SRC Orientation & Counter Course Hanbook 2021 - Read it online

Page 1

Orientation Handbook

Pages 1–30 Everything you need to find your feet and settle into this mess of university

Countercourse

Pages 31–60 Your Radical Guide to Student Activism at USyd Find the best coffee on campus, guides to navigating housing and health, what BLM has taught us, and the low-down on the degree factory which is USyd.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY USyd is an elitist institution, of which many First Nations peoples will never benefit from, given the deep socioeconomic disparity between settlers and First Nations peoples. Not only do First Nations peoples not benefit from universities, but they are actively harmed by these institutions which stand on stolen land and profit from the hierarchisation of knowledge that devalues Indigenous knowledges that are thousands of years old. As we fight for decolonisation, we also fight for the abolition of universities and hierarchisation of The year marks the 233rd year since British education and pedagogy, towards a more liberatory, imperialism invaded Gadigal lands—233 years of collective sharing of knowledge and skills. violent dispossession and colonialism. This violence has not stopped, but adapted itself, reaching across In an elitist institution which silences poor and all aspects of First Nations peoples’ lives. Police and Indigenous people, we must amplify Bla(c)k and prison systems, harmful child removals, and land Indigenous voices and perspectives and centre Bla(c) dispossession all continue the violent legacy of the k and Indigenous justice in all that we do. In fighting settler state. Reforms, ‘reconciliation’, and so-called for a better education and brighter future, we fight for ‘apologies’ are not enough. There is no Indigenous First Nations liberation. justice without complete abolition of the settler state This land always was, and always will be, Aboriginal and decolonisation. land. The University of Sydney stands on stolen Indigenous land. These are the unceded lands of the Gadigal, Darug and Gandagara people. The Students’ Representatives Council (SRC) primarily organises and meets on Gadigal land of the Eora nation. Beyond campuses, we live and work on many other sovereign First Nations lands: Dharawal, Bidjigal and Cammeraygal, to name a few. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.


Hello reader, welcome aboard.

Editorial

This is the 2021 edition of Orientation Handbook; the SRC’s no-bullshit guide to surviving uni. We are the General Secretaries of the SRC and we are honoured to be your editors of this gruelling publication. As GenSecs, our many varied roles include: helping to determine the SRC budget for the year, negotiating a fair proportion of SSAF for the SRC (what’s fair would really be most of it but that’s another matter), sitting on committees of the University and lobbying for staff and student rights, supporting the projects of SRC office bearers, taking charge of SRC projects such as Radical Education Week (something to look forward to in Sem 2) and the SRC Food Hub, and facilitating general outreach to the student body. Over the past year we have seen explosions of student power around the world. We here at USyd are no different. Last year we witnessed and fought back against vicious attacks on our education at the federal, state, and university level. This year, despite a change in USyd management leadership, with the long-standing Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence leaving, we don’t have high hopes. While we are glad to see the back of him, his successor, Stephen Garton has done his own fair share of damage to USyd students and staff in his time as Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, as you can read about in CounterCourse. Students, staff, and your SRC will continue to fight against USyd management as they shatter the quality of our education and exploit us mercilessly. University is not the same for everyone. Every person reading this, and every person involved in the making of this handbook will have or has had a distinctly different university experience. Some of this may be out of your hands - the amount you need to work, how easily you make friends, what awful bahn mi you get before realising that is the one place everyone avoids. But - for the most part, getting involved in university life and the fights and struggles happening in the world around you is your choice. To close your eyes and ears and pretend that these aren’t happening is to be complicit. Getting involved in these fights can be difficult; the information you have access to will be contradictory, you will feel exhausted and frustrated and have no idea what you could possibly do to make a dent in a fight that is so large and has been going on for so long. This is truly the reason we are here. The SRC is comprised of a group of people who have decided that they care about students and are willing to do what they can to help, whether this is through direct action or advocacy, you have people with a wealth of information just waiting for you. We can work with you and try our hardest to answer any questions you may have; we have the knowledge of a 93 year old institution behind us after all. Get involved in the university outside of your classes. This is a rich community with lots going on - all you have to do is look. We would recommend the SRC collectives as a fantastic way to enter the activist scene at the University of Sydney. You can find more info about them on pages 8-9! However you decide to spend your time at university, the SRC will be here to support you. Start by having a good look through this handbook - we can’t have spent all night finishing this for nothing now can we. It should have plenty of information to get you thinking, and set you well on your way at excelling here. Yours, Priya Gupta & Anne Zhao 2021 SRC General Secretaries


CONTENTS 13

Academic Hurdles

1 Editorial

14–15

Surviving Uni

2

President’s Welcome

16

Healthcare

3

What is the SRC?

17

Disability Rights on Campus

4

Important Contacts

18-19

Food on Campus

5 SSAF

20

Resources for victims of Sexual Assault

6

Getting involved with the SRC

21

Clubs and Societies

7

Food Hub - Volunteers Needed!

22

International Student Guide

8–9 SRC Collectives

23

Opals - Fair Fares, Fair Education

10

24

Assessments during COVID

11 Centrelink

25–30

Faculty Guide

12 Accomodation

56

Contributors

0

Acknowledgement of Country

SRC Legal Service

President’s Welcome SRC President Swapnik Sanagavarapu welcomes you to your time at USyd. Hi I’m Swapnik, and I’m the President of the Students Representative Council (SRC). I’m delighted to welcome you to (or back to) the University of Sydney. For those of you that don’t know, the SRC is the peak representative body for undergraduate students at the University of Sydney. We run a bunch of free services for students, including a casework service and a legal service. The caseworkers can help you with anything from academic appeals to tenancy issues, while the legal service can assist you in a wide range of common legal matters. However, the SRC is best known for our activism. Our office-bearers and collectives run campaigns on a wide variety of issues that affect students, from increasing fees, to sexual assault on campus, to forcing the University to divest from fossil fuels. I also sit on a number of University committees, where I bring your concerns to the University’s senior management. Given that you’re beginning your University journey, I’d like to be able to give you a few trite pieces of advice and send you on your merry way. But I feel obliged to tell you the truth about studying at USyd. University is hard, and it’s only getting harder. The University is a bureaucratic nightmare - everything from enrolling in your subjects to finding your readings is utterly intractable. Online learning is at best alienating, and at worst an experience in dystopian surveillance (courtesy of exam proctoring software). Your teachers are overworked and underpaid. Fees have risen, but Universities have been deprived of funding by the Government. Despite all of these difficulties, University can be a magnificent place. You’ll hopefully learn immensely, meet amazing new people and experience tremendous personal growth. The SRC is committed to this vision of a better University, where everyone is able to participate fully and self-actualise, regardless of your class, race, gender, sexuality, disability or any other part of your identity. In my opinion, every student shares a few common interests. For one, we all share an interest in making sure that the quality of our education is never compromised. As a corollary to that, we have an interest in making sure that University staff are well paid and Universities are wellfunded. We all share an interest in seeing student life revitalised - but this means that students should be free from the tyranny of today’s casualised job market, so that they may have more time to enjoy their youth. We all understand that the University must be accessible to all who want it - which means that higher education should be free of cost, and free from its colonial legacy. This year, the SRC hopes to represent those interests, from the University boardrooms to the streets. We’ve got a number of things planned for the year, so you’re likely to see a lot of the SRC and a lot of me. We’re going to be upgrading the legal service, fighting for free education, handing out free essentials to students at our FoodHub in the Wentworth Building, and campaigning for staff rights and free education. To find out more about what we’re doing this year, head to the Get Involved section on our website (srcusyd.net.au) or look at our Facebook page (facebook.com/usydsrc). In solidarity, Swapnik Sanagavarapu

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WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


The SRC is the student union of undergraduate students at the University of Sydney. We fight for students rights, free and fair education, and against discrimination and oppression of all kinds. We provide a free and confidential legal and casework service, lobby the university for better student and staff conditions, and publish a weekly student newspaper Honi Soit.

STUDENT REPRESENTATION The students representing your interests in the SRC are elected in one of two ways, and are in office from 1st December to 30th November the following year. In Semester 2 we have our annual election, in which all undergraduate students can directly vote for the President and the Representatives of the SRC, who make up the Council. The Editors of Honi Soit and the Delegates to the National Union of Students are also elected in this set of four simultaneous elections. You can get involved by reading up on the different students and groups vying for your support, and voting when the time comes, or by running yourself! The Council then elects the Office Bearers of the SRC, who are elected to specific departments of which they are in charge for the year. Your Office Bearers are a great port of contact if you are interested in getting involved with student activism; you can find their details on the SRC website, and a run-down of the different activist collectives on pages 8 - 9 of this handbook. Please reach out to the General Secretaries (the editors of this handbook!) if you have any other questions; general.secretaries@src.usyd.edu.au.

CASEWORK The SRC Casework service is made up of 5 experienced caseworkers who provide free, independent, and confidential advice and support on a range of issues. If you need help with any of the following issues, email help@src.usyd.edu.au or call 96605222. • Academic rights & appeals • Special consideration & special arrangements • HECS & fee refunds • Academic misconduct & dishonesty allegations • Show cause & exclusion, Centrelink issues • Harassment & discrimination • Financial issues Resources by the Casework service are available at srcusyd.net.au/src-help, and navigate to pages 11–13 of this handbook to get advice on Centrelink, Housing, and Academic matters.

LEGAL

By Priya Gupta

• Tenancy & accommodation

WHAT IS THE SRC?

WHAT IS THE SRC?

The SRC Legal service is a legal service staffed by volunteers and solicitors who provide free, confidential and timely advice in relation to a variety of legal issues for undergraduate students of Sydney University. To set up a meeting with a solicitor, email the legal service at solicitor@src.usyd.edu.au or call 96605222. Navigate to page 10 of this handbook for more information on how the legal service can help you.

HONI SOIT Honi Soit is an undergraduate student newspaper, produced by a team of 10 editors and published under the SRC. It is written for and produced by students for students. Providing snapshots of student life, hard-hitting student journalism and more, we are the longest running (and only) weekly student newspaper in the country! Honi Soit is available online and in print all over campus.

S T U D EN T S’ R EPR E S EN TAT I V E CO U N C I L , U N I V ER S I T Y O F S Y D N E Y

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IMPORTANT CONTACTS MENTAL HEALTH HEADSPACE CAMPERDOWN Headspace centre located near campus that provides mental health, GP & sexual health services for people under 25. Level 2/97 Church St, Camperdown Ph: 9114 4100. YOUTHBLOCK YOUTH HEALTH SERVICE Free, safe and confidential support, counselling and health services for young people under 25. Has a specialist Aboriginal Health Officer. It’s located on Redfern’s Abercrombie Street, right next to campus! Ph: 9562 5640 SYDNEY UNIVERSITY HEALTH SERVICE This service is located on Level 3 in the Wentworth Building and offers bulk-billed appointments with doctors five days a week for stu-dents and staff. If you have a Medicare card or are covered by Allianz OSHC these appointments won’t cost you anything out of pocket! During peak times the service can be a bit hard to get into so if you urgently need to see a doctor (i.e. for a medical certificate) we reccommend you look online and find your nearest bulk billing GP! sydney.edu.au/students/health-services Level 3, Wentworth Building, City Road, Darlington Campus Ph: 9351 3484

SEXUAL HEALTH RPA SEXUAL HEALTH CLINIC Provides free and confidential STI and HIV testing with no Medicare card required, so anyone is welcome. Located right next to campus, just off Parramatta Rd near Nandos. Queer friendly!

Liam Thomas details some inportant contacts you should know during you time at university. Adapted from the 2020 Orientation Handbook SAFETY 1800 RESPECT Confidential service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week which provides support for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, sexual assault, domestic or family violence. Ph: 1800 737 732 LIFELINE Lifeline provide a 24-hour mental health crisis support line and suicide prevention services. They also offer text and online support services! lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/about-lifeline-overview Ph: 13 11 14

LEGAL LEGAL AID NSW Legal Aid is a state-wide organisation providing legal services to socially and economically disadvantaged people across NSW. They deliver legal services in most areas of criminal, family and civil law. They can provide help over the phone and also operate out of a number of centres around the city (call to find out your nearest one). Ph: 1300 888 529

16 Marsden St, Camperdown Ph: 9515 1200

HOUSING TENANTS NSW

FINANCIAL HELP UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY FINANCIAL SUPPORT SERVICE Located on campus on Level 5 of the Jane Foss Russell Building. They can provide interest-free loans of up to $1000 for domestic and international students. They also provide bursaries (money you don’t need to repay don’t need to be paid back) to full-time students experiencing financial difficulties, however, these are sadly only available for domestic students. sydney.edu.au/students/financial-support Ph: 8627 4809 Level 5, Jane Foss Russell Building, Darlington Campus SCHOLARSHIPS OFFICE The University’s Scholarships Office offers a number of scholarships, including ones for students with financial difficulties, for both domestic and international students. Ph: 8627 1444 PAGE 4

The Tenants’ Union provides a range of online resources and fact sheets to help you understand your rights as a tenant. They also provide resources to Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Services across the state. These services typically operate out of community legal centres. Tenant Advocates can provide free advice and representation for peo-ple renting public or private residential housing. tenants.org.au UNIVERSITY ACCOMMODATION SERVICES The University Accommodation Services provide a number of different options for accommodation at Camperdown/Darlington, Camden and Cumberland campuses. University accomodation is convenient but tends to be more expensive than renting off campus, though cheaper than overpriced, privately run student housing such as Igloo or Urbanest. Accommodation Services can also provide help or advice if you’re in need of emergency housing. sydney.edu.au/campus-life/accommodation Ph: 9351 3322

WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


WHAT IS SSAF?

HOW MUCH DO I HAVE TO PAY?

PAYING SSAF

The Student Service and Amenities Fee is a fee charged to students once every semester by the university, and is used to provide non-academic services, including support services, advice and advocacy services, recreational activities and food services. This fee is charged to all students whether or not you use these services. All providers of higher education in Australia are allowed to charge SSAF, but it is up to their discretion if they do and how much they charge.

In 2021, USyd will charge $313 in SSAF for full time study, and $234.70 for part time study, both of which will be charged in two equal installments.

SSAF payments in 2021 are due on 2nd June for Semester 1 and 2nd November for Semester 2. You will get a series of emails notifying you that it is due, and linking you to Sydney Student where it can be paid.

SA-HELP SA-HELP is a loan scheme by the Australian Government to defer payment of SSAF, similar to HECSHELP. You can apply for a SA-HELP loan via Sydney Student before the census date - best to do near the start of your enrolment and get it out of the way! Once you apply, you don’t have to apply again throughout your degree unless you change universities. To be eligible for a SA-HELP loan you must be an Australian citizen, or hold a permanent humanitarian visa or a New Zealand Special Category Visa and meet the residency requirements.

SSAF.

If you don’t pay your SSAF, sanctions can be placed on end-of-semester marks, meaning that your results will be withheld until it is paid. You can also be prevented from enrolling the next year, so it is best to pay sooner rather than later, whether directly or through the deferral program SA-HELP.

General Secretary Priya Gupta gives you a run-down on that pesky semesterly fee you have to pay.

WHERE DOES IT GO? At USyd, funds from SSAF are pooled and distributed amongst six organisations and services. In 2020, SSAF collected a total of $17.8m and was allocated as below (how exactly we’re not sure, but it sure doesn’t seem to be by need!). • SRC: $1.96m - This is us! Our invaluable services such as legal help and casework are available for free, and our advocacy activities benefit all students. SSAF is our only source of funding. • University of Sydney Union: $5.42m - The USU is in charge of Clubs and Societies, and runs the food and drink outlets on campus. On top of SSAF, the USU has corporate sponsorships, are paid rent by companies using their faculties, sell merchandise, and have a paid membership model for which grants students discounts on campus. • Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association: $1.97m - SUPRA is the post-graduate equivalent of the SRC. • Cumberland Student Guild: $0.83m CGS is the student organisation for the USyd Cumberland Campus, coordinating clubs and societies, food and drink, social activities etc.

S T U D EN T S’ R EPR E S EN TAT I V E CO U N C I L , U N I V ER S I T Y O F S Y D N E Y

• Sydney University Sport and Fitness: $5.60m - Despite SUSF receiving the largest chunk of our SSAF pie, a whopping 2.5x (almost!) as much as the SRC gets, to use their services students must pay both membership and facilities fees, and SUSF also has additional streams of revenue. WHY WAS IT IMPLEMENTED? In 2006, the Howard government removed the policy of Universal Student Unionism, which had previously ensured a regular stream of funding for student organisations through compulsory student contributions. This was replaced by Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) which was a major blow for student organisations throughout Australia, and saw many student unions forced to merge with their university, losing independence. In 2011, the Gillard government introduced compulsory fees in the form of SSAF, but did not mandate that this money go only to student organisations, meaning that organisations like SUSF are able to receive the highest proportion of students’ money.

