(Sometimes) Monthly ARC Board Meeting Update

The ARC board updated their blog today after their October board meeting. There are heaps of updates that if you’re interested in ARC, you should check out.

We’re not going to talk about the updates because it would seem silly to report on what one ARC member feels is important to put in the minutes and then transfer over to the blog. There is good information in there though, which should definitely be read through thoroughly. There is zero mention of the student elections though, oddly enough.

As you probably have started to get the idea, a student-run, independent newspaper would ask the tough questions. This means asking what went wrong with the student elections. Note: there are ideas circulating to why the election results did not come out, but no one has come with an official response yet, so we will remain silent on it.

This board meeting would typically have at least one reporter assigned. The journalist’s beat would be ARC board. They would cover everything to do with the ARC board. Since they constantly cover them, they would know how it works and be better equipped to write for the local community what is going on and what changes are significant. We hope to achieve this some time in the near future. Come next school year, NewsforUNSW can be a legitimate source of news on campus. Keep talking about it to help us get it off the ground!

UNSW will not divest from fossil fuels

A well-oiled student newspaper has a large enough staff to cover all of the events. Here at NewsforUNSW, that is not the case – yet! Until then, we will surely miss a couple big stories, despite trying to cover as much as we can. While ARC student elections occupied most of the focus, more news came out UNSW’s decision concerning divestment. They decided not to divest their $50 million in fossil fuels, citing the university is not an institution with a political leaning. Instead, the economics of the university should be taken aside from the research produced. There was overwhelming support in favor of this motion.

You can read the University’s statement, here.

Below are the UNSW equities, according to a PDF linked to the university’s statement.

Courtesy of UNSW
Courtesy of UNSW

The Sydney Morning Herald’s environment editor Peter Hannam wrote the news article, UNSW’s fossil fuel stance ‘a complete failure of leadership.’ In the Australian’s higher-education recap, they say UNSW signs a Faustian pact, questioning the university’s stance: “Does this mean that Harvard or UNSW would have invested in apartheid-era South Africa? HW guesses the devil is in the detail.”

What are your thoughts on the matter? This is the case where a campus newspaper with a strong presence could post an editorial or two, which would carry a heavy say. This is the school that you pay to attend. Make your voice heard!

ARC Elections – Post Four, Tharunka Fails Students

We’re going to keep this post short, since ARC did not deliver the election results today, Tuesday, the 28th of October. According to both Activate and Voice student government parties, election results were supposed to be released today, after voting ended on Friday, the 24th of October.

Tharunka, the school’s newspaper did not report the results, because of “(sorry – some red tape means we can’t report on the elections this year.)” according to Ammy and Freya, with Tina in the editors’s letter of Volume 60, No. 13, Week 11 to Week 12, Semester 2 issue of Tharunka. The paper, normally labeled independent, scribbled out their independent label in red ink, calling themselves “University of NSW’s Independent Student Newspaper” now. Below are the images from the front cover and the inside cover editor’s letter.

Tharunka front page

Editor's letter

This is unacceptable for a student newspaper. ARC should be held accountable for election results and it is up to student community to do so. A student-run, fully independent newspaper could and would do that. Tharunka did not. And so we are left without any election results, or sufficient update.

ARC Elections – Post Three

The elections are over and the results come are expected to come in Tuesday. According to both campaigns, it was the most highly contested elections in UNSW history. Hopefully that means many students came out and voted. In all likelihood, that means a small percentage of the student body voted as usual, but it was just slightly higher and tighter margins between parties’ candidates.

The good news is people turned out for the elections and are getting excited about it. What could make the UNSW ARC elections even better would be students being informed about the candidates. It should not come down to a pressure at the last minute – whimsical voting that determines big outcomes. A strong student newspaper can do that. NewsforUNSW is here to correct that. This year, we’re focusing on getting our name out there to see how people feel about student news. Next year, we hope to have a news team that can cover these elections and all things UNSW.

