Guild Council votes for free sausages

As part of a new series, METIOR will be attending every Guild Council meeting, pre-digesting what your student politicians discuss, then filling you in. 

Think of Murdoch Guild Council Meetings like a sitting of parliament; just a bunch of democratically elected politicians discussing stuff in an attempt to get things done. This is what they talked about in August.

Voicing out

Held on Wednesday, August 12, the council meeting opened with Guild President Raeesah Khan mentioning that she ‘didn’t expect so much sexism this semester’, presumably directed at her.

Whether the sexism she is experiencing comes from other members of Guild Council or the general student population remains unclear.

Khan also mentioned the ongoing ‘Save Our Voice’ campaign.

The movement aims to ‘stop the WA Liberal Government from changing the laws to do with WA universities in a way that will silence the voice of staff and students’, according to the campaign’s website.

Posters have been put around campus with details of the campaign and how you can join in.

Education Vice President, Roland Belford, reminded Council about the upcoming ‘National Day of Action’ that was held Wednesday, August 19.

Save Our Voice campaign posters are up around Uni. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Save Our Voice campaign posters are up around Uni. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Guild Council Retreat

The idea of a ‘Guild Retreat’ on campus was introduced, with Khan suggesting it would bring members of Guild Council together.

UPDATE: The Guild Retreat is ‘not as a bonding exercise but to discuss the direction of the organisation’, Khan says.

In an email to the editor, Clubs and Societies Officer Brodie Skalko clarified that this event is far from a ‘fun day out’ and is intended to provide a platform for deep discussion and improvement within the Guild council.

Brodie Skalko proposed that $250 from the SSAF (Student Service and Amenities Fees) be used to fund food and drink at the retreat.

Sports Officer, Daniel McLerie, stepped in to oppose the idea, suggesting instead that everyone bring in their own food to save budget money.

Mystery man in the Clubs Room

The Clubs and Socs Room. Mystery man not pictured. Photo by: Madura McCormack

The Clubs and Socs Room. Mystery man not pictured.
Photo by: Madura McCormack

After much discussion, a motion was passed to lock the Clubs Room after 4pm after Clubs and Society’s officer Brodie Skalko reported that an unknown man has allegedly been using the recently renovated room as a place to live, with shavers and old jeans rumoured to have been found in the drawers.

She also reported that the room was constantly messy and trashed, despite the Guild having spent $1000 per annum refurbishing the room over the past four years.

Skalko also spoke of getting rid of certain ads on noticeboards around campus including those for cars and accommodation.

She reasoned that the boards were always cluttered and she was tired of having to clean them up.

Cluttered noticeboards, the ire of Brodie Skalko. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Cluttered noticeboards, the ire of Brodie Skalko. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Free barbeque

On a more edible note, the Guild Council passed a motion to have a free sausage sizzle for all students on campus every Wednesday for the next 15 weeks.

Khan said that this would cost about $2625, with the funds coming from the SSAF budget. This figure came from the approximate price of $100 a week for the food and $75 for staffing from the Tavern.

It was decided that staff from the Tavern would run the event while Guild Council members would help out if available in order to try and increase student engagement with the Guild and its members.

Cylindrical mystery meats being grilled during MarketDaze. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Cylindrical mystery meats being grilled during MarketDaze.           Photo by: Madura McCormack

Political changes

In political news, a motion was passed to propose a change in Guild election rules, which General Secretary Guy McDonald described as ‘draconian’.

This proposal will ask the University, who controls election guidelines, to allow political materials such as posters to be placed in all outdoor areas on campus and not just on the walls of Bush Court.

The draft motion included allowing potential Council members to campaign in lecture rooms and classrooms, however there was concern of ‘lecture-bashing’ amongst the Council where excess campaigning could turn students off from voting.

Mandurah campus improvements

More SSAF money will potentially be dedicated to improve Mandurah campus’ food and drink facilities after the Guild President received a petition with over 300 signatures demanding better amenities for students.

Guild Ball discount

A motion put forward by Khan proposed giving all Guild Council members up to 30 per cent off the price of Guild Ball tickets.

This will bring the price of a ticket down to around $84 for Guild Council members with all other students paying $120.

This motion was largely uncontested but no definitive action has been taken yet.

Some really expensive Guild event with alcohol and stuff

Some really expensive Guild event with alcohol and stuff                                         Source: The Guild

Collective Shout controversy

One of the last items discussed was the Collective Shout controversy that occurred recently.

To recap, the Guild planned for a speaker from Collective Shout, an controversial organisation, to speak at an event for SHAG Week [Sexual Health Awareness Guidance Week].

The speaker, Caitlin Roper, had reportedly already been paid, but this was found to be false.

The event was cancelled after student uproar regarding Collective Shout’s largely conservative views include the anti-abortion stance of its founder.