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Getting involved in the SRC... By Priya Gupta

The SRC is your student union! Get involved, help agitate for students’ rights at USyd and beyond, join a collective, and tell your friends about our services!

STAYING IN TOUCH

VOLUNTEERING

OUTREACH

The best ways of staying up to date on the SRC’s activities are via our Facebook page (@USydSRC) and our mailing list. Here you will see opportunities to get involved, the current issues we are mobilising around, and our response to what is happening in the university and world around us!

This year, we hope to develop a number of volunteering opportunities for students, for which we will provide accreditation.

The SRC provides a number of essential services to students, for free. We would like to ensure that the maximum number of students as possible know about us and what we offer, and so will be conducting a number of outreach activities throughout the year. You can help us, by chatting to students in a stall on Eastern Avenue, helping us organise fun and effective outreach events, and talking to your friends about what we do!

Our website also provides comprehensive information about the SRC and the services we offer, our student representatives, and contains a wealth of excellent resources prepared by our casework department. Check it out at http://srcusyd.net.au.

ACTIVISM & THE COLLECTIVES The collectives of the SRC are our main activist branch. They are groups of students mobilising around distinct issues or identities. Joining one (or a few) is a fantastic way to get the lay of the land regarding activism at USyd, meet likeminded people, and learn more about issues you care about. Last year, our collectives organised against increased university fees, course and staff cuts at USyd, transphobic legislation, and supported the End Bla(c)k Deaths In Custody campaign, amongst others. Some collectives are open to everyone, such as the Education and Environmental collective, and others are only open to people inhabiting a specific identity; for example, the Queer Action Collective is only open to queer people. For a description of the numerous SRC Collectives and their contact details, check out pages 8-9 of this handbook!

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Food Hub Project In 2020, in response to COVID-19 and its effect on many students’ already insecure employment, the SRC developed a Mutual Aid program to help students access groceries and other essential items. We called and emailed over a hundred companies for donations, and sorted, packed and delivered hundreds of boxes of essential items to students in our community, while being COVID-safe in the uncertain times at the beginning of the pandemic. This effort was supported by hardworking staff of the SRC, and would have been impossible without the dozens of volunteers who were willing to put in the hours to help their fellow students. This year, we have consolidated the Mutual Aid project into a more long-term and sustainable project, in partnership with the University of Sydney Union (USU) and USyd Student Life, and supported by Food Bank Australia, Study NSW, and the NSW Government. Throughout the year we will need volunteers doing a number of jobs to help run this program, just as we did last year. Like the SRC Facebook page and sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know when we need help. More to come! We have other exciting volunteering opportunities in the works for this year. For more information and to stay updated, check out our website and Facebook page!

STUDENT REPRESENTATION We are hoping to have a number of forums throughout the year where we consult with students regarding common academic issues, student life, international student settlements and much more! This can only be effective if you show up! The SRC is the body on campus fighting for your rights—engage with us so that we can best help you and other students! Last year we opposed the use of ProctorU, pushed the university to compassionately respond to COVID-19 and loosen requirements for special considerations and attendance, and opposed the 12-week semester. In the past, the SRC has seen some big wins for students due to students throughout the university getting involved. We would love to hear from you about which issues you consider important!

HONI SOIT Interested in writing or making art for Honi Soit? Email editors@honisoit.com with your pitch and check out our website: honisoit.com. Alternatively, our contributor callout can be found here:

WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


S T U D EN T S’ R EPR E S EN TAT I V E CO U N C I L , U N I V ER S I T Y O F S Y D N E Y

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SRC COLLECTIVES

The SRC collectives are groups of students mobilising around distinct issues or identities, and are our main branch of activism. joining one (or a few) is a fantastic way to get involved in activism at USyd, meet like-minded people, and learn more about issues you care about. Queer Action Collective (QuAc) The USyd Queer Action Collective is an autonomous activist group that organises around the rights of queer people, both on and off campus. We prioritise intersectional analysis in this collective, recognising that other axes of oppression (e.g. race, gender, capacity) indelibly impact people’s experience of queerness. We are engaged in the ongoing process of decolonising activism and working with several queer community organisations to uplift queer people in all settings. Queer people often must rely on chosen communities for both material and emotional support; in the isolation of 2020, we were especially vulnerable to alienation and economic insecurity. Amidst this crisis, 2020 saw further attacks on the rights of trans and gender diverse people by governments at all levels. In 2021, we renew our commitment to queer solidarity and to uncompromising campaigns against all attacks on our lives and rights. We appreciate that a strategy for queer liberation includes not only winning legal protections but in material solidarity with the most vulnerable members of the queer community. Get in touch with us through our Facebook at USyd Queer Action Collective (@ USydQueer) to see what campaigns are upcoming and join our private organising group. Feel free to email us at queer. officers@src.usyd.edu.au if you have questions! During semester, we hold meetings in the QueerSpace (Level 1, Manning House) where all queer students can attend - just look out for meeting times in the Facebook group!

Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) is an autonomous collective that organises activism and education against racism, colonialism, imperialism and all other forms of oppression that impact people of colour. In 2021, we seek to centre the voices and concerns of Indigenous communities whilst working on more cross-collective mobilising and engaging with international solidarity actions from a student perspective. As an autonomous collective, we are only open to students who identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, who come from a minority ethnocultural background, or who are marked or marginalised by white supremacy. However, we actively encourage white people and those who benefit from white supremacy to attend or help out with the various events that we’ll run throughout the year. If you have any questions or would like to get involved and join our private group to keep updated, you can find us at Welcome Week Stalls or contact us online via: Facebook & Instagram: @USydACAR Twitter: @ACARUSyd Email: ethnocultural.officers@src.usyd. edu.au

Young Workers Collective (YWC) Young Workers Collective is a radical, anti-capitalist collective of workers and students that organises against wage theft, workplace abuse and any entity that seeks to restrict the wellbeing, rights and autonomy of workers. We fight for workers ownership of the means of production, true democracy and the abolition of commodity production and the bourgeois class. Facebook Page: @UsydYWC

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Education Action Group (EAG) The Education Action Group (EAG) is an activist collective on campus that is committed to organising protests and other activist actions in defence of students rights and other social justice issues. Last year the EAG organised around 15 actions that mobilised hundreds of students. These were primarily in defence of the massive attacks to our education; fee increases, course and staff cuts, and restructures. Although these cuts were sparked by the COVID crisis, they were also cuts that universities had been planning previously. At Sydney Uni, this was proven when the year ended with a surplus and drop in enrolments for Semester 2. We plan on continuing these protests. It seems highly likely that the university will continue cutting courses, and mobilising around these cuts is vital. This year is also an EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement) year, which means that the staff here have the opportunity to go on strike and negotiate an agreement with better pay and conditions. Staff and student solidarity is essential for both parties, so the EAG will put resources into mobilising students to support and stand with staff to our full capacity. Lastly, we believe that students care and can be mobilised around other social justice issues as well. Not only do students face a future with a deteriorated education system, we also face an impending climate catastrophe and economic crisis. As an activist group, we want to mobilise around these issues as well, not to mention other issues of injustice and oppression. 2020 marked a decided shift in global and Australian capitalism. Although it is hard to predict where 2021 will take us, we can be sure that the ruling class will try to stymie our rights and living standards, and that the only way to defend these things is through mobilising on the streets. Facebook Page: Sydney University Education Action Group Facebook Group: Sydney University Education Action Group (EAG) Organising

WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


Women’s Collective (WoCo)

Welfare Action Group

Environment Collective (Enviro)

The Women’s Collective is a horizontal autonomous organising space for radically left-wing feminist activism. WoCo has organised at the University of Sydney for over 50 years, primarily focusing on activism against sexual violence on and off campus, and for abortion access and reproductive justice. We fight to free all who suffer under patriarchy.

The Welfare Action Group is an organising space around student rights on and off campus. The government and university don’t meet many students’ basic food, housing and health needs, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds or those unable to find work. We aim to highlight and address these problems and fight for equity and against discrimination.

The Environment collective is the USyd branch of ASEN (Australian Student Environment Network): a space for USyd students to have a voice on environmental issues on and off-campus, work together to build community and facilitate environmental activism. We are anti-hierarchical, anti-colonial and anti-capitalist, and we stand together in solidarity with Indigenous communities and workers.

WoCo does not settle for neoliberal or reformist incremental reforms, but fights for true liberation from patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism. Above all, we recognise the stolen land on which we meet, and recognise that there is no feminist justice without Indigenous justice and decolonisation of the carceral, settler state. The Women’s Collective meets weekly to discuss the current landscape of feminist issues, and to strategise and organise our activism accordingly. We host many rallies and organising events, as well as community education events such as panels, reading groups, and open discussions. We also have our own Welcome Week publication called Growing Strong. Please don’t hesitate to get involved. Our main point of contact is our closed Facebook group, just answer a few short questions first! Facebook: facebook.com/usydwoco Instagram: @usydwoco Twitter: @usydwoco

Disabilities Collective (DisCo) The Disabilities Collective is a radical autonomous collective for disabled students at the University of Sydney. We hold social events, publish an edition of the student newspaper each year, and engage in protest and activism in conjunction with broader community groups, such as the Disabled and Neurodiverse Workers Alliance (DNWA). If you would like to get involved in the collective, our activism and our social events, please get in touch! You can message the Facebook page (@USYDdis) or or email us at disabilities.officers@src. usyd.edu.au to contact the 2021 OBs Margot and Sarah to be added to our mailing list or secret Facebook group.

Some issues which we plan to mobilise around in 2021 are: safe and affordable housing for all students, protecting workers rights, safety on campus, adequate provision of student services, solidarity with First Nations people and ending the exploitation of international students. We will hold fortnightly meetings, contingents to protests and educational events throughout the year. The Welfare Action group is non-autonomous and open to all. Join the Facebook page and group: USyd Welfare Action Group

International Student Collective (ISC) The International Student Collective works side-by-side with other student bodies to provide support and advocacy for all international students, serving to make the campus a more egalitarian place. Due to the current pandemic, most international students are still barred from entering Australia this semester, yet several webinars and networking events will still be held regularly by International Student Collective, with an aim to assist students with making connections with their peers. In addition, concerning the increasing tuition fee for international students, we will endeavour to negotiate for more financial aid this year. Email international.officers@src.usyd.edu. au for any concerns in your university life and join our Facebook group for more information (International Students Collective USYD).

We aim to expose the ties between the university and fossil fuel industry who still invests millions in coal, gas and oil, showing that the very institution which claims to be preparing us for the future is complicit in its destruction. We deserve a better future than the one for which the University is planning. More widely, we support progressive movements like the education protests, staff and student strikes, anti-coal, gas and oil protests and anti-exploitation projects (e.g. Coles Boycott December 2020). If you have questions about the capitalist, colonial project, how that translates into real-world harms and what you can do to resist, joining Enviro is a good place to start. Of course, we need people power to make change happen. This is where you come in. We are a grassroots collective meaning that we rely on consensus decision-making, teamwork, solidarity and collaboration to struggle for a better world. You can join us by writing for our publications, speaking at rallies, representing the collective at external meetings, presenting at strategy days, attending blockades, rallies and poster runs, leafleting and banner paints. We organise primarily on unceded Gadigal land. Issues of land and environment are intrinsically linked with Indigenous identity and there is no climate justice without Indigenous justice. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land. Facebook: USyd Enviro Collective 2021 Facebook organising group: USyd Enviro Collective 2021 Instagram: @usyd_enviro Twitter: @EnviroUsyd

Join a collective to get the lay of the land about activism at USyd

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Supporting you in difficult times University life can be a challenging time for students and it can be overwhelming when faced with a legal problem or issue. Your SRC understands this and thus we have the SRC Legal Service; a specialist legal practice that helps all USyd undergraduate students with their legal problems and concerns.

SRC LEGAL SERVICE SRC Principal Solicitor Jahan Kalantar breaks down how the SRC Legal Service can help you

What is the SRC Legal Service? The SRC Legal service is a legal service staffed by volunteers and solicitors who provide free, confidential and timely advice in relation to a variety of legal issues for undergraduate students of Sydney University. The SRC Legal service can assist you in the following ways: • Providing advice regarding legal issues or problems • Providing referral in relation to more complex legal matters • Appearing on the behalf of students at Courts and tribunals

What types of problems does the SRC Legal Service help with? The SRC Legal Service has expertise in a variety of different areas and can provide support with the following issues: • Workplace and Employment Issues • Criminal Matters • Traffic Matters • Protesting and Civil Liberty Matters The SRC Legal service also can provide referrals in certain cases for other types of matters including • Immigration matters • Family Law • Complex Legal Matters So if you have any questions or issues, please do not hesitate to contact the SRC legal service via the SRC Office (Level 1, Wentworth Building) or on our email at solicitor@src.usyd.edu.au

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TAMING CENTRELINK SRC Caseworkers walk you through dealing with the trials and tribulations of centrelink Centrelink is a difficult place to deal with at the best of times. The bureaucratic hurdles are so high that many people walk away without getting the payment they deserve. Maybe they do this deliberately, to stop you from applying. Some people self-exclude, because they don’t think they deserve it. Consider this: Education benefits both the individual and the community, and should be supported by a progressive taxation system. So, take the money, and focus your time on your education.

Always report income when it is earned, even if you have not yet been paid. If you are working while studying, have a look on the SRC website for the leaflet on the Student Income Bank. This way you can calculate how much your payment should be, so you know if they have calculated the amount correctly. If you notice any mistakes, get advice from an SRC caseworker.

Centrelink workers are overworked and underpaid and sometimes not very well trained. Try to be patient with them. It is not the workers’ fault that you have to wait two hours just to get through to them on the phone. Plan ahead and have something else to do while you wait. The same applies when going to your local office. Some people think the wait is shortest at the beginning of the day, so it might be worth your time calling or visiting as soon as they open.

• How earning money effects your Centrelink payment

Always report any changes in your circumstances. This includes moving house, getting a new housemate, changing subjects, getting an inheritance or scholarship, going overseas, or changes in your relationship status. Anything that happens that you do not report can be used as a reason to penalise you (financially) or cut off your payment. Make sure you keep proof that you reported these changes, just in case they make a mistake in processing it.

If you still have any questions or need advice, contact an SRC Caseworker by emailing the details of your situation to help@ src.usyd.edu.au or if you prefer, book an appointment by calling 9660 5222. This service is available to all University of Sydney undergraduates for free, there is also a similar service through SUPRA for postgraduates. We are happy to offer you independent and confidential advice.

Read everything they send you. We know they send many, many letters and emails, about many, many (often irrelevant) Centrelink deals with thousands of people everyday. things. However, you have to read them. You are assumed Everyone has dozens of pieces of paper and screens to have read them when it comes to challenging Centrelink of computer information to process. It is inevitable that decisions. things get lost or misinterpreted. For this reason, keep copies of everything that you give them. If you have a Centrelink is governed by the Social Security Act which is phone conversation ask them for a receipt number. Email very long, and has many nuances to it. Sometimes our wellyour receipt number, together with a short description of meaning friends might want to help you, but they might not what you spoke about to yourself, so that you have that know about the very slight differences in your situation that information, should you need it in the future. changes how the Act applies to you. If you have any questions start by looking at the SRC’s website that has information on: The delay on getting your first payment can be months. That means a long time without money. Talk to an SRC • The different payments available for students caseworker about your options in the meantime, and check • Being assessed as independent our online leaflet on Living With Little Money.

• The impact of your parents’ income • The impact of your savings when applying for a payment • The impact of being in a relationship • Some changes in Centrelink due to COVID-19.

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Ac c o m m o d a t i o n

SRC Caseworkers give you some top tips about dealing with accomModation as a student Choosing your home Consider the following when choosing your home: COST – You should not be paying more than 50% of your income on rent. LOCATION – Check how long your commute to Uni is, and if needed, is there safe, free parking nearby. Factor in the cost and time taken to travel when deciding what you can afford. Spend some time in the area to see how loud passing planes may be or what effect roadworks could have. CONDITION – Inspect the home, looking for issues like rodents or pests (look at the inside edges of the kitchen cupboard doors for cockroach poo and small holes in the bottom of walls or cupboards), mould, water pressure, temperature, and general cleanliness of the home.