Here are two of the most recent Facebook posts from both campaigns regarding their respective campaigns.

 

ARC Elections – Post Two

ARC elections continued on Thursday. If you could not tell, you probably were not on campus – because it would be awfully difficult to find out what is going on without being in the middle of it all. NewsforUNSW is here to give you a small recap. If you have anything to add, comment below! Journalism is about the community getting involved, so get involved!

In brief:

Thursday Activate was back out on the campaign trail, after a one day suspension. They covered campus in an attempt to makeup for lost time, showing full force in numbers to rally back. Voice was also active on campus to persuade students to vote and vote their way. Most supporters of respective parties say their goal is to get people to vote. With turnout historically low, it is a game to see who can garner up the most new voters. Friday marks the last day for elections.

 

ARC Elections – Post One

Student government elections are this week and end Friday. Different positions are up for election on the ARC board. Students in green and red attire,  Activate and Voice, respectively, have been campaigning since Monday to raise awareness and sway voters. Here’s a short bit of what went on today, beside barbecues.

In brief:

Wednesday, Activate was banned from campaigning all day because of a violation. According to the ARC, Activate had a graduate, non-student, campaigning for them on campus, which is against the rules and could have resulted in disqualifications. Instead, the governing board ruled a one day suspension.

Activate posted on their Facebook page their frustration with the ruling, but their understand and therefore obliged to comply. The Facebook post referred to the sentence as a “harsh and unjust decision.” They added on a comment the reason for Activate’s public stance. “The Regulation is not directed at honest mistakes where a single student, unilaterally and under the misapprehension that they were allowed to campaign, puts on a shirt and talks to students.” They noted that in the interest of time, Activate will not further comment on that Facebook post, but would be willing to send their appeal to those interested. The Facebook post is as seen below.

Scroll through Tharunka’s website, they have yet to post anything about the student elections. This brief is barely a sample size of what would go on during election times with News for UNSW. The student-run, independent newspaper could operate as the lead reporting press on student elections. This is good not only for those who like to read, write and report on politics, but it is good for ARC and the UNSW community at whole. Student turnout for elections is notoriously weak. But these students do not have anywhere to go to learn about the candidates, beyond how many more free sausages and beers can red-shirted people give out over green-shirted people.

Reading about local politics builds community and engagement. The more people who know about the election, the better it will be. The election would become more democratic, with only the best and well-prepared candidates likely to run and able to win. The popularity contest would shrink and suddenly the issues these students are campaigning on would become front and center. This is important for UNSW and could easily form a stronger, tighter community at uni, regardless if you go to college or are on board with ARC.

Future of journalism in Australia

In the past couple of weeks there has been much conversation on the future of journalism in Australian schools. The conversation has bounced around whether journalism should be an undergraduate degree. Further, the discussion is about how journalism should be taught, if it is taught.

Often, journalisms schools in Australia are noted for bashing the media – in media classes. Particularly, the Murdoch press is typically hit hard. Meanwhile, The Australian has been one of the forerunners in articles posted this past week about the need for more serious, practical journalism classes.

Why is this a big deal? Well just look at UNSW’s void in a proper journalism program that teaches practical skills. Students are not prepared to go straight into the media industry.

Look at the school paper, Tharunka, who has yet to report on the current student elections. A newspaper is not reporting on political elections. Are they capable of it? They must be, but they have not done anything. Perhaps, Tharunka editors are too busy campaigning for ARC elections. This is where an independent, student-run paper becomes vital; a body that can report on the goings of student politics without having to worry about their own political agendas and the vital need for money from ARC. A newspaper run online can cut production costs incredibly. It also can pump out more news, more often, fulfilling the needs of the UNSW local community.

More practical journalism schools is important, but if UNSW does not comply with these demands, then there should at least be a significant, professional-like outlet on campus to gain needed experience and clips. NewsforUNSW is here to address those issues. It’s time for change on campus. It’s time for News for UNSW.