On the 8th of October ANUSA held its third and final Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) of 2015 with quorum attendance, resulting in the passing of a motion that increases the honoraria of Queer*, Women’s, Disabilities, and International Department heads by $3000.
The OGM proceeded through the executive reports largely as read, with ANUSA President Ben Gill’s report being passed in his absence. A large section of his report was dedicated to the results of the annual ANUSA survey, which contained data on financial hardship, campus safety, mental health, discrimination, and other issues.
Overall, the survey concluded that “only 30% of students did not experience any issues this year, which means that 70% of students experienced some sort of issue at university in 2015.”
Vice President James Waugh’s report was also discussed, particularly the issue of “individuals overusing BKSS services.”
Waugh stated that the problems arose with the “inconsistent and strange way [the BKSS breakfast program] is being used”, making it difficult to “plan accordingly” for the services provided by the BKSS.
He wanted to “support students who do need that food. We don’t want people relying on a breakfast program for a whole day’s or whole week’s nutrition.”
General Secretary Monique Langley-Freeman also presented her report with extended discussion on the criticisms raised against the AEC’s handling of the annual elections. Langley-Freeman noted that ANUSA was yet to receive the final report from Returning Officer Phillip Green, and was considering consulting another electoral body for the 2016 elections.
Regarding the accidental counting of PhB Science students in the CAP elections, a meeting held between Green and CAP Representative candidates resulted in the current results for the election being upheld. Langley-Freeman stated that while “the election was not perfect,” the unwillingness of the candidates to run for another election would decrease the quality of a future election even further. Ultimately, she said that upholding the results of the recent elections would be the “lesser evil.”
A motion to increase the honoraria of the Queer*, Women’s, Disabilities, and International Department officers was also passed with overwhelming support. Instead of the officers receiving $5000 each year and having to distribute a part of this sum to deputies, the payment will be increased to $8000 to give officers the entire $5000.
Queer* Officer Kat Reed presented the motion with a moving account of her own experiences as Queer* Department officer, highlighting the stresses and threats to mental health and financial wellbeing placed upon students in the position that warranted an increase in honoraria. This is also exacerbated by the fact that Department officers must support particularly vulnerable groups on campus. Reed felt that passing the motion would show ANUSA’s and ANU’s “support for oppressed groups.”
Laura Campbell and Jade McKenna also spoke in favour of the motion, with the former positing “student wellbeing as a priority” alongside academic excellence, and the latter underlining the financial burden that the Department officer position places on the incumbent student.
When queried about the exclusion of the Indigenous Students Department from this motion, the current Indigenous Officer stated that they did not feel the need for the extra payment given that they were still learning the role, in addition to the assistance rendered by the Tjabal Centre.
The OGM ended early as quorum was not able to be held throughout the discussion of additional matters. However, all motions that were floored had been passed.