Scams There are lots of housing scams designed to steal money, especially from international students. Do not sign an agreement without inspecting the property first. Do not transfer money to an overseas account, or use a money transfer service like Western Union. Always ask for a receipt. Remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it is probably a scam.

home before your contract is finished. If you do not understand your contract, ask an SRC Caseworker for help before signing it. Take a photo or scan the document after you sign it, and email it to yourself so you don’t lose it.

Condition report and photos Before you move in to your home take photos of anything that is dirty, broken, or damaged. Email those photos to yourself so they are time stamped. Your phone can put a timestamp on your photos, but the tribunal prefer emails. Some renters will be given a condition report at the beginning of the tenancy, which outlines what condition you need to have the property in when you move out. Take the time to complete the condition report thoroughly as this will save you a lot of money in the long run. While you are living there, contact your landlord by email to have a written record. If you talk on the phone, email them a follow up summary of what you talked about. When you move out, take photos of every wall, floor, oven, bathtub, sinks, windows etc., and email them to yourself, to prove that you did not damage anythi

Fleeing domestic and family violence If you are fleeing domestic and family violence there are additional supports that might be available to you. Talk to an SRC Caseworker for details.

Bonds and deposits

Emergency or temporary accommodation

Residential Tenants (usually people who don’t live in the same home as their landlord) will usually pay a bond of no more than the equivalent of 4 weeks rent. It is meant to be kept by the NSW Rental Bond Board, and you should receive a receipt within a couple of weeks of moving in.

SRC Caseworkers may be able to help you with some (limited) temporary and emergency accommodation. Make an appointment by calling 9660 5222. If it is outside of business hours call Link2Home on 1800 152 152.

Deposits (like a bond for other types of renters) have no rules, so make sure you keep a copy of the receipt. Your bank statement will not always be considered a receipt. Housing NSW has a scheme called Rentstart, to help low income earners ($571 per week or less) afford to live in a rental property. They will give you 75% of your bond as an interest free loan. Conditions include being an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and having rent of less than 50% of the household’s income. Ask an SRC Caseworker for more information.

Documents Never sign a blank form or a document you have not read. Pay special attention to what the penalties will be if you leave the

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Free furniture etc. Op Shops can provide cheap or free furniture and appliances. Visit affluent suburbs on their council clean up days for things they no longer want. Check Facebook groups for “street bounty” or “pay it forward” items. Some students use milk crates to make things like bed bases, coffee tables, dinner tables, etc. This is an illegal use of milk crates, so the SRC would definitely not tell you to try that.

Share housing Share housing can be an experience that ranges from really fun and invigorating, through to a special type of hell. For tips on how to make the most out of your situation go to the Share Housing Survival Guide at sharehousing.org.

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Academic Hurdles SRC Caseworker Mel walks you through dealing with special cons and overcoming hurdles SRC Caseworkers can give advice on almost anything that affects your studies. The SRC’s website has some leaflets on a range of issues, but if you have specific questions, contact a caseworker.

reasonable accommodations. For medical conditions that are included in your disability academic plan, you can only apply for special consideration if your illness is exacerbated.

Special Consideration

What if you only need a couple of days?

What is special consideration?

Your subject coordinator is able to grant a two-working day extension for a non-examination task. This is separate to special consideration and does not change any conditions or deadlines. Ask your co-ordinator directly.

If you (or someone you are the primary carer for) experience short-term (four weeks or less) illness (physical or mental), injury or misadventure, that affects your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration. How can you apply? Go to the special consideration portal to apply and see what documentation you need. You must get medical documentation (e.g., Professional Practitioner’s Certificates) on or before the assessment’s deadline. If you cannot see your doctor, use a home doctor service, as backdated documentation is not usually considered. You must submit your application within 3 working days of the assignment deadline, unless you have a compelling reason. Most late application are rejected. What should you do while waiting? If you missed an exam, start studying as soon as you can, or if it was an assignment, submit it to your subject coordinator (even by email) as soon as possible. Do not wait for your special consideration to be approved, as it may be retrospective, and you might miss the new deadline. What happens if you are successful? You might be given a supplementary exam, or extension for your essay, or maybe have assessments reweighted. You will never just get extra marks. What if you are still sick? If you are still too sick to complete the assessment, apply for special consideration again. If you are not able to get a further special consideration you will automatically get a Discontinue Not Fail (DC) grade. This means you will need to re-do the subject for it to count, but you will not have a fail grade on your transcript, and it will not affect your average. Talk to an SRC Caseworker about applying for a HECs/fee refund. What about long term illness? If you have a long term (more than 4 weeks) medical condition (physical or mental), you can apply for disability support. This includes chronic illness, or temporary conditions such as broken limbs or pregnancy. Disability Services can help you with an academic plan to successfully complete your degree with

What if you can’t get documentation? If you have difficulty getting supporting documentation, do not buy a false medical certificate. It is quite likely that the Uni will find out, and you risk being suspended. Companies that sell fake medical certificates and essays have started blackmailing students, so even if the Uni doesn’t find out, you might be caught in an expensive, lifelong trap. SRC Caseworkers are independent of the Uni and can give you confidential advice on what options you have.

Appealing a grade If you believe you received an incorrect mark, you have 15 working days to lodge an informal academic appeal with your subject coordinator. Explain exactly where you should have received more marks and why. If you are not successful you may be able to lodge a formal appeal, explaining where there was a breach of policy or procedure. You cannot argue academic opinion at this level of appeal. The formal appeal deadline is 20 working days. Late appeals are not often considered. For more details check the academic appeals leaflet on our website.

Academic honesty In any assignments, including exams, you must reference ideas or words from another source, even your own previous assignments. The Academic Honesty Education Module explains how to correctly paraphrase and reference, and you can also talk to a Peer Learning Advisor. Incorrectly referenced assignments will be considered academically dishonest and may lead to a fail. Most online tutoring and file sharing sites are considered academically dishonest and may lead to “misconduct” and a penalty of suspension from Uni. If a tutoring company offers to write part or all of your assignment, or if the website has answers from other students, it is likely that they are not legitimate. Avoid using sites like Course Hero, Chegg or Github, even if you used them legitimately in high school. Similarly, avoid services on websites like Sydney Today, or advertised through WeChat. Sharing answers on Facebook groups is usually considered misconduct too, so check with your lecturer what sites you are allowed to use. If you are accused of academic dishonesty or misconduct, contact an SRC Caseworker for advice that is independent of the Uni.

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Surviving Uni

Priya Gupta gives you the tips and tricks to get through your first year of uni in one piece

Units of Study, Credit Points and UoS Outline

Piazza & Ed

Units of Study are your subjects, with each assigned a number of credit points, usually between 2cp (for OLEs) and 6cp (for most regular subjects).

These platforms host subject-specific workspaces where students can ask questions of the whole cohort and teaching staff. This is a good first stop to ask a question about class content or assessments (or really anything which isn’t personal), for good reasons; the burden of answering questions can be shared around, leading to quicker and more comprehensive reponses, and students are able to learn from questions that others ask.

All units of study have a code made up of four letters referring to the school it falls within, and four numbers eg. ANAT2001. The level of the subject (i.e. 1000, 2000, 3000…) generally indicates the amount of pre-requisite knowledge, and what year you will complete the subject in. However, you can do subjects out of line with your year as long as you have space within your degree to do so and fulfil the requirements. Unit of Study outlines contain the important information about a subject, including the dates and types of assessments, learning outcomes, textbook requirements, and mode of teaching. For 1000 level units, these are released two weeks before the first teaching day, and one week for other levels - make sure you have a look!

Sydney Student Sydney Student is where the administrative side of your degree happens. This is where you enrol, choose your majors and subjects, make (or defer) payments, store and change your personal details, view end of semester results, discontinue subjects, and more.

Canvas Canvas is the central platform you will use on a daily basis while studying; it is where you will watch lectures, upload assignments, find resources, notifications, and all other relevant information. Downloading the Canvas app on your phone can be useful in a pinch, but the online version works far better.

Timetable USyd’s hosting platform for timetables has changed this year. Our assessment: worse looking interface than previous years with seemingly less control over your timetable, but slightly less infuriating to use. By now you should have indicated your preferences for classes and been assigned a timetable, hopefully one that works well for you. You should still be able to change your allocated classes, but get onto it quickly, as this function closes a few weeks into the semester. Make sure you regularly check your timetable and look at the correct week, as classes may be off some weeks or in an alternate location. This is easier if you link your timetable to your Google Calender, which - it must be said - is the superior online calender.

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Handbooks The online faculty handbooks have all the information that you need to figure out your major/s, and determine what subjects you can and have to do throughout your degree. For each major, the requirements are set out, along with a list and description of eligible subjects which you can explore. Hot Tip (something that your very own editor didn’t discover until 3 years in): The handbooks get updated every year, and the previous years’ handbooks are archived. If you begin at USyd in 2021, you need to refer to the 2021 Handbook for your entire degree. Every year after your first year, the current edition will be inapplicable to you, and cause much distress when you start to think that you haven’t fulfilled your degree requirements.

Textbooks and readings Technically, universities may not make students purchase materials which are essential to the course separate to the course cost itself. Unfortunately, this isn’t enforced well, and some faculties, such as Law, require you to purchase textbooks regularly. However, for many others, the two situations you are likely to encounter are: Textbooks or readings are recommended, but not essential to the course. You will have to determine if you would benefit from having them. Readings are essential and examinable, but provided in full. Wait until a few weeks into the semester before making a decision to purchase textbooks, as you will have a better idea if it necessary for you. Second-hand textbooks are a great way to save money, and for the most part, the past few versions of the textbook will contain nearly identical information, and be adequate as a replacement. StudentVIP is a very handy platform for purchasing textbooks directly from other students (as well as a great all-around resource to find subject-specific tutors, subject reviews, and even a great map of USyd if you get the app). Some courses have official notes or bound printouts of readings available to purchase from Kopystop; this is near Broadway, but you can check their catalogue online. Some students use websites such as z-library to download textbooks, but as this is illegal, we can certainly not recommend it.

WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


Library and Database Subscriptions

Important Dates

The libraries at USyd are a great resource which you should utilise during your time studying! There are a few different libraries on campus with which you will have varying difficulty finding a table, but you can book rooms or study desks at some online, usually a few days to a week in advance.

These deadlines are very final, so make sure you are familiar with them and don’t procrastinate if you start to doubt that a subject is right for you. The dates listed below are for Semester 1.

The USyd Library Website is invaluable for research assignments, and allows you to search for general terms or specific readings. Clicking on a result tends to prompt you to either directly download a PDF or to navigate to the database where the material is published, and log in through your USyd account. It is possible to request an item from another library if you’re desperate for a specific resource. You have access to a number of useful databases which USyd pays subscriptions for. When searching through a database (eg. JSTOR) directly, always try to log in with your Unikey/Password combination.

Student IDs This year, Student IDs are more important than ever; to access any building, including libraries and bathrooms, students must swipe in with their card. This was implemented during COVID to allow reduced levels of staffing of buildings, and ensure that only students were using the faculties. You will also need your Student ID during exams, so make sure to order it through Sydney Student if you haven’t already.

Part-time vs Full-time study: Part-time and full-time are two different modes of study, based on the number of credit points you complete in a given semester.

Last day to add a unit of study: 12th March This is exactly what it sounds like! Census Date - 31st March This is the last date to discontinue a unit of study where you do not have to pay for the unit and it does not appear on your transcript. To withdraw from a subject: Sydney Student > My Studies > Units of Study > press the bin icon next to the subject in your selections. Last day to Discontinue not to count as failure a unit of study - 24th april (end of week 7) If you discontinue before this date, you will receive a DC (discontinue no fail) grade on your transcript, rather than a fail. You will have to pay the cost of the subject. To discontinue a unit after the census date: Sydney Student > My Studies > Units of Study > Other Options > Discontinue Last date to Discontinue Fail- 6th June (or on last day of classes) If you discontinue a subject before this date, you receive a DF (discontinue fail) grade on your transcript, but it does not affect your WAM, and a mark is not given. You will need to pay for the subject. After this deadline, you can’t drop a subject. It will appear on your transcript alongside a mark, and you are required to pay for the subject.

Domestic students: Full time study is considered to be 18 cp and over in a semester. Whilst part-time generally extends the length of your degree, there are many possible reasons why full-time study is not feasible for you as a student. However, implications of part-time study include not being eligible for a Concession Opal card, or for Centrelink payments Austudy and Youth Allowance. International students: Required to undertake 24cp per semester. If you want to drop a subject or study under 24cp, you must apply for a reduced study load. The 24cp can be split over different ‘sessions’ in a semester; for example, 18cp can be done in the regular ‘Semester 1/2’ session, and 6cp done during an ‘Intensive’ session.

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HEALTH CARE Health Care Card and Low Income Health Care Card

A Health Care card entitles you to receive certain discounts and services. People on specific centrelink payments are eligible for a card and should be automatically sent one without an additional application. These payments include ABSTUDY, Austudy, Jobseeker, and Youth Allowance. Benefits of a Health Care Card in NSW include: • Reduced pharmaceuticals • Free ambulance cover • Access to free dental care • Free prescription lenses and frames • Discounts to most alternative medical practices As a student, if you are a ‘low income earner’ you may be eligible for a similar card, the Low Income Health Care Card. The threshold earning to be eligible for this card is about $571 per week over an 8 week period. To claim call 132 490 or navigate to the Low Income Health Care Card page on Services Australia’s website.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is a mandatory condition of Student Visas, and provides health cover for international students. This helps to pay for visits to the doctor, some hospital treatments, ambulance services and some prescriptions. Depending on the OSHC account, you may be covered for additional services such as private psychologist visits, but costs and reimbursement amounts will differ. Each different OSHC provider has different packages that cover different services. Check your policy or call your provider to check what is included for you. At many clinics, OSHC will bulk bill your doctor, which means they directly pay for the appointment. Some doctors charge a gap fee, which is extra money you have to pay which is not covered by OSHC. The University Health Services in the Wentworth Building (level 3) will bulk bill students with Allianz OSHC, however students with other OSHC accounts will need to pay the consultation fee (starts at $38.20), then claim the cost back from their insurance. They do not charge a ‘gap fee’.

Sexual Health Services

a[TEST] Fast, free and confidential rapid HIV and STI testing service for men who have sex with men. No medicare card required. Conveniently located on Newtown’s King Street. It can be a bit hard to find from the street but the door is just down from Clem’s, opposite the Cooper’s Hotel, head up the stairs and you’re there! 222 King St, Newtown You can book an appointment online at endinghiv.org.au/testoften/book-a-test/ Family Planning Ashfield Family Planning Ashfield provides advice and services on a wide range of matters including pregnancy, contraception, cervical cancer screening, testing and treatment of STIs, and management of gynecological issues. They also provide advice regarding termination of pregnancies. Sessions are bulk-billed for students. Phone 8752 4300 328-336 Liverpool Road Ashfield

MENTAL HEALTH CAPS The University provides free counselling appointments through their Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Currently, CAPS are conducting appointments via Zoom or phone, and students may access six appointments per year. To make an appointment with a CAPS counsellor, call CAPS reception on 86278433 or complete a booking request form on the university website. Mental Wellbeing Support Line This service is managed by CAPS, and offers immediate support 24/7, including University close-down periods. Call 1300474065 from within Australia, or text 0488884429. Community Resources 24-hour crisis phone counselling is also available from the following community resources: Lifeline 13 11 14 (online chat or video also available 7pm – midnight)

There are many free and confidential sexual health services providing information for diverse sexualities and genders. They will give you accurate advice without any judgement, so it’s safe to ask them any questions.

Mental Health Line (NSW) 1800 011 511

RPA SEXUAL HEALTH CLINIC Provides free and confidential STI and HIV testing with no Medicare card required, so anyone is welcome. Located right next to campus, just off Parramatta Rd near Nandos. Queer friendly!

NSW Rape Crisis Service 1800 424 017

Suicide callback service 1300 659 467 (online chat or video also available 24 hours)

16 Marsden St, Camperdown Ph: 9515 1200

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Disability Rights on Campus Disabilities Officers Margot Beavon-Collin and Sarah Korte talk you through your rights and options while studing

WHAT IS DISABILITY?

RESOURCES

As defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, disability refers to “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” It is important to note that this definition includes people who may not personally consider themselves as disabled or having a disability, such as people with mental, chronic, or terminal illnesses; people who are neurodivergent; and people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing. 20% of people living in Australia are disabled. This figure is higher in groups with intersecting marginalised identities, due to factors such as lack of access to healthcare, socioeconomic conditions, and intergenerational trauma. In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities the figure is 50%. LGBTQIA+ people also experience disproportionate levels of disability.

