Part 2: VOICE’s candidates for General Undergraduate Representative positions


Voice is the most politically progressive ticket on offer for this years Student Representative Committee Election- they’re made up almost entirely of MQ Labor members. Get to know them and don’t be IGNORANT. 

Jack Willis VOICE

Jack wants to open the minds of the next generation… but in the interim he is an avid consumer of history, politics and any titbit of news relating to Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.

What degree are you studying?

I am studying a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education (Primary). Within my arts degree, I am also working towards a Modern History major, which has absolutely nothing to do with teaching little ones how to read and count. History is a passion of mine, and that aspect of my studies is purely indulgent.

If elected, what aspects of life do you intend to improve?

If elected, I plan to promote and fight for a few key issues, with the aid of the VOICE for MQ team. Briefly, our policies are as follows:

(1): That any plans to re-develop the Campus Hub Building will prioritise spaces for students, and that these plans GUARANTEE that a new student-bar be as good as (or better than) our beloved Ubar.

(2): Parking reform. The VOICE for MQ team wishes to investigate and eventually reform parking at the university. Thousands of us make the daily commute to uni via car, but find it nigh-impossible to find a spot upon arrival. We will work with the university to find reasonable solutions, as we believe that if students are compelled to pay a yearly fee of $370, this should, at the very least, guarantee them a parking space.

(3): More accessible textbooks. We want the university to invest in more library-owned copies of undergraduate course textbooks, thereby easing one of the foremost financial challenges facing students.

(4): Notification text-messaging service. We envision the successful establishment of a university-run text-messaging system, that will notify students of important alerts such as last-minute class cancellations and important dates in the academic calendar.

(5): Breakfast Bar. In 2016, the current SRC briefly ran a Breakfast Bar in the Campus Hub Building, which offered affordable eats to the many students who had missed their morning meal. As you know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the VOICE team wishes to make an affordable Breakfast Bar a permanent resident at the university.

How will you do this?

As a Student Representative, I wish to help establish an open and transparent line of communication between the students, who are the lifeblood of Macquarie, and the university executive. I will make myself approachable and be willing to address the concerns of any student at the university.

I will push for greater student-control over the allocation of Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) funding. Currently, these practices are very secretive and students cannot see a clear breakdown of how their $147 is being spent every semester. With greater control of SSAF funding, the SRC will be able to purchase more copies of textbooks to be donated to the library, and potentially setup textbook grants for low SES students. This is the same for our policy of establishing a permanent Breakfast Bar for students.

On the point of parking, different types of permits could be explored. For example, a parking pass that is only valid on certain days of the week (for students who do not need to come in daily). This would help bring costs down. Moreover, I will push to have some of the 2 and 3-hour street parking around the uni converted into full day parking, thus easing existing pressures.

What difficulties do you feel the SRC faces on the road ahead?

I think many of the difficulties that the SRC faces—in the near future— are largely structural and hierarchical. Unlike many of the other large universities across Sydney, the Macquarie University SRC has a rather small budget of just $200k. While this might seem quite high, comparably-sized institutions, like Sydney Uni, UNSW and UTS, have SRC budgets, in some cases, in the millions. In this regard, Macquarie University is missing out, as students are being given less control over student matters and less say in the allocation of our SSAF funding.
Additionally, the SRC has a number of appointed positions. Those who hold these positions have been interviewed by a board of university executives and, following this process, directly appointed to the SRC without any student-input. This process, in my opinion, is completely undemocratic and pollutes the will of the student-population. As those holding appointed positions have not been directly elected by the students of Macquarie University, it is my belief that they cannot be truly accountable to the students.

Caitlin Rhodes VOICE

2nd Year student, Vice President of Macquarie University Labor and passionate about the wellbeing of all those on and off campus.

What degree are you studying?

Bachelor of Education (Secondary) and Bachelor of Arts with a major in English

If elected, what aspect of university life do you intend to improve?

Areas which would be subject to the most change and improvement are; the existing car parking facilities, the assessment procedures, the textbooks, and additionally Ubar with consideration towards a free breakfast bar for students. These areas are ones which the amendments would aid students financially, assisting those on a low budget. However, this does not mean it is where the only issues lay. University life presents many stresses upon students and with the introduction of more financially viable solutions, as well as introducing a student breakfast, individuals may feel a lessened sense of pressure and will be more inclined to enjoy their time at university.
Additionally, the development of Ubar in accordance with student desires will ensure that Macquarie university remains a sociable and engaging environment for its students. Henceforth allowing there to be a provided balance between work and leisure time for all those studying on campus or people wishing to come and be involved during events.

How will you do this?

Accessibility of textbooks would be achieved through the increased amount of unit required texts being provided in the library to reduce student costs. This will ensure the expenses associated with university aren’t as costly.
Cheap and easy car parking will reduce the issue of trouble finding a park as well as the debate of whether or not it’s viable to purchase a parking permit, this will encourage more students to spend more time on campus.
With procedures in place to regulate assessment procedures, it will reduce the student concern for bias and allow them to complete assignments without worrying that the opinions of the marker will impact their grade.
As Ubar provides a safe and social environment should not be developed without a student representative board. Through discussion with the student body we can ensure it endures as an area in which everyone feels safe, social, and proud of their university.

What difficulties do you feel the SRC faces on the road ahead?

Personally I believe the biggest difficulty the Student Representative Committee faces on the road ahead is to engage the student body with its activity. The SRC relies mostly on the student body to express what is going on and continue involvement. Through events and developments on campus that are relevant to students we can increase awareness and a desire to be involved with the Student Representative Committee.
Additionally, I believe that with the increased competitiveness between University societies, some individuals will use the Student Representative Committee as a means to push for the wants of their society rather than the wellbeing of the student body. By keeping the activities of the SRC well in the public eye and having it reported on by individuals not part of the SRC this would ensure it not only developed in accordance with student’s wishes but it also adhered to an ethical standard of functionality.

Andrew Gray – VOICE

Questionnaire not supplied.

Note: Responses have been edited down to maintain word limits, as well as clarity.