student services: who pays wins?
Oh bless. Not many things get the Aussie partisans as worked up as what gets done uni students’ time and money.
In the Red corner: those latte-drinking pinko student unionists, who (allegedly) skip class to sit around in the Guild offices finger-painting painting giant calico banners for the next protest march — forests? Gay marriage? Nuclear energy? Whatever the lame cause, those lefties scumbags will use student funds to politicise it. Oh the horror.
In the Blue corner: those latte-drinking ponyclub Student Liberals, who (allegedly) skip class to work in blue-ribbon electorate offices and assault constituents, or scheme to dupe innocent electors with illegal fake how-to-vote material [See: Pandagate. Oh kids. Those were the days!!] and would rather die than have daddy’s $250 used to pay for a studying mother’s childcare subsidy. I mean. Jeez. Don’t they get Centrelink for that?
Now, having been at a tertiary institution in which the embryo of student activism was well and truly aborted long before that baby could start kicking and screaming (you guys! I am hil-EFFING-larious!!), I never got to witness or be involved in the fun first hand. But I have a little bit of experience when it comes to some of the ideas being tossed around in the current proposal on the student-services-funding merry-go-round:
From July next year, universities will be able to charge students a compulsory $250 fee to run student services like health, childcare and sports clubs.
…”This is a contribution which goes to universities, not to any individual student union, and it is entirely at the discretion of universities,” Mr Rudd said. [ABC News]
UWA’s Guild Prez Nick Barron “says he hopes some of the money will go to the unions”:
“There isn’t really any guarantee in the information that’s been released so far that this money will necessarily reach student organisations which is something we would have liked to have seen,” he said.
“But we’d hope that individual universities would acknowledge that the best service providers are student organisations run by students who are on the ground and have the best contact with the people who these services will ultimately be provided to.” [ABC News]
He better be hoping and praying really hard, though. I heard young Nick being interviewed on jjj’s Hack this afternoon, and when presenter Kate O’Toole asked him what would happen if the university itself had control over student services like student papers, I wanted to pick up the phone and tell them all about dear, darling Quasi. RIP, little guy.
Barron made some great points about how it should be the student organisation that deal with the cash, but I just felt he didn’t have the fear in him. Probably because their student paper has never been told that funding will be withdrawn if they try to publish any sort of criticism of university policy or any sort or anything students might actually give a shit about (that’s a small category; students are generally apathetic buggers, aren’t they?)
From my humble experience, when you take the money to the administration side of the equation, you get the same power structure that might’ve been seen between the Deputy Principal and high school prefects. Fun times.
No hat, no play, children. And don’t forget your permission slips.