By Robin Eames; Adapted from 2018 Orientation Handbook SRC Disabilities Collective The Disabilities Collective is an autonomous collective for disabled undergraduate students. Contact the 2021 Office-bearers at disabilities.offiers@src.usyd.edu.au, or check out the Facebook page at @USYDdis.

YOUR RIGHTS AS A DISABLED STUDENT The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards) enshrine in law the right of disabled students to access education and training ‘on the same basis’ as non-disabled students. The Standards apply to education providers. Universities can meet their obligations under the Standards by giving consideration to ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that students with disability are provided with opportunities to participate in education and training on the same basis as students without disability. You have the right to: • Use an assistive device or mobility aid • Be accompanied by a carer, interpreter, reader or assistant • Be accompanied by a guide or hearing dog or other trained assistant animal • Access reasonable adjustments for lectures, tutorials, and assessments such as extensions or extra time, so that you are not disadvantaged by your disability • Access lecture materials in a format that you can understand • Seek redress for abuse or harassment on the basis of disability Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the DDA, and violations of the DDA are difficult to prosecute. Unlike other antidiscrimination legislation, the DDA has a clause for “unjustifiable hardship”, meaning that people and companies can be given an exception to discriminate in cases when not discriminating would result in “unjustifiable hardship”, such as high expense. Heritagelisted buildings are also granted exceptions to the law. If you experience ableist discrimination at the University of Sydney, you may find it useful to consult with the SRC legal service, which provides students with free legal advice, representation in court where relevant, and a referral service.

Caregivers Network The Caregivers Network is an initiative for students who provide substantial informal caregiving support to friends or family who are disabled. Contact the disabilities officers for more information. Disability Services Disability services is the main point of contact for accessing disability accommodations during your study. Some of the accommodations they can arrange include: • Assessment and exam adjustments, including extra time, smaller exam room, use of a computer • Timetable adjustments, including making sure that your lectures are close together, nearby to bus stops, or held in buildings which are wheelchair accessible or have hearing loop equipment • Alternative formatting • Access to assistive technology • Lecture support • Library services Contact Disability Services for more information and to register. Phone: +61 2 8627 5067 Email: disability.services@sydney.edu.au Address: Level 5, Jane Foss Russel Building G02 (lift accessible) Faculty Disability Liaison Officer Each faculty or school has at least one Faculty Disability Liaison Officer who can provide quick advice which is specific to your learning environment. Find contact details for your support officer on the USyd Website. SUPRA Equity network The Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association has a number of equity networks, one of which is the Network for Students Living with a Disability. Contact them at disability@supra. usyd.edu.au Disability Inclusion Week Every year the university hosts a Disability Inclusion week which features workshops, accessibility initiatives, social events, lectures, lunches, and more.

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BY Vice President Yue (Maria) Ge.

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Resources For VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

By Ellie Wilson; Adapted from 2021 Growing Strong by Anne Zhao and Priya Gupta If you have personally experienced sexual violence, you should first know that it is not your fault. Sexual harassment, assault, and rape are always entirely a decision made by the the assaulter and are not caused or in any way justified by anything you have done. Explicit, informed, ongoing, and enthusiastic consent is not optional; it is necessary. If you need support, there are a number of services that are available to you. If you need help making a report to the university or police, or finding other resources, the SRC Caseworker and Legal Services can help direct you. Call 9660 5222 to make an appointment. University of Sydney University Reporting Module The University of Sydney has a reporting module where you can directly report an incident that has taken place. You will need your UniKey to log into the module, but this will be held confidentially, and only seen by specialist staff if you decide to make a formal complaint rather than just submitting a disclosure. Though there is no time limit, it may be good to type your report into a separate document before submitting. Sections such as gender, sexuality, or previous services accessed are optional; if you choose to fill them in, more targeted support services may be recommended to you. If you would like someone to follow up after you submit your report, you can request to be contacted in the ‘Preferred Outcome/Action’ section. You’ll also get a reference number once you submit the report, which it is a good idea to save to be able to use later along with a copy of the report. You can also call 1800 SYD HLP (option 2, then option 1) if you need help with submitting the report. You can find the reporting module by clicking the “Report an Incident” box at this link: sydney.edu.au/students/ sexual-assault/report-to-the-university Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) CAPS is a free counselling service available to USyd students. If you would like to speak to someone about how you’re feeling, call CAPS reception on 8627 8433 or complete the online CAPS Booking Request Form. Medicare is not required. Other Student Liaison Officers can support students around relevant issues; Phone: 8627 6808; Email: safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au If you feel comfortable, you may ask a tutor or lecturer directly to move classes to avoid someone who assaulted you. Resources Specific to Sexual Assault Survivors NSW Health Sexual Assault Services List of 54 other sexual assault clinics across NSW, all open 24/7 NSW Rape Crisis Centre (1800 424 017) Free hotline available 24/7 run by experienced professionals who can provide support, counselling and referrals to other services. Survivors & Mates Support Network (SAMSN) (1800 442 676) Provides individual counselling, and eight-week support groups for adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia Provides 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling for anyone in Australia who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault, family or domestic violence and their non-offending supporters Has a free telephone interpreting service available upon request Sexual Assault Clinic at RPA Hospital (9515 9040) Provides unlimited free face-to-face and telephone counselling services, as well as medical services such as forensic kits and STI testing. These services are offered to outpatients (so you don’t need to be checked into hospital)

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Other services Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (9212 4777) Commonly known as Aboriginal Medical Services/AMS. Health services initiated by Aboriginal people, based in a local Aboriginal community, which deliver holistic and culturally appropriate health services ACON (1300 888 259) LGBTI health organisation offering information, counselling, practical support for LGBTI people experiencing domestic and family violence LegalAid NSW (1300 888 259) Provides means-tested legal support over the phone; factsheets and other resources available on the website Link2Home (1800 152 152) Information and referral telephone service run by the NSW government for people experiencing housing instability Mental Health Care Plan MHCP are plans provided by a GP which describes a treatment and care plan for people with mental health conditions. People with a MHCP are entitled to Medicare rebates for up to 20 appointments with allied mental health services in a year. If necessary, you can ask your GP to be referred to a free/affordable psychologist, such as Wellbe in Newtown. Psychological Services Support PSS provides free short-term psychological services for people with mild to moderate mental health conditions in underserved groups. GPs can refer patients for a PSS. NSW Victims services (1800 063 633) Victims Services provides support to victims of violent crime in NSW, including free counselling financial assistance and recognition payment if eligible. Twenty10 (8594 9555) Provides housing services, legal support, and health clinics for young LGBTIQ+ people, and counselling and referrals for LGBTIQ+ people of all ages Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service (1800 686 587) Provides legal advice and support for a range of issues, including domestic, sexual, and family violence, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, children, and youth Women’s Legal Service: Independent organisation in NSW providing women with free legal services Women’s Legal Advice Line: 1800 801 501 Domestic Violence Legal Advice Line: 1800 810 784 Indigenous Women’s Legal Contact Line: 1800 639 784 Reporting to Police Whether you make a report, note it with police, press charges, file for an AVO, or avoid police entirely is something that can only be decided by you, and should you want, you can withdraw at any time. Speaking with the police You may report sexual assault at a police station without making a formal statement, meaning that that report will not be investigated. If you would like to discuss whether to make a formal report, you can contact your local police station by phone or face-to-face. Making the formal statement to police If you decide to make a formal statement, you can give an initial overview of what occurred, then complete a formal statement. The detectives will then investigate the complaint, may obtain further statements, and following this will assess whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the matter before courts. Keep in mind that formal reporting is a long and taxing process which will involve remembering and recounting the assault in detail. Sexual Assault Options (SARO) If you do not want to make a formal report to police, you may complete a SARO, an online questionnaire which will not be further investigated. Anonymous reporting is available. Reporting to police information is from the NSW Government website. WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


While the SRC is an activist and advocacy body, the University of Student Union (USU) is the convenor of clubs and societies, and in charge of food and drink outlets on campus. In addition to the SRC collectives, clubs are a great way to get involved in university life and find a community through a passion of yours. Most clubs are free to join, or have a joining fee of up to around $10. As of two years ago, the USU membership required to join clubs is free. There is a paid membership option however, USU Rewards, which mostly grants you discounts at food and merch outlets. For 1 yearm USU Rewards is $45, but differs depending on the duration of membership you purchase. Check out details on the USU website, and consider if it would actually save you any money! Faculty Societies Below is a rundown of some of the bigger societies specific to a faculty.

Arts and Social Science: SASS The Sydney Arts Students’ Society (SASS) provides a wide range of events and initiatives such as a first year camp, pub crawls, an annual ball, interfaculty sport, publications, and career and networking opportunities. Facebook: @sydneyartssociety Email: general.sydneyarts@gmail.com Science: SciSoc SciSoc endeavours to create a community for science enthusiasts and students across the faculty, by running BBQs, science talks, pub crawls, and beach days alongside their big events, Bucky Ball and First Year Camp! Facebook page: @scisocusyd Email: usydscisoc@gmail.com Engineering: SUEUA The Sydney University Engineering Undergraduates’ Association (SUEUA) runs regular events online and in-person on Engineering Lawns, and supports the 18 engineering societies. Facebook page: @SU.Engineers Business: SUBS The Sydney University Business Society (SUBS) aims to enrich the university experience for business students by providing unmatched opportunities to boost their careers and meet new people. Facebook page: Sydney University Business Society - SUBS Law: SULS The Sydney University Law Society (‘SULS’) aims to enrich the law student experience by providing the law school community with a variety of social events, educational support, mooting and skills competitions, careers events, sporting functions and initiatives that inspire students to use the law as an instrument for social change. Website: Suls.org.au Facebook: @SydneyUniversityLawSociety

Debating Society The Debating society has members of all exerience levels, and meets weekly for social debates, and take part in a range of tournaments, both in Australia and Internationally! Facebook: @UniversityOfSydneyUnionDebating Cultural and Religious Societies: There are a number of societies for people of a specific religious or cultural background, or orientated around a particular language, some of which include: The Chinese Students Association The Bangladeshi Society The French society The Iranian society The Korean Association The Arabic Languages and Cultures Society And Many more! Creative Societies If you’re the creative type, join one of the societies below! Some have online performances and classes at the moment. Sydney University Dramatic Society (SUDS) Revues: Commerce, Engineering, International, Law, Science and Wom*n’s Revues Music: Wind Orchestra, Madrigals, Marching Band Association, Musical Theatre Ensemble, BarberSoc... Dancing: Social Dancing Society, Soulxpress... Other notable mentions: Animal Welfare Society Jacaranda Stock Market society Bushwalking Society Pen Society SCA Medieval Society Toastmasters Society Sports - SUSF Sydney Sports and Fitness has a number of sports teams, including swimming, tennis, judo, and archery. The costs can sometimes be prohibitive, but it is worth looking at their different membership options to use their facilities.

CLUBS & SOCIETIES

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INTERNATIONAL GUIDE From Editor Anne: Glad to see all of you, our new international student cohort! Normally it would be a face-face greeting at the beginning of the semester. However, as we all know, this year is a little bit different. We are trying all that we can to make sure that we can meet ASAP including meeting with university to discuss the possibility of returning you from overseas, working for international students to be eligible for a discounted student Opal Card, and working with other organisations to improve overseas students’ VPN experience. Though I have to tell you guys, we need more actions and support from you. No matter where you are from and what cultural background you are, we are here for you! Please get involved in the SRC for a more fulfilling university experience :) From Melaine, a member of International Collective and the whole International Student Department: It is a unique and marvellous experience to be an international student here studying at the University of Sydney. Although you might feel different and lost in a foreign country, our university is reliable and promises to provide all international students a safe and home-like studying and living environment to make you feel less stressed when studying abroad. For instance, at our university, there are many departments and organisations here to help our students with various services including legal, academic, and bursary services. We as international student officers are committed to protecting our fellow students, and will push the university to do the same. The University of Sydney Student Representative Council (SRC) is a student-based organisation which is formed to provide help for our undergraduate students. SRC collected are open for anyone to join if you are passionate about issues relating to university life and beyond. Information about these collectives are on pages 8-9 of this handbook, and on the SRC website.

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In particular, SRC has an International Collective here to help our international students. If you are an international student who is willing to meet other international students or want to make an impact, SRC International Collective is one student body that you can reach out to (details as follows). The SRC also provides all free services for our students including: SRC Casework Help: SRC caseworkers can assist undergraduate students at the University of Sydney with issues that affect them, by providing independent advice, advocacy and support. The service is FREE, independent and confidential. Caseworkers can help with issues such as academic appeals, Centrelink queries, tenancy advice, work-related problems and much more. SRC Legal Service: Legal service provides FREE legal advice and representation on most legal matters including immigration advice. They also provide emergency loan service of $50 to help you make immediate and necessary purchases. Come visit or call the SRC for more details. SRC Publications: The SRC publishes a weekly newspaper Honi Soit as well as other student publications including: O-Week Handbook, Counter Course Handbook, Growing Strong: Wom*ns’ Handbook and more student related publications are available for our students to review. Get involved by writing, making art, or translating for Honi, and read the paper online to stay informed about campus life. The SRC is also always here to protect your rights. You might not think you’ll ever need the SRC, or that the SRC concerns you, but the SRC is here to know your rights, even when you don’t. 02 9660 5222 | Email: help@src.usyd.edu.au Join the International Collective! Facebook: International Students Collective USYD Wechat platform ID: gh_c83498b383997 Wechat platform QR Code: top of next page!

WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


By saying that all international students are wealthy is a gross generalization and stigmatization. With the recent increase in tuition fee and the impact of Covid-19 on the current global economic situation, many international students face the tremendous burden of even meeting the tuition fee. An investigation done by Destination NSW in 2017 showed that an international student visitor spends on average $15,837 in a year on living expenses alone. For a student who may not live close to campus, this number could be significantly decreased if there are travel concessions offered.

Our University and the broader community are often described as culturally diverse, multicultural, and international. We pride ourselves on our philanthropy, and strive to maintain equal rights among members of our community. Still, little is known that behind this mirage, countless international students’ interests have been exploited daily to uphold this hypocrisy. The Education industry makes up a large percentage of Australia’s income, and for USYD alone, international students account for two-fifth of all students enrolled. With the preposterous increase in tuition fee, each international student now has to pay AUD 50,000 to listen to online recordings. For those of us who are keen to return to faceto-face teaching, we will have to pay an additional full-price commute fee to be able to study.

The international student travel concession campaign is not only about helping international students financially; it’s also about recognizing international students as equal and valued members of society by offering the same concessions which the government accepts that domestic students need. The increase in tuition fees while NSW continues to disregard international students rights shows that we are still seen purely as a business transaction. This year, the SRC will continue to fight for international student travel concession and fair fares. For more information and ways to support us, please follow the SRC Facebook page.

New South Wales has been one of the only two states currently not offering student travel concession to international students since 1989. Although activists have been pushing for a fair fare system, the State Government passed the discriminatory Travel Administration Amendment (Travel Concession) Bill in 2006 to legislate the ruthless disregard of international student rights. To this day, the fight for international student concession continues, and it is even more essential at this time of crisis.

FAIR FARES, FAIR EDUCATION! Global Solidarity officer Kigen Mera denounces the lack of concession Opal cards available to international students in NSW

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Your honest guide to VID era O C e h t in s t n e m s s e ass BY Oscar Chaffey

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WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


FACULTY GUIDES S T U D EN T S’ R EPR E S EN TAT I V E CO U N C I L , U N I V ER S I T Y O F S Y D N E Y

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Engineering

Cole Scott-curwood Talks you through the nuts and bolts of engineering at usyd Studying engineering will involve difficult assignments and long hours. It’ll be tough, but thankfully the people and culture of USyd engo make it all worth it. If you’re able to come into uni, I strongly recommend that you do and get involved - it’s the best way to meet new people and get the most out of your degree. If you’re joining us virtually, keep an eye on Canvas for online events. Engo has seven schools: 1. Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. AMME conducts world-class research and has close links with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR). The AMME social societies, Windsoc (aero), MUGS (mech), and SUMO (tron) run an annual networking night and numerous social events throughout the year. 2. Biomedical Engineering. Biomed is our newest school and works to improve lives with biotechnology. The biomed society SUABE normally makes free pancakes outside the PNR building every fortnight and has two professional networking nights a year. 3. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Chem eng focuses on food, energy, health, water, and the environment. The chem eng building has a fantastic courtyard where the chem eng society (SUCES) runs regular BBQs. 4. Civil Engineering. Civil is located right next to Engineering Lawns and includes humanitarian engineering. The civil engineering society (SUCE) normally runs Friday, Week 13 End of Semester parties, and provides lots of industry networking opportunities. 5. Computer Science. Comp sci is located in the new building next to the Seymour Centre. Many engineering students also study comp sci and the computer science society (SYNCS) is very active, excelling at virtual events and hackathons. 6. Electrical and Information Engineering. The elec building is in the process of being torn down, and replaced and the school society, SparkSoc, regularly provides top-tier food events. 7. Project Management. PM is often combined with civil and sits somewhere between the Engineering Faculty and the School of Business. The PM society (PMsoc) runs regular events such as picnics and trivia. If you want extra hands-on engineering experiences, consider joining the teams of USYD Rocketry or USYD Motorsport. If you want technical workshops, check out the USYD Robotics Club (USRC). For exposure to the aerospace profession, come along to events run by the Women in Aerospace Society (SWAE) and Aerospace Society (AIAA). Above, there are lots of opportunities to get involved which will grow your skills and introduce you to new ideas and people. This will undoubtedly improve your time at uni and future prospects while ensuring you complete the Professional Engagement Program (PEP). All extra-curricular activities, engineering related or not, can count towards PEP.

