is now resolved. Previous Grapeshot editors worked very hard for this and often their pleas fell on deaf ears. Working with the SRC rather than against them will inevitably improve everyone’s university experience as our elected representatives will now be held accountable for the decisions they make on behalf of the student body.”