I write this today on the announcement of the Guild elections for next year. Record low voter turnout, although I suspect, but they’ll never admit, that the University forgot to update the voter roll this year effectively leaving all first years and newly transferred students without a vote. Expect the rest of this column to be full of other wild accusations and flippant remarks too because I don’t have many more of these left to write and might as well run my mouth since student engagement seems to be at an all time low.
So what else has been annoying me that you should know about? Well I picked up Metior editor 2, from 1991 and read through President Juddy O’Malley’s editorial. Wow. He opens “this will be as brief as possible” and then proceeds to fill one and a half A4 pages bragging about how terribly he managed the Guild’s finances. In 1991, despite having $400k in the bank, the Guild went about borrowing $300k (interest rates in 1991 were over 13%) to contribute towards the construction of the Sports and Rec centre on campus. Fast forward a decade later and The Guild has sold off it’s remaining stake in sports and recreation for $1. So I think we got ripped off there and, judging from the amount of club grant requests from sports clubs this year, it looks like under the Uni’s management sports has been run into the fucking ground.
What else? Oh yeah, how about that Rockingham decision? In the likely event that you don’t read student announcements; Rockingham undergraduate courses have been cancelled, saving Murdoch $5 million over 3 years. Now I managed to procure the original master plan for the Rockingham campus recently. It wasn’t found in the University archives, which probably explains why the state of the campus appears to have been frozen since 1996. According to the original blueprint, by 2015 Rockingham was meant to be a full fledged campus with on-site student accommodation and over 2000 students. Funnily enough, 2000 students was cited by Murdoch as the number of students they would need to have enrolled at Rockingham for it to be financially sustainable while justifying its decision to reduce the number of students to zero.
In spite of all this, thank you to the handful of students who gave a shit and came along to protest the government’s plans to make student life even worse. There was great solidarity from the Murdoch students who put aside differences in ideology and approach to come together in opposition to the government. I saw everyone from Socialist Alliance to Young Liberals there. It’s a shame the factions of other universities decided to be all sectarian about it and use it as an opportunity to attack each other instead of unifying for two whole hours against a common foe.