Architecture

Tiffany Talks you through surviving architecture school at USyd Architecture is a challenging and worthwhile degree which feels distinct from others at USyd. In three busy years (for full-time students) you will learn how engineering supports your design, how to design in a way which is environmentally-friendly and benefits society, and the relationship between architecture, humans, and the wider world. The courses in architecture are designed to deliver a high quality of education which refers to contemporary multidisciplinary professional practice. This has a particularly high emphasis in Architectural Studio subjects which are compulsory for Bachelor of Design in Architecture majors. Not only do you gain a broad knowledge of architectural theories, but you create your own design schemes and develop a range of skills, including logical communication, teamwork, analysis and judgement, and research. Most courses in our faculty are challenging and intense, which means that time management is necessary and essential. However, never forget, ‘work hard, play hard’; you don’t want to be having a night out and thinking about your unfinished designs sitting at home. One thing they don’t tell you about architecture is the massive cost. The lack of textbooks cost is more than made up by the materials, computer programs (available on shared computers, and discounted for your own), and large panels or posters to present on. The SRC has emergency loans of $50 available if necessary. Across the board, courses are varied in the kinds of assessments that they offer, but throughout Architecture, there is a stronger focus on projects and assignments rather than exams. Many subjects have semester-long projects which are presented at the end of semester. Classic advice but extremely important; don’t leave things to the last minute. Aside from marks, assignments are so much more interesting and a better learning tool when you take your time with them and give yourself room to make changes and develop your ideas. It is a great idea to join learning clubs and community activities to help make friends and take a break from studying. Besides, taking advantages of learning resources and materials, as well as buddies in your course, can help you learn more and get better marks!

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WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


BUSS1000 Future of Business This course is the foundation of the business world, which introduces models used in analysing practical business cases. To get the most out of this unit, do the readings (provided through Canvas on e-reserve) and actively contribute in tutorials. BUSS1020 Quantitative Business Analysis This course covers the basic quantitative techniques to analyse business problems. It will serve you well to treat quizzes seriously, and get as much practice as you can using past papers. BUSS1030 Accounting, Business and Society This unit gives you a broad understanding of the importance of accounting in business and society. The course starts deceptively easy but takes a turn after week 3. Our suggestions for this unit are to thoroughly read and understand the textbook, and raise your questions during tutorial and consultation time. BUSS 2000: Leading and Influencing in Business This unit is the advanced version of Buss1000. You need to be well prepared ahead of tutorials to participate fully. The percentage of group work of huge and will impact your marks greatly, so make sure you find responsible team members to work alongside.

Part 2: Tips to survive in Business School 1) Plan your major: If your desired career requires you to have a certain certificate, choosing certain majors may benefit you. For instance, students who are doing professional accounting are eligible to be exempt from part of the fundamental CPA AU examination. Some units under the finance major also have many intersections with the certificate of CFA and FRM. If you are also interested in computer science, you can make good use of it by choosing a relevant major such as BA. If you plan to run or work in a global business, industrial relations & human resources and International Business may be your preference. 2) Find responsible members for group projects, and work together. Teammates sometimes play a crucial role in achieving high scores in this unit. For example, presentations in BUSS1000 and BUSS2000 rely heavily on group projects. Making friends in the unit also means that you can talk to your friends about the content and teach each other. 3) Make good use of uni’s resources: There are many places where you can develop your academic and professional skills. For example, there is a career hub right under the ABS building, where staff can review your resume and organize mock interviews. If you find yourself needing peer assistance regarding living and studying, we recommend you turn to PASS, faculty workshop and the peer mentor program. More details can be found in part 3. Part 3: Resources: useful links You can have access to the following sites by typing the word on USYD’s official website: sydney.edu.au. Learning Centre Mathematics Learning Centre PASS (Peer-assisted study sessions) Peer Mentoring Program Scholarship IPP (Industry Placement Program) Career Hub

S T U D EN T S’ R EPR E S EN TAT I V E CO U N C I L , U N I V ER S I T Y O F S Y D N E Y

BUSINESS

Part 1: No matter what major you’ve selected, these four first-year core units need to be completed by all commerce students.

Grace and Rachel Talk you through surviving BUSINESS school at USyd

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Kigen Talks you through surviving law school at USyd Why choose Law School? Many are driven by the career opportunities that law offers, the big bucks, or the pursuit of higher moral goals to protect the environment or aid those who are less fortunate. It is easy to dream, but the reality is that the process of getting there is often relentless. Law school is a painstakingly long and rough journey, and you may find yourself riddled with self-doubt, suffocated by readings while thinking about bailing out once and for all. Although law school may not be the place for everyone, anyone with a passion who is willing to devote themselves can become a great student. USEFUL ADVICE • Reading at law school is intense and will take forever to catch up if you fall behind. Lectures are fast-paced and usually heavy in content, so it is a good idea to attend all lectures and summarize your notes weekly. • Every assessment is a tough hurdle at law school. Law paper markers are not known for generosity; getting a credit/pass score is often the average for many law exams/assessments, so don’t lose your head! • Textbooks are notoriously expensive. To keep it economical, it is always a good idea to check StudentVIP, Book Swaps on Campus, or SULS textbook loan for second-hand books before ordering a brand new one. However, always pay close attention to the edition prescribed! • Make your own sets of notes to consolidate what you’ve learned, then compare them with a friend’s to check if you’ve missed anything. • Ask questions in Tutorials, Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), and Consultations Periods. These are the ONLY chances you’ll have to clarify your understanding of concepts. • When something goes wrong in life and impacts your ability to study, you may apply for an extension or special consideration. The SRC caseworkers and SULS are always ready and willing to help, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

L A W

Law is hard, but there is plenty of support and options for you. Don’t feel pressured to take a full-time load; it is common for students to take 3 units during semester and an additional unit in summer school. Taking a part-time load and interning or volunteering at a legal service can also be a great choice. Take your degree and time at university at your own pace, and don’t forget to take time off to enjoy campus life and get involved in what’s happening around you! May the odds be ever in your favor.

Medicine & Health

Tracy Talks you through the faculties of medicine and health at usyd

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Science will prepare you to play a leading role in health fields in Australia and worldwide, with a combination of disciplines to facilitate an interdisciplinary breadth of knowledge, including Dentistry, Oral Health, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Medical Science, Health Science, and Allied health. This degree will kick-start your career in health. The medicine and health faculty offers up to 1000 hours of clinical placements in different settings, such as public hospitals, communities, and rural areas. While these placements provide students with valuable experience, regretfully, they are unpaid and often pair where students live, meaning they can be prohibitive for students who work to support themselves. Join the ‘Students Against Unpaid Placements’ campaign on Facebook and help make these degrees more accessible. The workload for most courses in the Medicine and Health Science faculty is intense. Many times you will be struggling to juggle finishing an assignment, studying for exams, and going to a clinical placement. Know when to ask for a simple extension or Special Cons. Interprofessional cooperation is vital in the health care systems to improve collaborative patient care; as health professionals become more specialised, patients must visit a wider range of carers who must be able to effectively communicate and work together. In 2021, Sydney Nursing School and the Sydney School of Health Sciences will move to the new Susan Wakil Health Building on our Camperdown/Darlington campus. Bringing together multiple disciples to work in the same precinct, and Interprofessional Units of Study promote this interdisciplinary approach. Tips New medical books and equipment can be expensive to purchase so first see if you can get away with free or cheap resources. USYD library website offers some free eBooks, and platforms like StudentVIP are great to buy second-hand textbooks. Social life is part of University life; join SRC collectives, clubs and societies! While these are a great way to meet people from different faculties, there are also a number of societies relating to Medicine and Health. These can be a great way to supplement your interest and eventual career outside of the classroom. Finally, don’t limit yourself. If you start to gain interests in courses outside of your degree, try them out if possible and allow yourself to consider doing something other than what you had in mind when you started. PAGE 28

WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


SCIENCE Welcome to science! Across all disciplines, you can expect contact hours to reach 20+ per week with regular assessments, large finals and a high degree of specialization in the later years. Science, like every other discipline, exists within a larger, bustling university rife with issues that your coursework won’t be able to solve. From the exploitation of casual staff – your lab assistant, tutors, lecturers – all the way through to the imminent climate crisis, your time at university will put you in a unique place to fight real problems outside of your lecture theatres.

What does the degree look like? Science degrees will involve completing a major, and either a second major or a minor over the course of three years. You may choose to progress onto honours, which is usually dependent on your SciWam (average of your second- and third-year marks). Check out your handbook for specific course information. First year: Maths is compulsory for everyone in first year, so knock it out as soon as you can. This usually involves 2 x 3cp units each semester. You should also complete the first-year requirements for your majors or minor, which can be found in your handbook. Common first year units are Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. You might have a spare elective or two, and I’d strongly recommend ECOP1001 – but I’m a bit biased there. Second year: Start knocking through your course requirements. These will usually take up 12-18 credit points per semester, leaving space to do your OLEs, Dalyell units or electives depending on your degree. Labs usually get longer in second year! Third year: This year will be your most involved. It counts the most towards your Sciwam, and you will have 3-4 3000-level subjects each semester, possibly including interdisciplinary units.

What’s in a basic unit: Most subjects will feature 2-3 lectures per week at regularly scheduled times. First year classes will almost always have a 1-hour tutorial accompanying the regular stream. Labs in first year probably won’t exceed three hours, but expect four-hour labs in second and third years. You may have multiple labs a week, and sometimes multiple labs for the same subject. You’ll commonly have a large final exam, ranging anywhere from 40% to 80-90%. Many courses also have a mid-semester exam or assessment, or 2-3 smaller assessments scattered throughout the semester. To add to the complication, some first year subjects have up to four different levels. Fundamentals is intended to give you an introduction if you had no prior information in the subject area and bring you up to speed for future units. The regular course level is the most standard and prepares you well enough to go onto the next stage of content. Advanced gives you extra content and often assessments on top of the regular coursework, and SSP will commonly feature different labs, tutorials and a project as well.

Tom Williams talks you through USyd Science Hot tips for surviving a unit: Work with friends, lab partners, group members. You’ll get through your assessments and lectures way faster by collaboration, and it makes the grind far more bearable. Obviously, avoid plagiarism. Check online for resources for your unit! Most of the content is quite universal, and cohorts before yours at USyd and often globally will have done similar content with similar examples. Final exams are usually challenging, so if you can, try to avoid leaving everything until the final. It’s possible to pass units even before your finals. Check if your subject is a double-pass. Don’t be afraid to apply for special considerations or simple extensions!

Placing the degree within the world Science/STEM aren’t apolitical fields and technology can’t solve all our problems. We face social problems that require social solutions in every aspect of our lives, and in STEM. Science exists in exactly the same world as all the other problems we collectively face. Most of your tutors and staff will be on casual contracts. Many of them are heavily overworked, and wage theft is common. Staff working conditions are student learning conditions. In the long run, exploiting vulnerable staff ensures that the quality of education will be consistently degraded, the opportunities for work become scarcer and the field will have to continue to turn towards industry for funding. This feeds into the problem of science for profit. Private investigations are driven by a perceived absence in the market, one that can be capitalised upon for the profit of a small minority. A good example is lifesaving medicines. Many investigations, particularly into sustainable technologies, fundamental principles and environmental matters are very difficult to extract profit from. They are too long-term or may not be conducive to incremental progress. Often, such investigations provide challenging information that hurt profits, or require urgent attention – for instance investigations into the harm of tobacco, or climate change. There are two things you can directly fight for as an undergraduate scientist to make a large impact on the world. The first is for workers’ rights and the second is for public science. However, there are many other challenges that pervade science. The field is prone to misogyny, racism and homophobia. Science is a diverse field, and young scientists (especially those who don’t have to deal with such burdens) have a responsibility to oppose bigotry in all its forms within the field. Finally, and most importantly, all science on this continent occurs on stolen land without the consent of First Nations people. Science has consistently been used to mask some of the most horrific colonization, genocide, and imperialism throughout history. However, it can also be used to highlight some of the worst destruction and injustices brought about by capitalism and colonialism. Wherever possible, work to oppose rather than uphold systems that perpetuate inequality and injustice, particularly systematic racism on this land.

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Arts & Social Science

Khanh tran Talks you through surviving the faculty of arts and social science at USyd

Being one of USYD’s founding departments, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) offers one of the widest major choices at the University. One important fact to note is that aside from the humanities and social sciences, FASS also host the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) and the School of Education. Similar to other universities, FASS’ teaching is primarily comprised of: • One or two weekly in-person or online lecture • One weekly in-person or online tutorial • For advanced units, seminars may constitute your sole contact hours If you are required to do OLEs, I would strongly recommend that before committing uou try the zero-credit point alternatives on Canvas. This gives you a taste of the subject – even thoigh they’re only two credit points, you don’t want to be doing subjects that you don’t enjoy! Make sure that you know what works for you. If you have work, or other commitments, consider doing part-time study. While this likely lengthens your degree, your time at university should be enjoyable and a well-rounded experience. This is especially important in FASS. University is a formative time for many people, and in your degree you will be plunged into new and interesting ideas which you should take the time to sit with. Be flexible; how your degree eventually pans out is not necessarily how you anticipate it looking when you first enter university! Amongst FASS’ unique majors include American Studies where, based at the United States Studies Centre, you survey American politics, history, literature, and contemporary culture. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Aaron Nyerges, the coordinator of AMST1202, to Counter Course: “Does it matter that our media and politics is increasingly filtered through a handful of hardware and software firms based in California? If you think “yes,” consider enrolling in AMST1202 Hashtag America: Media, Technology, Industry.” While studying, make sure you make the most of your time at university and get involved in what you learn about! Your degree should inform how you go about travel through the world; join an SRC Collective and get involved in the world and fights happening around you. On top of this, clubs are a great way to make friends and do more of what you love, ranging from Sydney Arts Student Society (SASS) and Philosophy society, to volunteering in FASS’ Student Partnership Program.

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WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK 2021


COUNTER COURSE

This is a publication of the Education Action Group (EAG). The EAG is an activist collective on campus, responsible for organising protests and actions around education issues and other social justice cauuses. The following has been collated by the 2021 Education Officers Tom Williams and Maddie Clark. Big thanks to the members of the EAG who contributed articles. The articles are representative of the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Officers, the Collective or the SRC. If you want to get involved in the EAG please join our facebook group here:


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

WE WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRADITIONAL CUSTODIANS OF THE LAND ON WHICH THIS PUBLICATION WAS CREATED; GADIGAL LAND OF THE EORA NATION. WE RECOGNISE THAT THIS LAND WAS STOLEN, NEVER CEDED. LAST YEAR WE SAW THE BIGGEST ANTI-RACIST DEMONSTRATIONS SEEN IN DECADES. THIS GLOBAL MOVEMENT SHOWED THE UNIVERSAL NATURE OF RACISM. AUSTRALIA IS NOT EXEMPT. THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON GENOCIDE AND CONTINUES TO VIOLENTLY OPPRESS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES. WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO FIGHT RACISM AND OPPOSE COLONIALISM ON A DAILY BASIS. AS A LEFTWING ACTIVIST ORGANISATION WE STAND IN FULL SOLIDARITY WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FIGHTING FOR THEIR LAND AND THEIR AUTONOMY. ALWAYS WAS. ALWAYS WILL BE.


