Part 5: LIBERATE’S candidates for General Undergraduate Representative positions

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Unlike all other tickets LIBERATE are in favour of the current SRC structure, as they oppose any move towards the creation of an alternative Independent student body. Rather LIBERATE are focussing on Eftpos in the cafeteria and better quality lecture and tutorial rooms. Additionally, they wanna tell you WASSUP with your Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) and give you a little more control over student group funding.

Doug Anderson LIBERATE

Doug Anderson is studying a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Commerce, loves rum, relaxing literally anywhere possible and wants to be your voice at Macquarie.

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

I want to see more places in the food court offering eftpos, the fact that in 2017 there are still places not accepting card in a University is ridiculous, and with the severe lack of ATMs available on campus it simply makes the problem worse. I would also like to see student groups and organisations have more control over their finances and events with minimal university interference. I further believe the University has done little to try to improve the many lecture theatres around campus. Never mind that some lecture theatres are actually MISSING tables and occasionally have broken chairs, the university seems to be intent on not doing anything to fix the theatres around campus. Lastly, I believe the SRC and the university have an obligation to disclose to students where there Students Services and Amenity fees are being spent. Doing this will ensure that students can talk to the SRC and the university and come to decision on where best their fees can be put.

How will you do this?

By encouraging the university to be in dialogue with the various businesses that operate on campus, and to encourage them to move to a more cashless system, as this would simplify the process of purchasing food and make Macquarie one of the few universities in Sydney moving to a more cashless system.

By having the university loosen the reins on student groups. Allowing them more freedom to operate as they see fit, be it how they spend their money or what events they decide to run and where they decide to run them. The university has the right to audit clubs and groups to ensure that the groups money is not being stolen, but beyond that the university should take the back seat and allow students to run the student groups.

Students already pay a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF), and the SRC operates a sub-committee, yet there are no records of them meeting ONCE in 2016. Having a functioning sub-committee that looks at where the SSAF would be best spent and having the ability to advice and consult with the University on where it should go is paramount to fix many issues around campus. Especially the sub-par lecture theatres, if the SRC were able to demand the university spend the money wisely, then we could have decent theatres as well as make many general improvements around campus.

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

I believe the SRC will face issues from students protesting and trying to shut down certain events held on campus, as we’ve seen in America and to a lesser extent so far at University of Sydney. I believe freedom of speech and freedom of expression are crucial at a university. And I believe the first line to keep these vital components of university open is the SRC, who have a responsibility to their fellow students to allow everyone to have their voice heard without fear of discrimination. This extends to everyone on campus, be they staff, students or visitors to the university. I would also like to see a more streamlined SRC, with fewer specialised sub-committee’s operating, therefore removing much of the bureaucracy surrounding the previous Committee.


 

Joel Savage LIBERATE

Joel Savage is in his second year of a Bachelor of Commerce and Law, and in his spare time enjoys following sport and reading the news.

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

Two aspects of university life I would like to improve include student convenience and the level of control students have over our university experience. Improving student convenience will make Macquarie an even better place to study. Almost all Macquarie students some time during their time here can relate to the problem of broken desks and chairs in lecture theatres, and this leads to discomfort and disorganisation during lectures. Another common problem Macquarie students often face is the lack of ATMs available to withdraw cash- this is particularly problematic due to most of the shops on campus being cash only. These things can and should be fixed to improve student convenience. We can also improve the amount of control students have over their university experience. Many students are not even aware of the existence of the SRC, and this is a barrier to engaging the wider student body in decision making. In addition to improving the collective student control over university experience, student groups at Macquarie should also be more free from University interference- student groups are run for the students, not the university.

How will you do this?

I will attempt to do this as a representative of the students through encouraging dialogue between the university and cash only businesses which operate at the university and banks to reduce the problem of the inadequate number of ATMs and high number of cash-only businesses. Furthermore, I will voice student’s frustrations regarding broken chairs and desks in lecture theatres. In relation to giving students more control over their university experience, this needs to start by raising more awareness of the SRC and what it does- and if elected I will seek to develop efficient methods in achieving this. Central to giving students more say over their university experience is providing more transparency over what their compulsory Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) goes towards. This will promote more engagement from students in determining the direction of the university and will tell them where their money is going.
The student’s autonomy over their own university experience is best achieved by strengthening the current SRC and student group system, not by moving towards a student union. I will oppose any move towards a student union at Macquarie.

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

The SRC faces the main challenge of promoting student engagement and awareness, and to increase students role in university decision making. In addition to this, globally and in Australia the academic world is unfortunately seeing trends away from freedom of speech in universities. Universities need to be a place where respectful debate is promoted and encouraged as a means of challenging student’s preconceptions and allowing for the development of new and different ideas, and this is not only of vital importance to the academic experience of Macquarie students but of any free democratic society in general. In my opinion, Macquarie already does a good job in allowing respectful but free thought and expression, particularly in comparison to many other universities, and I will seek to ensure this remains the case.

 

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