It was suggested that this classified as using SSAF fees as a political donation which is strongly discouraged and possibly illegal under the Higher Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act.

With numerous statements being made by previous Women’s Representative Rebecca Leighton on the Women’s Collective Facebook page, it was suggested during the meeting that all Guild-affiliated Facebook pages should have someone from Guild Council as co-admin.

No definitive action has been taken yet but this does stoke fears of censorship and the ability for Guild Council members to remove posts.

The meeting then started to get heated, as Skalko demanded an official statement on what exactly had happened.

McLerie then asked what other things the Guild Executive had voted on without consulting the other Council members, as the decision to cancel the event was done by Khan, Belford and McDonald without the other members’ knowledge.

On the agenda for the September meeting is the upcoming student elections as well as feedback from the Guild Retreat.

Your Murdoch Guild General Secretary, Guy McDonald. What a guy. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Your Murdoch Guild General Secretary, Guy McDonald. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Murdoch Women’s Collective in leadership meltdown

4

New women’s representative quits 5 days after by-election

By Madura McCormack

Timeline

  • July 8: Women’s Representative Bianca Talbot quits in a Facebook post
  • July 21: Guild Council receives two nominations for new Women’s Rep
  • August 3: Rebecca Leighton wins by- election by one vote.
  • August 5: Leighton releases statement regarding her opposition to the invitation of a speaker for SHAG Week which was proposed by her predecessor and approved by the Guild
  • August 7: Rebecca Leighton resigns after disagreement with Guild members

It has been a tumultuous month for the Murdoch Women’s Collective, with incumbent representative Rebecca Leighton quitting after just 5 days in the post.

The final year law student won a tight by-election that was held to replace predecessor Bianca Talbot, who vacated her post in July.

Announcing her new role on August 3, Leighton quit soon after a public disagreement with the Guild over a decision that was made before she took office.

Fight over use of student funds

The former women’s representative, Bianca Talbot, had planned for a member of national feminist group Collective Shout to speak during the upcoming Guild sponsored SHAG Week [Sexual Health Awareness Guidance Week].

It was alleged that $600 had been paid to Caitlin Roper from Collective Shout following Guild approval to speak at the event, which will be about the objectification of women in the media.

The Guild has confirmed that the sum has not been paid, and are currently discussing whether the event should be cancelled.

UPDATE: The Guild has cancelled the event.

Leighton opposes the idea of having Collective Shout speak at the event, releasing a statement to voice her disapproval over what they advocate, and claims the speaker has no relevant credentials and is ‘just an activist’.

“I simply demanded accountability for the misuse of student funds and an opportunity to ensure all views were heard if these people were to speak at a Guild-sponsored event,” Leighton says.

Education Vice President Roland Belford says that while the funds would have come from the Student Services and Amenities Fee [SSAF], no guidelines were broken.

The SSAF is a compulsory fee paid by all students, with the amount depending on whether the student is external, internal, part-time or full-time. The amount is then split equally between the University and the Guild.

Belford says going ahead with the event would promote a dialogue across campus on intersectional feminism.

Guild President Raeesah Khan, who supports Leighton, says the event should be cancelled.

“Collective Shout is pro-life, victim blames and is transphobic… morally as the Guild that’s not what we want,” Khan says.

Women's Rep for 5 days and Education Vice President in 2011, Rebecca Leighton. Source: supplied

Women’s Rep for 5 days and Education Vice President in 2011, Rebecca Leighton.
Source: supplied

Previous drama

This episode follows on from the sudden resignation of Bianca Talbot on July 8, after a spat with Guild President Raeesah Khan on the Women’s Collective closed Facebook group.

Talbot, who has been in Switzerland for a human rights law course, left due to opposing political ideologies and ‘poor leadership’ by the Guild President, Khan says.

Update: Talbot denies this, stating that she resigned because she was “not allowed to represent those that are considered to be ‘conservative’ on campus“.

A by-election was then held within the Murdoch Women’s Collective, who like the Murdoch Queer Collective, enjoy autonomous voting.

This means the representative is elected by students in the collective and not by Guild Council.

9 out of approximately 100 members of the collective voted.

Due to recent events, the Guild has decided to switch back to the status quo. The next women’s representative must obtain 25 signatures of support from female-identifying students, after which the Guild will decide whether to accept the application, reject it, or leave the position vacant.

“I think it’s important because gender inequality still exists,” Khan says, on the relevance of the Women’s Collective.

“It’s important that women have an avenue to discuss the inequalities they face and to provide perspective to the governing body [Guild Council].”

The Murdoch Women’s Collective is part of the Student Guild and is ‘comprised of Female identifying Murdoch students who meet to discuss women’s specific issues on campus’, according to the Guild website.