CONTENTS PAGE 35. “WHO IS STEPHEN GARTON?” 36–37. “WELCOME TO THE DEGREE FACTORY” 38–39. “LAST YEAR’S ED CAMPAIGN” 40–41. “THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY; POLICING THE POLICE, AND THE REDISTRIBUTION OF POWER” 42. “ONLY SOCIALISM CAN SAVE THE PLANET” 43. “WHAT BLM TAUGHT US ABOUT CAPITALISM” 44–45. “WHAT DOES THE ENVIRONMENTAL COST OF WAR TELL US ABOUT MILITARISM?” 46–47. “SYDNEY UNI’S RADICAL HISTORY” 48. “HOW WE WON BACK THE RIGHT TO PROTEST” 49. “RANK AND FILE REBELLION IN THE NTEU” 50. “MUTUAL AID AND THE UNIVERSITY” 51. “WHY 2020 PROVED MARX WAS RIGHT” 52–53. “STUDENT POWER - WORLD IN REVOLT” 54–55. “LEFTISM IS NOT LIBERALISM”



WHO IS STEPHEN GARTON?

THE SCA BEFORE IT WAS CLOSED DOWN.

STEPHEN GARTON, OUR ACTING VICE CHANELLOR. S T U D EN T S’ R EPR E S EN TAT I V E CO U N C I L , U N I V ER S I T Y O F S Y D N E Y

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WELCOME TO THE DEG BY DEAGLAN GODWIN After six long years of high school, here you are at last: University. Here, you are told, you can dedicate yourself to the noble pursuit of knowledge and learning. The vast array of majors and minors is dazzling. You will join the ranks of a long line of thinkers, from Socrates to Einstein, who have contributed to the advancement of human society. Universities spend millions on PR campaigns to feed this narrative. They portray themselves as beacons of light, wielding knowledge against ignorance, tolerance against inequality, facts against untruths. The University of Sydney encourages us to ‘unlearn’ our assumptions and intuitions, framing itself as a bastion of critical thought. The marketing for its Dalyell Scholars stream speaks of the ‘next generation of global leaders’, conjuring up associations with prestige and progress. Like many institutions- the government, the police, the militarythe university is not what it says it is. Far from being a utopia of learning, the capitalist university is a degree factory. The product? You. The degree factory produces the necessary skilled workers- the teachers, the nurses, the engineers, the scientists- which modern day capitalism needs to run. Students are taught the skills necessary to go on and become productive workers. Like any other factory, it aims to keep costs down and profits high. This is why university management are constantly attacking staff wages and conditions. Last year, the University of Sydney announced plans for mass redundancies, which students and staff are in the process of fighting. Meanwhile, the government pushed through legislation to drastically increase the cost of many degrees. Attending college in the US infamously requires taking on exorbitant amounts of student debt. Students pay, staff are exploited, and university management rake in the profits. The university is also essential in keeping capitalism productive through providing technological innovations. Many Australian universities have agreements with fossil-fuel companies in which the universities provide those corporations with research. Not content with perfecting the means of destroying the planet, universities also produce the tools for militarism and authoritarianism. The University of New South manages a separate campus for the Australian Defence Force and nearly every physics and engineering department involves some sort of research into drone warfare or mass surveillance. Want to use your degree to enter into a career in physics? You might just end up having to work for a weapons company.

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COUNTER COURSE HANDBOOK 2021


REE FACTORY While they try and hide it with jargon and buzzwords, university management are reshaping your degrees and courses so that they can maximise the amount of profit they make. Confused by what an OLE, or Open Learning Environment, is? I’m unsure about what a “learning environment” really is, or how it could be either “open” or “closed”, but I am sure that these small, mostly online units are clever ways university management charge you more for much, much less. Interdisciplinary Projects explicitly pitch themselves as “[looking] great on your resume. It demonstrates your practical and collaborative skills to potential employers”. Even worse, Industry and Community Projects have you solving problems for two of the biggest criminals in this country- ANZ and Westpac. All for free, of course. As the university experience becomes shallower and shallower, it also becomes more expensive. The passing of the aptly named “Job-Ready Graduates” bill last year, means that several degrees such as arts, law and commerce, will cost more than twice as much as beforehand. Scott Morrison and Co. are explicit in their aim to funnel students into degrees and industries useful for Australian capitalism. Charging students for more and more of the cost of their degree has the additional benefit of gradually transforming our system, where free tertiary education once existed, into something resembling the American system. The future, where debt-laden students complete courses in business jargon, looks bleak. The university is enmeshed in every aspect of Australian and international capitalism. We must fight and struggle for reforms- better staff pay and conditions, free education for students- but we must acknowledge that unless we tackle the root problem we cannot fix the university. The degree factory will remain so long as capitalism remains. The entire capitalist system, every business, every government, and every university, needs to be overthrown. Only a socialist revolution, which places society under the collective, democratic control of the working class, can realise the ideal of a place dedicated to learning and the betterment of humanity. The capitalist university is a fetter on science and learning. The best thing you can learn here is the way to struggle against it.

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last year’s ed ca BY MADDIE CLARK

facing unprecredented cuts, students fought back For decades cutting funding to higher education has been a project carried out by both Liberal and Labour governments. Whereas in the 1980s, government funding accounted for about 90% of university revenue, by 1995 that percentage had shrunk to 57.2%. The reduction in funding has seen universities cut costs, with the result being a deteriorated education quality. Class sizes have ballooned, courses have been cut, staff and departments have been restructured. While the cuts in 2020 were a continuation of this trajectory, they also marked a distinct shift. With COVID shutting down in person classes, and with international students locked out from entering the country, universities and the government used the crisis to pursue unprecedented attacks. At Sydney Uni we were able to launch a protest campaign against these cuts. Through pursuing a strategy of defiance we were able to create an energetic campaign that was sustained throughout all of Semester Two, and that was pivotal in winning back the right to protest in NSW. For decades, universities have looked to international students to make up the shortfall of government funding. By charging international students exorbitant fees, universities have been able to transition from being a public good, to a private commodity. Between 2008 and 2017, revenues from fee-paying overseas students increased from nearly $19 billion to $32 billion and in 2019, higher education was Australia’s third largest export after iron ore and coal. The lockdown in response to COVID-19, threatened this entire funding model, with Universities Australia predicting that 21 000 jobs would be lost within 6 months. Under the cover of COVID’s political legitimacy, the university sector used the opportunity to push through massive cuts and restructures. Universities across the country implemented hiring and wage freezes, fired hundreds of permanent staff and thousands of casual staff, cut whole faculties and departments.

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Sydney Uni was not unique, and over the year we witnessed attack after attack. After months of sacking casual staff, cutting courses and shifting courses to online, in August, the university sent an email to staff asking them how to cut 30% of staff in some faculties. Later in the year it was announced that the medicine and health faculty would be restructured. In the middle of a pandemic, almost 40% of academic positions in these disciplines would be cut. These cuts were exasperated by the actions of the government. Not only did the government exclude universities from Jobkeeper schemes, they also announced they would cut funding to higher education overall, and would increase fees of some courses for domestic students. Now students in faculties such as commerce and arts would have to pay up to $50 000 for their degrees. The university and governments actions over the year signify how they are using the crisis to transition the Australian universities into corporate, user -pay institutions. It goes without saying that these attacks demanded action. University education was once free in Australia, and continues to be free in other countries. It is a public good, and is necessary for capitalism, as it skills up the workers needed in a developed industrial country like Australia. Furthermore, it is utter lies that the government or universities do not have the money to subsidise education for all - exemplified when it was shown that Sydney Uni made a surplus over 2020. Sydney Uni has a strong and proud history of left wing activism, and we knew that the only chance we had to fight these attacks was through protesting. This was made difficult, however, by the COVID laws that prevented protests despite other events going ahead. Initially we attempted to outsmart the COVID laws. Instead of having a centralised demonstration, we organised in groups of 20, spread out across the university. We even tried to have a protest under the guise of a soccer game. But, every time the police turned up in their riot gear and shut down our protests; warning that if we did not disperse we would be fined $1000. It was clear the COVID laws were being used opportunistically to crack down on protests.

COUNTER COURSE HANDBOOK 2021


ampaign In conjunction with the launched Democracy is Essential Campaign it was clear that the only way we were going to be able to win back our right to protest, as well as put up resistance to the cuts at uni, was to defy the laws. This happened on the 23rd of September when we planned to begin the protest in distinct groups, but then all merged together and marched as a centralised bloc. Used to us obeying their orders, the cops were caught off guard when instead of dispersing we marched into a large group of over 200 students and staff. The exhilaration of finally being in a large group and outsmarting the cops was electric. The cops were dumbfounded and before they could ask us to disperse another time, we ran through the uni, onto Victoria Park and right onto City Road. From this protest onwards our campus protests were centralised and defiant. Braving police horses, and the often violent tactics of the riot police, not to mention the tens of thousands of fines students were charged, we continued to protest every week. Sometimes we would manage to get on the road, other times we would just run around campus, waiting for a break in the police lines. Regardless, these protests were exciting and energizing, evidenced by the fact that week after week students continued to turn out. Not only did these protests help dispel some of the alienation of our new online university experience, but they forced the Berejiklian government to overturn the protest ban. The attacks we are facing are monumental, and reflect the greater shifts occurring in global capitalism. Universities Australia have embraced the government’s funding cuts and see it as a sign to restructure higher education into a money making, private sector focused industry. The protest campaign of 2020 proved that students will not go down quietly. The university should be warned; this year students will fight.

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THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY; POLICING THE POLICE, AND THE REDISTRIBUTION OF POWER

BY IGGY BOYD Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966 out of frustration with the increasingly academic nature of AfricanAmerican institutions. In their minds these institutions appealed only to affluent, college educated Blacks, and actively excluded those from the lower classes. Seale and Newton rejected the notion that change could come through academia and instead saw the path to change as through revolution on the streets. They theorised that the poor blacks in the ghetto were a colonised people, with the United States of America a colonising nation. As such, the only way to end this “colonisation” or oppression of blacks was for these ghettos to defeat the US militarily. One demand of the BPP was the “the immediate end of police harassment and brutality in the black community ” and militant protection of African American communities from white supremacy. This was done through “policing the police”,

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W A N T

and so the gun became hugely important as a symbol of the great equaliser. The Panthers were also radicals and took inspiration from Maoism and other revolutionary ideologies. They were strong advocates for Palestinian statehood and supported, a number of times visiting, the “new guard” of socialist governments North Korea, China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam. They also held a similar scepticism towards the contemporary Soviet Union that China did, being staunchly anti-revisionism and noting the liberal nature of the economic and foreign policy changes of de -Stalinisation. They recognised the need for a vanguard party in a revolutionary setting and had an incredibly strict organisational structure and rules for members that drew heavily from the philosophy of the black role model that Malcolm X championed. Because of this unwillingness to compromise, the early years of the party were punctuated by public PAGE 4 0

confrontations with the police. Huey Newton would stand opposite the police, shotgun in hand and bullet belt draped over his shoulder. This public demonstration of defiance was the Panthers major means of recruitment and garnering notoriety. In the early years Seale would shout “[c]ome on out black people [..] [c]ome on out and get to know about these racist dog swine who been controlling our community and occupying our community like a foreign troop”. These events were also utilised by the Panthers to educate people about their Ten Point Program, the demands they made to the US Government for the liberation of their communities. Their radical demands, actions and images meant they became a prime target of the establishment. The FBI used the COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) in an attempt to undermine and ultimately destroy the party. From the 1969 and into the 70s the Panthers were infiltrated and

F R E E D O M ” many of their members assassinated. To survive, the Panthers began to focus more heavily on programs to help the community. The most notable of which was the Free Breakfast for Children Program which fed 10,000 children at its peak. The group also began to work with other groups such as the SNCC, Young Lords, Young Puerto Rican Brothers and a number of others. The legacy of the Black Panther Party for SelfDefence is an admirable one. Their most notable pursuits, such as making oppressed peoples aware that they can respond to oppression, creating community support programs, showing solidarity with international socialist movements and creating a united front against capitalism and imperialism, must be studied and integrated into the practices of all revolutionaries. Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Fred Hampton and the Panthers of old are gone, but their importance to black America should not be ignored.

COUNTER COURSE HANDBOOK 2021


THE BLACK PANTHER’S 10 POINT PROGRAM WHAT WE WANT NOW WE WANT FREEDOM. WE WANT POWER TO DETERMINE THE DESTINY OF OUR BLACK COMMUNITY. WE WANT FULL EMPLOYMENT FOR OUR PEOPLE. WE WANT AN END TO THE ROBBERY BY THE CAPITALISTS OF OUR BLACK AND OPPRESSED COMMUNITIES. WE WANT DECENT HOUSING, FIT FOR SHELTER OF HUMAN BEINGS. WE WANT EDUCATION FOR OUR PEOPLE THAT EXPOSES THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS DECADENT AMERICAN SOCIETY. WE WANT EDUCATION THAT TEACHES US OUR TRUE HISTORY AND OUR ROLE IN THE PRESENT DAY SOCIETY. WE WANT ALL BLACK MEN TO BE EXEMPT FROM MILITARY SERVICE. WE WANT AN IMMEDIATE END TO POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER OF BLACK PEOPLE. WE WANT FREEDOM FOR ALL BLACK MEN HELD IN FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY AND CITY PRISONS AND JAILS. WE WANT ALL BLACK PEOPLE WHEN BROUGHT TO TRIAL TO BE TRIED IN COURT BY A JURY OF THEIR PEER GROUP OR PEOPLE FROM THEIR BLACK COMMUNITIES, AS DEFINED BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. WE WANT LAND, BREAD, HOUSING, EDUCATION, CLOTHING, JUSTICE AND PEACE.

HUEY NEWTON IN THE WICKER CHAIR S T U D EN T S’ R EPR E S EN TAT I V E CO U N C I L , U N I V ER S I T Y O F S Y D N E Y

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only socialism can save the planet

BY WILLOW LONT

2020 showcased some of the worst of what the climate crisis has in store for us. The apocalyptic images from the bushfires at the beginning of the year, then the California fires, the melting of the Arctic and so much more. Despite growing concern about these climate disasters (epitomised by the world-wide climate strikes in 2019), the Australian government has still pushed for a fossil-fuel and ‘gas-led recovery’. This is the way that the Morrison government is planning to ‘re-establish a strong economy’. With not even a rhetorical commitment to action, this plan will destroy more indigenous land and lock Australia and the rest of the world to at least 2C global warming. We are facing a climate disaster on a colossal level, and It’s clear that we cannot trust the government to save us. Although we are clearly experiencing the catastrophic impacts of climate change (the world has already warmed over 1C celsius above preIndustrial Revolution averages) capitalism has been intransigent. Although a majority of people globally see the climate crisis as a major threat to their way of living, there has still been no meaningful response from governments. With numerous ‘Green New Deals’ and Paris Climate Accord goals, acting to placate ordinary people, while the status quo of environmental destruction continues. The truth is that issues of the climate crisis are beyond individual and social reform, they are structural to every part of the system we live under.

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This is because we live under a capitalist system that has always prioritised profits over human life and over the health of the planet. The system requires ruthless competition and constant accumulation, regardless of the environmental impacts. Corporations have an interest in extracting natural resources as quickly and cheaply as possible to compete with bigger corporations doing the same; pushing ecological destruction further in an attempt to increase profit margins and gain the upper hand. Killing and ravaging the environment is inherent to capitalism. Not only this, but every institution of the bourgeois state is deeply rooted in the same destruction, such as the military industrial complex, which consumes hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every single day. The prioritisation of profits also necessitates the destruction of Indigenous land, and the disenfranchisement of Indigenous communities. In order to create meaningful change, we must overhaul the structure completely, and do away with the capitalist system that cannot mediate its own crisis. Only a truly democratic society, where the working class, who have the greatest interest in preserving the planet and who suffer the most from the consequences of the climate emergency, can create immediate change. Not only is capitalism and the ruling class incapable of responding to the climate crisis, but they are responsible for it. It is up to the majority to struggle against and overthrow this system in order to save the planet.

COUNTER COURSE HANDBOOK 2021


what we’ve learned from B.L.M

BY GRACE BENNETT

In 2020, the already depraved state of capitalism in the United States plunged further still. But in the wake of immense economic, political and social crisis, a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s emergence shows the potential power of mass resistance and how struggle can quickly shift political consciousness.

entirely just response to a system of immense, routine violence and oppression.

