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29 February 2024  •  Student News

UTSSA January Meeting

Newly elected councillors convened for the first time last month, voting in four new Office Bearers as well as voting on motions relevant to the council.

By Tyberius Seeto (he/him)
UTSSA January Meeting

The UTS Students Association have met for their first monthly council meeting for their term, electing four councillors into four office bearer positions. 

President Mia Campbell (Student Unity) opened the meeting at 6:11PM and began her president's address by outlining three main goals for the UTSSA.

A significant change to UTS’s sexual harm response was number one on her list, and Campbell said she would like to see the university’s response modelled after La Trobe University’s sexual harm response. Campbell highlighted that UTS is slow to respond to sexual harm reports, and the process can be re-traumatising for victims who have to go through at least six different channels of reporting.

Campbell’s second goal was that she would like to see the functionality of collectives enhanced. She noted that there has been a lack of productivity from past collective office bearers who are in paid positions, with a scarcity of collective members cited as the reason for this. Campbell also encouraged experimentation within the collectives to see what can be changed to further foster a culture of engagement and accountability from Office Bearers and collective members to make collectives more vibrant hubs of community and progress.

Campbell’s third and final goal for the UTSSA is to amplify student voices from outside the Students Association by increasing the visibility and outreach of the UTSSA for feedback on what students want. 

Office Bearer elections

Every new council must elect four office bearer positions for the queer, disabilities, environment and ethnocultural collectives in the UTSSA. This year all four positions were uncontested.

Ethnocultural Officer:

Salma Elmubasher (Student Unity) was nominated by Blivika Abburi (Student Unity) and seconded by Welfare Officer Aylin Cihan (Student Unity) for Ethnocultural Officer. 

As a proud Gazan Palestinian Muslim woman coming from an immigrant family, Elmubasher stated that she understands the different perspectives that would be required for the role of ethnocultural officer. Elmubasher is also the current sitting president of the Palestinian Youth Society at UTS, and she stated she believed the skills she has picked up during her presidency would make her the best person for the role. Elmubasher was elected unanimously.

Disabilities Officer:

Samiha Emran (NLS) was nominated by Daewah Thein (NLS) and Matthew Murray (NLS) for Disabilities Officer.

Emran spoke on how she would advocate for disabled students, with her past experiences as an exec on the UTS Bangladeshi Society, as well as her work as a vocational trainer for international students, giving her the skills she needs to understand and fight for students.

Emran also emphasised the importance of not only supporting disabled students, but also educating non-disabled students, to work towards eroding learned misconceptions and stereotypes.

Emran was elected unanimously.

Queer Officer:

Daewah Thein (NLS) was nominated by Murray and Postgrad Officer Laura Currie (NLS) for Queer Officer.

Thein’s main point of argument was based on the premise that they observed heightened levels of transphobic and queerphobic rhetoric following the US Presidential Elections in 2020, and have thus voiced their concerns that the same would occur in the 2024 US Presidential elections. Thein ensured that they would use their position to ensure UTS would continue to be a safe space for queer and trans students. 

This risk further affirmed Thein’s belief in UTS being a safe space that should “enrich the lives” of queer and trans students, ensuring the UTS Queer Space continues to be inviting and ready for all queer and trans students who are starting or continuing into the Autumn session. 

Thein was elected unanimously.

Environment Officer

Jeremy Higgins (NLS) was nominated by Assistant General Secretary Bridie O’Kelly (Student Unity) and Murray for Environment Officer.

Joining via Zoom, Higgins said his degree (Bachelor of Environmental Science & Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation) has significantly informed his understanding of the environment. Higgins also said in his role he is looking forward to collaborating with the science faculty to address environmental issues from a science-led approach.

Higgins was elected unanimously.

Director of Student Publication

2023 Vertigo student news editor Gökçe Çalışkan nominated herself for the role of DSP for 2024.

Also joining via Zoom, Çalışkan says she was put forward for the role of DSP by last year's editorial team who convinced her to put her hand up for the role. Çalışkan also said she is excited to work with this year's Vertigo editorial team.

Çalışkan was elected unanimously.


4.1 Student Learning Student Learning Hub Posters – Funding Approval

Moved by Mia Campbell and seconded by UTS Council Postgraduate Representative Peter Munford, motion 4.1 was unanimously passed by the council without dissent for a spending limit of $100 on posters in the Student Learning Hub featuring Campbell, to increase the visibility of the UTSSA to the UTS community. 

Speaking to the motion, Campbell said that the posters featuring former President Nour Al-Hammouri increased the visibility of the UTSSA. Corflutes similar to ones featuring Al-Hammouri and UTS Council Representatives Peter Munford and Kurt Cheng throughout campus were also briefly discussed with the decision to be made in the February council meeting.

4.2 Pres Summit – Funding Approval

Moved by Salma Elmubasher and seconded by Aylin Cihan, the motion was unanimously passed by the council without dissent for the UTSSA to approve a spending of $1786.50 to cover tickets, flights and accommodation for the 2024 National Union of Students Presidential Summit which was held at RMIT University in Melbourne.

A yearly event organised by the NUS, the Presidential Summit is an event that invites presidents and executives of both accredited and non-accredited student unions to collaborate and share insight on how to address student issues at a national level.

4.3 O’Day collective spending

Moved by Blivika Abburi and seconded by Bridie O’Kelly, the motion was unanimously passed by the council for the UTSSA to approve a spending limit of $150 for each UTSSA collective who may need any material for their respective O’Day stalls.

President Campbell speaks on the motion, asking if any collective members require more money. No additional money was requested by any of the collective OBs who were present and the motion passed without dissent.

4.4 Financial Reports

Moved by Abburi and seconded by Education Officer Alisa Hamiltion (NLS), the motion was put forward to the council for the UTSSA to approve $10,000 to be spent to engage with accounting firm Trood, Pratt & Co. for the 2023 UTSSA financial reports to be completed. 

The motion which originally read as “That the UTSSA approve the amount of $10,000 to engage with Trood, Pratt and Co to complete and produce the 2023 financial reports.” was later amended by Abburi to include “$10,000 including GST” as well as “produce a complete audit; including a financial report for 2023”. 

The amendment was unanimously passed and the motion was unanimously passed without dissent by the council.

The meeting was closed at 6:50PM with councillors and observers filing out of Building 11. UTSSA council meetings are held once a month and is open for all UTS students to observe.

*Additional reporting by Bianca Drummond-Costa and Isabel James.


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