Student representatives from the UTS Student’s Association (UTSSA) attended their first Council meeting of the second semester on August 18. The meeting marked the first time the organisation convened since their heated Council meeting last June, in which a slim majority of councillors agreed to sign the contentious Student Partnership Agreement.
Last Thursday, however, provided no such controversy, with nearly every agreement being passed with unanimous support.
The UTSSA’s NUS affiliation fee
Proceedings commenced with President Anna Thieben discussing the UTSSA’s annual affiliation fee owed to the National Union of Students (NUS).
Currently, the UTSSA pays $50,000 dollars per annum to the NUS, an amount which Council agreed was disproportionately large given the finances currently at the UTSSA’s disposal. Thieben’s declaration that she would be negotiating a reduction in the size of this fee was met with support from the broader SRC.
UTSSA stands in solidarity with Ukraine
As the SRC got stuck into the evening’s motions, Councillor Adrian Lozancic moved that the UTSSA demonstrate its support for the UTS’s Ukrainian students, recognising the nation’s right to sovereignty and independent cultural identity.
Part of Lozancic’s motion also included recognising that blame for the Russian invasion of Ukraine cannot be attributed to Russian citizens, and that they too are suffering at the hands of the Russian government.
The motion was passed without dissent from Council.
Publication of the UTSSA’s financial audit
Deeper conversation was sparked by Lozancic’s second motion of the evening, which proposed that the UTSSA publish the results of their financial audit on the UTSSA website.
Information about the financial activity of the UTSSA is already available on the university’s website, but those in favour of the motion argued that publishing the audit on the union’s web page would demonstrate a commitment to transparency and trust in their constituents.
The motion was passed, with half of Council abstaining from voting.
Media policy made available to students and students only
The third and final motion moved by Lozancic proposed that, in addition to their financial audit, the UTSSA publish their media policy online for public readership.
The motion was met by opposition from the SRC’s NLS and Student Unity councillors, who argued that publishing UTSSA policy would cede power to University Management. Councillors noted that it would not be uncharacteristic of Management to cite UTSSA policy when criticising the governance of the student union.
The motion was passed following amendments moved by General Secretary Sabrine Yassine. The amended motion proposed that UTSSA media policy is made available upon request from students but is not published on the union’s website.
For more information on the work of the SRC and the UTS Student's Association, visit their website here.