When this didn’t work, the establishment tried to coopt the movement too. Sickeningly, Joe “shoot em in the legs” Biden quickly turned to expressing sympathy with protestors and spoke at George Floyd’s funeral on the need for racial justice. He neglected to disclose his key role in writing the 1994 The horrors facing the United States working class Crime Bill which has led to black people being were already innumerable in 2020 - a complete lack of government action as COVID spread through incarcerated at five times the rate of white people. workplaces, armed conservatives demanding the economy stay open and a homelessness crisis due Amazingly, 54 percent of Americans think burning to a lack of government financial aid. Inevitably down Minneapolis Police precinct was justified these crises devastated Black communities more, after George Floyd’s death, in a country where having higher rates of essential workers, job losses Donald Trump was elected President. The mass and unemployment. These injustices were bubbling support of even the most radical aspects of the up hot beneath the surface, waiting for an outlet. movement shows how quickly ideas can shift in the heat of resistance. Police abolition and the limits of reform, no longer a subject relegated to discussion In the streets of Minneapolis there was outrage in amongst the far left, became a subject of debate response to the brutal murder of George Floyd at and discussion across the world. Participants in the hands of the police. The outrage quickly grew the movement experienced a small taste of their from localised riots to the mass mobilisation of own power. Watching live-streams of the action, people of all races across the country. On June 6, you could see the sense of community that had 11 days after Floyd’s murder, an estimated half a developed between the protesters. million people joined protests in 550 places across the country. “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?” became a popular chant at Black Lives Matter protests and for good reason. Statistics show that in the US an unarmed black person is murdered by the police almost every day, while only 1.7% of these murders result in a criminal charge. Police violence is a leading cause of death for Black men in America. These statistics are a reflection of the systemic racism that is embedded in the DNA of the American state. At first, politicians, businesses and the media were quick to try to delegitimize these protests as violent looting and rioting. Rightly, thousands of people across the US marched and took part in destroying symbols of their oppressors - police stations were set alight, courthouses defaced and statues torn down. These collective acts of defiance were an

Through BLM, thousands of young people have become radicals through first hand experience of battling the state. Going forward we should hope to see more explosions of rage and development into organised defiance. By replicating the spirit of BLM in workplaces - factories, transport services, schools and construction sites, the system of profit and exploitation at the heart of it all could be shut down too. The courage of BLM rioters and protesters will echo throughout struggles to come. The world can change rapidly, but only by fighting for it ourselves, in the streets.

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What does the environmental cost of war tell us about militarism? By Ellie Stephenson As inhabitants of a developed country conducting expeditionary wars to nations on the other side of the globe, the worst excesses of our militarism are often hidden. The horrific violence, trauma and indignities enacted by Australia and our allies on other humans are largely obscured. When, occasionally, slivers of these horrors are visible to the West, outbreaks of outrage occur with limited material consequences. Our insulation from the realities of war means that the environmental impacts of conflict also go underestimated and ignored. This matters: the environmental destruction caused by humanity’s warmongering tendencies is baffling in scale. It has profound consequences for the vulnerable people forced to live in ruined landscapes and poisoned ecosystems. It should - but doesn’t - weigh heavily in calculations of the cost of war. Climate change is probably the biggest threat to human security of our era. Conflict over increasingly scarce resources - rivers shared between countries, dying crops, shrinking coastlines - will accelerate. As natural disasters increase in frequency and magnitude, people will be displaced en masse, their livelihoods shattered. We have already seen ecofascist sympathies growing in the Global North: these voices will call for punitive, militarised responses to environmental crises in the Global South. Given militarism justifies itself by appeals to protecting our safety, you might expect that militaries are conscious of the enormous risk and vulnerabilities created by climate change. Not so. Take the US military as an example: despite a general awareness of climate change as a threat multiplier, it remains a voracious consumer of hydrocarbons. Its fuel usage alone produces more greenhouse gases than the vast majority of countries. The disastrous war in Iraq emitted up to 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, excluding direct emissions from explosions. Worse still was the US’ operations in Afghanistan, which have been estimated to have emitted over 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide since 2001. Wars in the Middle East are often motivated at least in part by the desire to secure oil reserves; it is fair to say that the unfettered extraction and usage of

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hydrocarbons is deeply embedded in the Western militaryindustrial complex. Australia’s military and its allies are not just complicit in fuelling climate change: in some ways, they are actively pursuing further emissions. The environmental damage caused by militarism does not stop with greenhouse gas emissions. War’s pollution and destruction is comprehensive. Around 81% of conflicts between 1950 and 2000 occurred in the world’s biodiversity hotspots. These conflicts are frequently accompanied by the pollution of local ecosystems and an acceleration in the use of resources like forests and bodies of water. At their most catastrophic, they involve deliberate ecocide used as a tool of war, the obvious example being the immense scale of America’s defoliation campaign in Vietnam.

Militarism has long been an exercise in empire-building, resource extraction and mass murder. The use of Agent Orange to decimatwe Vietnamese forests exemplifies the connection between contamination of the environment and human outcomes: the carcinogenic herbicide has had decades-long ramifications for the health of Vietnamese people. Similarly, the US has used depleted uranium weapons in Iraq and Syria, including in civilian areas, thereby recklessly endangering the health of local citizens. Although much of this destruction has occurred faraway from Australians, this country has also experienced contamination at the hands of the military. A large-scale clean-up of the Rhodes Peninsula concluded only a decade ago, finally clearing the area from dioxins released by a Vietnam War-era Agent Orange factory which poisoned the water of Homebush Bay for many years.

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If chemical pollution in Sydney Harbour is concerning, the secretive, twisted testing of nuclear weapons at Maralinga is deeply appalling. From 1956 to 1963, the British set off seven atomic bombs and tested plutonium weapons on Maralinga Tjarutja land, with minimal political scrutiny, a veil of secrecy and insufficient safety protocols. The tests sterilised the soil at the test site anwd contaminated a massive area with plutonium. British attempts at clean-up failed hopelessly until a costly joint clean-up in 1995 finally dealt with the contamination. Fallout from the tests spread across the continent, reaching capital cities. Revoltingly, British scientists exhumed the bodies of dead Australian infants to test the spread of radioactive material. Most disgusting of all was the theft and destruction of Aboriginal land, which was returned with paltry compensation decades after the test, after Aboriginal people in the area were exposed to toxic radiation. Like much of the poisoning, pollution and destruction worldwide, the testing at Maralinga chiefly affected the people already most disadvantaged by colonialism and white supremacy.

Vietnamese artillerymen fire from a mountain position during field training.

Militarism has long been an exercise in empire-building, resource extraction and mass murder. It is reliably accompanied by dangerous levels of carbon emissions and wholesale ruin of the natural environment. This can help us to scrutinise the justifications of war offered by state and private supporters of the military. If war is about security or selfdefence, why would we accept the worldwide damage done by its emission? If war is about introducing stability to conflictridden nations, why does it destroy those nations’ natural resources, food and water security? If war is an exercise in humanitarianism, why are decades of profound health consequences inflicted on its supposed beneficiaries? The lies we are told about warmongering cover up its long-reaching, perverse effects on both human and non-human life. For young people, opposing war and imperialism is an obvious imperative. As students, we should scrutinise the connection between the military and the educational institutions we attend. The University of Sydney profits from the military-industrial complex, investing millions of dollars into arms companies. It has also formed ties with French weapons company Thales to conduct research and development, and worked on government defence schemes. Other universities have made similar decisions: the University of Melbourne, for example, entered a research partnership with Lockheed Martin. Students should wcontinue to demand that our universities and governments allow us to graduate in a more peaceful world.

Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, 1945.

From 1956 to 1963, the British set off seven atomic bombs and tested plutonium weapons on Maralinga Tjarutja land.

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In the years after the second world war, Australia experienced a period of economic prosperity that, for decades, showed no sign of subsiding. When a wave of student revolts swept the country (and the globe) in the 1960s, conservative pundits were baffled.

USYD’S RADICAL HISTORY BY SIMON UPITIS

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Inspired by the civil rights movement in America, sections of students in Australia, (still a tiny minority at the time), began to challenge the stiflingly conservative political establishment of the Menzies government. It was students from Sydney University who organized the 1965 freedom ride through rural New South Wales, shedding light on the apartheid-like conditions in which Indigenous people were forced to live. However rosy the picture of the post war boom appeared- the nice houses in the suburbs, full employment, stable economic growth- the realities of oppression and exploitation, the twin pillars of capitalism, were impossible to paper over. The biggest issue of the 1960s was the Vietnam War. The brutality seen in Vietnam, the videos of jungles set on fire and cities reduced to rubble, were totally at odds with the ideals of democracy and freedom that the western world was meant to stand for. And while these images were being broadcast back to young people in Australia, the university system was undergoing a massive restructuring. Rates of enrollment had increased sharply since the end of the second world war. In 1950 there were only 30,000 students at Australian Universities. By 1968, there were 100,000. The overarching need of industry for a technically advanced workforce meant the old ideal of the university- the home of creativity and culture- was eroded. Any student today can see that this process continues, especially since the passing of the Higher Education Bill last year.

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Early in the 1960s, the tiny minority of students who were involved in radical action saw themselves as “barometers of public conscience”, whose enlightened sensibilities made them best placed to prick the consciences of politicians. Unsurprisingly, these consciences were resistant, and the strategy of students shifted to the left. As demonstrations became more militant, police repression increased. When LBJ visited Australia in late 1966 to drum up support for the war, a group of protesters laid down on the road in front of the president’s motorcade. Infamously, the NSW Premier wanted to ‘run the bastards over’. Conservatives and mainstream liberals were appalled when in 1968, students in the University of Wollongong SRC voted to send aid to the Viet Cong. Working class sentiment against the war also grew throughout the decade, as did union militancy. In 1969, when trade unionist Clarrie O’Shea was jailed for contempt of court after refusing to pay a fine, a million workers went on strike for 6 days- the largest national strike of the post war period. Student radicals in the late 60s linked their movements with those of the workers. The high point of the anti-war movement in Australia was the first moratorium march in 1970. On May 8, 200,000 protesters marched in cities across the country. It was four days after the Kent State massacre in America, where students were killed by police while protesting Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia. The governor general at the time described the name ‘moratorium’ as misleading: “they used the word moratorium to create an impression of lawfulness... but their intention was to cause disruptive strikes.” While the anti-war movement began to wind down in the seventies, its impact on Australian society was immense. The radicalization of the 60s shows that students, though hardly the barometers of public conscience, can play a decisive role in the struggle against oppression.

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How We Won Back the Right To Protest BY OWEN MARSDEN-READFORD Last year, the Berejiklian NSW government put a ban on the fundamental democratic right to protest. As part of broader COVID-19 restrictions, the NSW police cracked down on any groups of more than twenty people who were gathered for the “common purpose” of protesting, no matter how spread out they were. Whilst the Left must support COVID restrictions and lockdowns in the interest of public health and the desire to protect working class lives, this ban on gatherings was being used hypocritically to repress protests, even though no COVID cases in Australia have been spread at protests and the rest of society was being opened up for profit-making. It was utterly farcical; masked and socially distanced protestors in groups of 20 spread out over the campus were apparently a risk to public health, yet 30 or more students in a tutorial was not. Thousands could pack into ANZ stadium to watch the NRL Grand Final, but a soccer game of 30 students campaigning against university cuts was illegal. A Black Lives Matter protest in June was heavily repressed, whilst Jamberoo water park was open. Student activists and protestors were given thousands of dollars in fines and one even faced charges which could have included jail time for simply protesting.

location in the University. We then, bamboozling the police, sprinted through Victoria Park and marched on the road. It was an exhilarating win. The cops that had broken up so many of our protests were beaten that day. Despite 21 fines, people left the protest feeling that much more confident after getting a taste of the collective power of protest. The political argument for defiance was proven correct and was carried into the student movement and protests against the appalling transphobia of Mark Latham. These demonstrations of hundreds of protestors pushed police back, occupied roads and took back the democratic right to public protest. The ban on protest began to make the news, as did the violence of the cops. The State Government and police faced mounting pressure to stop the repression and brutality. The tide was beginning to turn. By mid-November, the ban on the right to protest was lifted, first allowing 500 people to protest, then 5000. A campaign of collective resistance to the anti-democratic laws, spearheaded by education protests here at Sydney University, was key to winning this significant victory. Timidness in the face of the status quo gets

A SPOTLIGHT NEEDED TO BE SHONE ON THE BAN TO HELP FORCE THE HAND OF THE NSW GOVERNMENT. THE ONLY WAY TO DO THIS WAS MASS DEFIANCE. Public awareness of the ban on protesting was minimal. A spotlight needed to be shone on the ban to help force the hand of the NSW government. The only way to do this was mass defiance. Legalistic manoeuvres and protests broken into scattered groups of 20 had been tried, and they failed. The smaller protests were smashed up by cops and were easily ignored. To fight these unjust laws, we had to break them, which meant arrests and fines. Nonetheless, to shy away from that would have meant to moderate our movement in the face of the ban. This was the argument of Democracy is Essential, a broad left campaign with support from student activists, to Greens MPs, to unionists and BLM organisers. In the face of attacks on university jobs and conditions and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, it was incumbent upon the Left to maintain the momentum of our movements and defy the anti-democratic ban.

us nowhere in building resistance. The history of the Left is one of radicalism and defiance. Even in the hundreds, resistance to the government and police is possible. It’s worth learning the small but important lessons from the right to protest campaign last year as we organise against the many horrors of capitalism in the coming years.

A rally against the attacks on the university sector on 23 September proved it was possible. With the support of the National Tertiary Education Union ‘teach-in’ which gave us a place to meet, hundreds of student activists gathered at a central

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THE NTEU FIGHTBACK BY YASMINE JOHNSON 2020 was a significant year for both student education activists and tertiary sector staff. The year saw some of the most severe cuts to education in decades, as well as an impressive, defiant fightback. The Liberal government’s cuts to university funding shift the costs of education further onto students, amounting to a $1 billion reduction in federal funding. Over the course of last year, university Vice-Chancellors used these changes as an excuse to viciously attack the jobs and conditions of both teaching and professional staff. By September, Universities Australia was predicting that 21,000 jobs would be lost in the sector by the end of the year. At Sydney University, this involved huge numbers of casual job losses, cuts to full and part-time positions in various faculties, as well as a round of so-called ‘voluntary redundancies’ at the end of the year. They might have a slightly nicer ring to them than forced redundancies, but voluntary redundancies mean a decreased number of staff in a given area, while remaining staff are burdened with increased workload. These cuts, of course, were not pushed through without a fight. Staff at Sydney University have a strong tradition of left-wing unionism, organising strikes in 2013 and 2017. In 2020, they fought management in various local area disputes, organised rallies, and played an important role in bringing down a national framework which would have allowed university bosses to reduce staff pay, change leave entitlements, and implement various other attacks. Shamefully, it was the leadership of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), the main trade union covering teaching and professional staff in universities, who put forward this sellout deal. The National Jobs Protection Framework was proposed in April, and entailed a strategy of concessions, supposedly in order to save staff positions down the line. Union officials, without consulting with members, had entered into secret negotiations

with the bosses. Not only did their proposal fail to include any measures which would stop management pushing through redundancies anyway, the entire strategy of accepting attacks in order to save jobs is a flawed one, since it fails to prepare staff for the one thing which can actually save jobs - mobilising and fighting back. While cuts to wages or conditions save management money, it’s never possible to be certain what this money will actually be used for. Despite the fact that rank and file NTEU activists, who moved motions and organised meetings in strong opposition to the Jobs Protection Framework, were able to ensure its defeat nationally, the experiences of various campuses where concessions were made on an individual basis are strong evidence for the bankruptcy of negotiating with management. At UNSW, 1000 staff conceded to a 4-day week and 20% pay cut, but 494 redundancies were announced anyway. At Monash University, staff accepted pay freezes, a leave purchase scheme, and a moratorium on bonuses, but 277 staff were made redundant before the end of the year. Similarly, at La Trobe staff conceded pay cuts of up to 10%, and over 200 voluntary redundancies, but an additional 415 forced redundancies went ahead regardless. In order to stop such attacks, we must enter 2021 with a fighting strategy. Throughout the year various universities will enter their Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) period, in which strikes are able to be organised legally. The Jobs Protection Framework was taken down by activists who actively worked to organise rank and file unionists, and this is the attitude we have to take forward. For staff, this means attending local workplace and branch meetings, making arguments to colleagues about the importance of unionisation and putting up a fight, and taking a strong position against concessions. For students, it means standing in solidarity with staff and being involved in organising education activism. It’s through this struggle that we can stand up to attacks from both university management and the federal government, and demand fully funded, free tertiary education.

