The UTS Student’s Association (UTSSA) has voted to condemn UTS management and endorse Vertigo’s campaign for sufficient funding of the student publication.
The motion of solidarity was moved by Assistant General Secretary Melissa Sukkarieh and passed with unanimous support at the latest Council meeting on Wednesday, March 15. It was spoken to by President Anna Thieben, Ethnocultural Officer Suzy Monzer, General Secretary Sabrine Yassine and Vertigo editors Joseph Hathaway-Wilson and Joey Chalita.
Speaking to Vertigo after the meeting, Thieben emphasised how endorsing the campaign was important for the broader student union as well as the publication itself.
“As Vertigo is a publication of the Student’s Association, we need to unite as a union around the campaign to get Vertigo more funding,” she said. “Inherently, it is a campaign to better support the UTSSA and support how we communicate to students.”
Vertigo’s campaign emerged from the shock announcement that Deputy Vice-Chancellor Shirley Alexander had refused to approve the UTSSA’s 2022 budget based on the funds being allocated to Vertigo specifically. Alexander instead demanded that the publication’s budget be reduced to nearly half of the proposed price, leaving the editorial team with enough money to print only half of their annual suite.
“The fact that they haven’t allowed our union to exert independence over our own funding is atrocious,” Thieben says. “We really need to show that students support student media at UTS.”
The UTSSA is not the first student organisation to voice support for UTS Vertigo. Their motion was passed a day after the National Executive of the National Union of Students (NUS) voted to stand in solidarity with Vertigo and condemn UTS Management.
Much like Thieben, National Education Officer Luc Velez iterated to Vertigo how the actions of the UTS Senior Executive have ramifications for both independent student media and student unionism.
“It’s problematic that [UTS Management] are trying to break the autonomy of how the UTSSA use their budget. That’s concerning even outside the student media angle,” he said.
“More broadly, the stuff that they’ve been saying about Vertigo only serving the needs of some students – I find that problematic, because that’s just corporate-speak to make this less political. It’s really concerning because student media is supposed to have a radical mindset.”
The NUS and UTSSA have joined the University of Sydney SRC; University of Sydney student publication, Honi Soit; University of NSW student publication, Tharunka; and Australian National University student publication, Woroni, on the list of student organisations to declare support for Vertigo and condemn UTS management.