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Meet People’s Needs, Mobilise for Resistance BY LIA PERKINS

In 2020, the deep structural iniquities inherent to capitalism surfaced as the COVID-19 crisis laid bare the fragility and cruelty of the system. It became clearer than ever that poverty and its consequences: hunger, homelessness and ill health, were not individual failings but caused by a system designed to fail. In response to these collective challenges, creative mutual aid initiatives and projects grew. Mutual aid is an attractive term because it evokes empathy, but its radical meaning is often lost. Unlike charity, which refers to the rich giving to the poor, mutual aid involves communities assisting others on a horizontal basis by sharing their skills and resources. When it is most powerful, mutual aid is connected to direct action and resistance movements; Distributive efforts based on creating equity and providing for people will never be a permanent solution. Community mutual aid should be transitory and mobilising for its participants; in itself, it’s not a significant challenge to capitalist power.While mutual aid can provide lifesaving support in the short term (as it mostly did in 2020), it must also commit to changing the system which produced its necessity in the first place. Anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin coined the term ‘mutual aid’ in 1902 as a social theory explaining how he saw the world: A society based on cooperation, rather than one founded on individualism and competition. Many of today’s mutual aid projects borrow elements of Kropotkin’s original thought but they tend to operate as a service, disconnected to political change and based on the phrase “serve the people”. Mutual aid is not charity, it is about building solidarity, but its language has been adopted by charitable organisations that don’t espouse radical politics. Meaningful and radical mutual aid has been more important than ever in a context where JobSeeker and JobKeeper have been inaccessible for many because of unfair and unnecessary government criteria. International students, over a million casual workers who had been at their jobs for less than 12 months, short-term contract workers (especially in the arts industry) and tertiary education employers weren’t eligible for the payment. The unemployment rate is still high because of the pandemic, yet JobSeeker and JobKeeper were cut by $100 a fortnight on 1 January, and will be slashed entirely to unlivable levels in March. In response, victims of these cuts and their supporters need to expand mutual aid efforts aimed at meeting their community’s needs, and organise grassroots groups to confront these changes.

and marginalises, restricting them from connection and community care. The literature provided in the SRC’s packages encouraged student involvement in the Defend Our Education campaign against ProcterU (the examination platform posing a security risk to students), university cuts and fee hikes. COVID meant that organising a protest or direct action against inadequate provision of housing or cuts to JobKeeper and JobSeeker was more difficult and the importance of meeting people’s needs was heightened. This will change in 2021 as we maintain the right to protest and form ties between mutual aid and left wing movements. This wasn’t the only way the SRC was involved in mutual aid in 2020. The SRC funded the personal protective equipment (PPE) at protests where volunteers set up a table and walked around encouraging social distancing and distributing masks and hand sanitiser. This meant that despite government crackdowns on protests, the right to protest was won through militant actions defying the 20 person cap and a strong COVID safety response that proved the strength of the community. Dozens of area-based mutual aid groups appeared on Facebook during lockdown. One of the largest was the Inner West Mutual Aid group which included offerings of food, running errands for strangers, sharing information about the pandemic and articles about the meaning of mutual aid. Organisations like the Community Union Defence League and Food Not Bombs expanded their service locations and increased food output to provide for people unable to feed themselves. The communists and anarchists running these groups show how the radical action of care can lay the groundwork for a better society. Wec require innovative solutions to our current crises that build a movement to meet the needs of people. In 2020 Dean Spade wrote that to tackle our greatest social problems we can effectively be “meeting people’s needs and mobilising them for resistance”. Students involved in mutual aid could be more effective if they’re also actively involved in movement building and community direct action. The movement for Black Lives Matter and against racism won’t be won through mutual aid, but it is an important way we can keep the fight going. Workers unions that confront bosses and renters organisations that confront landlords will win more than mutual aid could.

Last year, the University of Sydney SRC ran a mutual aid program delivering packages of pantry essentials, toilet paper and other items to students. The project was organised and run by student volunteers who packed and drove packages around Sydney and to students in University accommodation. In 2017 about one in seven students went hungry because of rising living costs. The neoliberal university, especially due to COVID conditions, isolates PAGE 5 0

COUNTER COURSE HANDBOOK 2021


Why 2020 Proved Marx was right

BY MADDIE POWELLL

The ‘we survived 2020!’ sentiment of New Year’s Eve has already aged like milk. Barely a month into 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic has not only persisted but worsened, as untouched vaccines spoil thanks to a perverse distribution system that sees millionaire politicians and investment bankers vaccinated before nurses and delivery drivers. Emergency fire warnings are being issued in South Australia, cause for anyone who lived through last year’s catastrophic fire season to hold their breath. The world economy sits atop precipitous and unsustainable ‘recovery’ from the economic contractions caused by the pandemic - bound to reemerge with a vengeance. Wealth inequality deepens, both in Australia and overseas, all the while. The protracted nature of these intertwining threats - what political economist Joseph Choonara calls the ‘triple crisis’ - need to be understood with a method more scientific than superstition, nihilism, or the insistence that sometimes, for no apparent reason, there are simply bad years that we must grind through. There is only one theory that offers both a way to analyse these crises and their origins, and also a glimmer of hope for a society, radically different but firmly achievable, that gives them no opportunity to arise again. That theory is Marxism. Marxism in the university is relegated mostly to intro-level philosophy or sociology classes which, if sympathetic, will assure us that the theory was an interesting way to understand a particular kind of society at a very particular moment in its history. The implication is that the dizzyingly rapid development of capitalism has rendered Marx antiquated and irrelevant. But reading Marx, it’s hard to feel like references to wars, technologies and political struggles long gone make the analysis beneath distant or foreign. Really, the opposite: what Marx was concerned with was understanding a viciously competitive, profitdriven capitalist system that has not fundamentally transformed since it churned into existence. Nowhere is this more striking than when he addresses its tendency toward “explosions, crises … regularly recurring catastrophes” as a consequence of the incessant drive for capital.

THERE IS ONLY ONE THEORY THAT OFFERS BOTH A WAY TO ANALYSE THESE CRISES... AND ALSO A GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR A SOCIETY, RADICALLY DIFFERENT BUT FIRMLY ACHIEVABLE.

The very idea of patenting, and therefore restricting, a COVID-19 vaccine should be an obscenity. It is an effective death sentence for thousands. But virtually nothing comes to pass under capitalism without turning a profit; no matter how necessary, enriching, beautiful, educative, or indeed life-saving. So tens of thousands will continue to die, needlessly unvaccinated. Rather, unvaccinated in the name of profit. Here is Marx’s explosion, crisis, catastrophe. Marx was able to understand not only the destructive potential of a profit-driven society, but the fact that capitalism is unable and unwilling to disentangle itself from such priorities. The bosses and politicians who preside over this system do not have an upper limit, some amount of suffering or ecological decay that will make them finally relinquish their wealth. 2020, if any year, should have taught us this lesson. The world’s billionaires added $1.9 trillion to their portfolios last year, while the crisis pushed the vast majority of the world into tighter, more miserable living conditions. This was not cause for pessimism as far as Marx was concerned. His hope for a classless, egalitarian society - communism - was not hinged on benevolent politicians or investment in renewables. It was a faith in the power of the oppressed majority - the working class - who drive the economy with their labour and can subsequently grind it to a halt. The power of capitalists derives from their ownership of capital, but it takes ordinary workers to make that capital worth anything in real terms. Ordinary people like the millions who showed up for America’s largest demonstrations against racism in its history - and the global protests in solidarity. Like the working class of Belarus and Iran, Chile, India, Thailand, Nigeria, Poland or Argentina - all countries which were rocked by popular struggle this year, proving that the social upheavals of 2019 were stirred up by stronger stuff than we were told. COVID-19 has shone a light on cracks in the capitalist system that have existed since its birth - repaired and then wrenched open again and again, like 1929, 1974, 2001. The explosive circumstances change, but the contradictions that light the spark do not. If you’ve never looked into Marxism - the most prescient, hopeful, nuanced and scientific theory of capitalism - 2021 is the year. The best way to do this is to not only research but to get involved with activism - as Marx’s tombstone reads, “the philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways - the point is to change it.”

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Student Power World in Revolt BY KEN PAK Belarus, Thailand, Argentina 2020 was a year of crisis that tore apart the facade that capitalism could provide for the poor and working majority of humanity, let alone keep people alive. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deadly ramifications of decades of neoliberal consensus as underfunded hospitals fall into negative capacity and hundreds of thousands lose their lives for the sake of a ruling class that puts profits ahead of public health. Millions have been forced to queue for poverty-level unemployment cheques even as corporations are bailed out to the tune of trillions. In such a momentous year, student struggle has been a key feature of resistance to this unjust state of affairs. Belarus saw a wave of mass protests and strikes last year against the dictator Lukashenko who rigged elections to remain in power. The country saw one of the highest per capita rates of COVID infection during Europe’s first wave against a backdrop of neoliberal attacks on job security and welfare recipients. The situation was such that even the regime’s relatively loyal base of workers in nationalised industries went on strike. Students played an important role in catalysing and reinforcing the struggle. Before the strikes, which armed the movement with the

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ability to stop the flow of profits to the ruling class, it was student protests that inspired broader sections of society including the workplaces. A worker at the Belaruskali fertiliser plant described the effect of thousands of students risking brutal state repression, “It was our children who returned home with bruises, who bravely fought the police, it was their courage that meant we had to join.” On the other side of the world, in Thailand, hundreds of thousands rocked the authoritarian junta and monarchy in protests calling for democratic reforms. Students took centre-stage tying the pro-democracy struggle to their oppressive experience in a conservative, ultra-disciplinary education system. Having spent virtually all of their lives under these anti-democratic institutions, students, both tertiary and secondary, revived the waning protests from before the pandemic by organising on campuses and going classroom to lecture hall to computer lab to grow the next demonstration and the next and the next. Young women and LGBTIQ folk were often the most visible and active participants at these protests. A living testament to Marx’s adage that it is through struggle that “the [working] class rids itself of the muck of ages.” Collective action necessitates the breaking down of prejudices and division (i.e. sexism, racism, queerphobia etc.) among ordinary people and it is often the oppressed sections

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of society who have even more reason to challenge the present order and are thus doubly moved and radicalised by the social and class struggles of the day. Thai students resounded that truth. The movement for abortion rights in Argentina won a historic victory after many years of nationwide mass protests. Students energised the campaign by organising their own actions via activist collectives, student unions (SRCs) and radical left organisations, when more moderate NGOs or electoral parties were in a lull. By maintaining this momentum, the protests gained a critical mass that could not be ignored or ridiculed by the political establishment. The “green wave” (dubbed after the symbol of the national women’s campaign - the green bandanna) inspired millions within Argentina and across Latin America and the world to take to the

streets with demands rather than work within the system and grovel patiently for intransigent politicians to catch up with the facts on the ground. Student activists played an essential role in beginning and sustaining the work that has put Argentina on the map as one of the few countries with not only legal but free access to abortion. It was built on the back of mass student unionism and a political tradition that saw SRCs as fighting bodies that mobilised students in struggle rather than glorified resumé builders for aspiring bureaucrats. This is a tradition that must be rebuilt in Australia as the tasks for the left grow with each crisis of capitalism. Student power played a significant role in the global revolts of 2020. Australia is not immune from the systemic contradictions which led to these uprisings and, indeed, students should play their part here as well.

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Leftism is not Liberalism BY OSCAR CHAFFEY If you’ve followed any form of politics, but most especially the theatrical world of U.S. politics, you’ve probably heard the word “liberal” (lower case L) delivered as a right wing pejorative for a person somewhere on the left wing of politics. University, however, will most likely be the first place you hear “liberal” used pejoratively by a leftist. The activism of the SRC collectives in many cases prioritises leftist analysis; not only explicitly in political demands but also as a distinct philosophy on which to change the world. This article will consequently explain what exactly leftism is, but also more critically what it is not; liberalism. For the purposes of this article, I am treating leftism more or less synonymously with what might otherwise be called “the far left”. Leftists hold views that are further to the left of the major political parties in Australian federal politics. The first distinction between liberalism and leftism is their attitudes to electoral politics. Politicians like Anthony Albanese in Australia or Alexandria OcasioCortez in the U.S. are often described by the media as leftist but this is a total misnomer. They are liberals as they believe that desirable political change can occur solely by electing left wing politicians. A liberal

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might well acknowledge that the system of capitalism is “broken” and propose social welfare programs as a remedy; however they will not argue for the abolition of capitalism. Leftists prefer to argue that the system of capitalism must necessarily generate systemic inequality and oppression and so can not be “fixed” without remaking the economic system wholesale. While many leftists form parties to participate in elections this is usually not because they genuinely believe they will enact legislation to end capitalism; rather it is a component of a larger extra-parliamentary strategy. Indeed, much of leftist political strategy aims to disrupt capitalism outside of electoral politics. Liberals argue that there is much to be gained from friendly engagement with existing bureaucracies such as the state or at our university level, the senior administration and Vice Chancellor. Leftists in the SRC collectives typically hold that hostile, disruptive activism in the form of strikes, protests and occupations are the most effective way of generating political change. Leftists essentially believe that the oppressed under capitalism will need to seize the power of the state by force in the form of a revolution and conceive of activist mechanisms as building the power and confidence of the oppressed to ultimately wage this challenge to capitalism.

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Finally, leftists are usually skeptical of what is commonly By this point in the article, it is probably obvious that called “identity politics” in political discourse. As leftists reject individualistic narratives about the world touched on earlier, identity politics is the natural and especially any attempt to ‘rationalise’ economic domain of liberals as they hierarchies. A common argue that incremental liberal narrative holds opposition to various that meritocracy could exist under capitalism if it LEFTISTS ESSENTIALLY BELIEVE THAT THE OPPRESSED forms of oppression that can eventually dismantle were not for intersecting axes of oppression UNDER CAPITALISM WILL NEED TO SEIZE THE POWER OF unjust inequalities in society. Leftists usually such as racism, sexism, favour a Marxist analysis ableism and homophobia THE STATE BY FORCE IN THE FORM OF A REVOLUTION of oppression arguing that among others. Liberal social relations, including television shows and films unjust social relations such are designed to glorify as racism or sexism, are produced and reinforced individual narratives of success within capitalism, by the fundamentally oppressive economic system. especially amongst those who are usually particularly They argue that capitalism requires oppression and oppressed. so capitalism must be abolished to create a genuinely Leftists hold that the success of individual members egalitarian society. of oppressed groups under capitalism usually does While this article barely scratches the surface of not “trickle down” to the entire group and can not be ongoing debates of political strategy, I hope it explains taken to represent a genuine challenge to that axis of to you why I and many campus activists consider oppression. Leftists will not be found celebrating that ourselves leftists and not liberals. Kamala Harris, a woman of colour, has become the U.S. Vice President, for instance.

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WELCOME WEEK HANDBOOK CONTRIBUTORS ART BY ALTAY HAN

EDITORIAL TEAM

WRITERS

PRIYA GUPTA & ENRONG (ANNE) ZHAO

COLE SCOTT-CURWOOD, ELLIE WILSON, ENRONG (ANNE) ZHAO, SIYAO (MELANIE) LIU, HAOMIN LYU, JIAYIN (TRACY) XU, KHANK TRAN, KIGEN MERA, LIAM THOMAS, MARGOT BEAVON-COLLIN, OSCAR CHAFFEY, PRIYA GUPTA, RUIQI (RACHEL) JIA, SARAH KORTE, STEPHANIE ZHANG, TIFFANY WANG, TOM WILLIAMS, ZHENGJIE (GRACE) FEI

DESIGN AND LAYUP PRIYA GUPTA, ENRONG (ANNE) ZHAO, PAOLA AYRE, ANIE KANDYA, YUE (MARIA) GE. WITH THANKS TO THE PUBLICATIONS MANAGERS MICKIE AND AMANDA

COVER DESIGN & LAY-UP: PAOLA AYRE IMAGE ART: LAUREN LANCASTER

ART ALTAY HAN

THANK YOU TO SRC CASEWORKERS, SRC LEGAL SERVICE, AND THE CONVENORS OF QUAC, WOCO, ACAR, DISCO, INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS COLLECTIVE, ENVIRO, EAG, WELFARE COLLECTIVE, AND YOUNG WORKERS COLLECTIVE


COUNTERCOURSE CONTRIBUTORS EDITORIAL TEAM MADDIE CLARKE, TOM WILLIAMS AND ELLIE STEPHENSON.

DESIGN AND LAYUP MADDIE CLARKE AND TOM WILLIAMS. WITH THANKS TO CHUYI WANG AND ELLIE STEPHENSON, AND THE PUBLICATIONS MANAGERS MICKIE AND AMANDA.

WRITERS TOM WILLIAMS DEAGLAN GODWIN MADDIE CLARKE IGGY BOYD WILLOW LONT GRACE BENNET ELLIE STEPHENSON SIMON UPITIS

OWEN MARSDEN-READFORD YASMINE JOHNSON LIA PERKINS MADDIE POWELL KEN PAK OSCAR CHAFFEY MATTHEW FORBES



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