student rights

The Victorian Labor government’s final budget before the November state election is strong on spending — for health, education and public transport, but unfortunately also for toll roads and law and order.


Photo: Kavita Krishnan.

The article below is abridged from an editorial in ML Update, published by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation.

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Macquarie University has suffered a setback in its courtroom battle against seven students associated with the Macquarie University Postgraduate Research Association (MUPRA).

On May 7, the Supreme Court recommended mediation, which was agreed to by both parties. The university also agreed to release MUPRA funds for legal representation in a future mediation hearing.

The mediation hearing is set by May 28, and the verdict will be released in a month, if a result is not reached through the mediation process beforehand.

A forum at the University of Wollongong on August 1 called "Trouble in the Edufactory: The Sydney Uni Strike and the Struggle for the University" heard from Sydney university PhD student and casual academic staff member Mark Gawne.

Gawne, a graduate of the University of Wollongong, described this year's series of strikes at Sydney as the product of years of dissatisfaction among staff and students over increasing cutbacks.

About 100 people attended a rally at the University of Sydney on May 23 to protest the police brutality that has occurred at picket line held at the university earlier this month.

Staff at Sydney University are involved in an enterprise bargaining process between the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the university administration.

The university administration is trying to force through changes that would undercut pay and conditions for university staff, including more casualisation and creating teaching-only positions.

Socialist activists are involved in political struggles across many different issues. From equal marriage rights to defending education, refugee rights to the environment, socialists help organise and lead these campaigns, and seek to win important political reforms around them.

It might seem contradictory for socialists to fight for reforms. Since socialists oppose capitalism and the capitalist state, why is it that they campaign for measures that encourage the expansion of the capitalist state?

Austerity almost seems like the defining feature of politics today. Across Europe and the US, crippling cuts to education, health care and welfare budgets are driving millions further into poverty.

Even in Australia, where our economy has been spared the worst of the financial crisis, both big parties are raising taxes on ordinary people and applying cuts to welfare and education.

Last year, cuts to courses and staff at several universities, including Sydney University and La Trobe University, led to strong campaigns by staff and students to defend their education and jobs.

Hundreds of students and staff joined the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) picket lines at the Sydney University on March 7.

Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), the Finance Sector Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, and the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union supported and attended the picket.

The picket was followed by a 300-strong rally. The NTEU has voted to stop work again for 48 hours if management does not cooperate during bargaining.

Green Left Weekly’s Rachel Evans spoke to several participants.

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The article below is an extract from Resistance’s Education zine, which was released on campuses this week.

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In every state and territory, at many tertiary educational institutions, students are resisting a tide of cuts, commodification and privatisation.

Universities face staff, subject and department cuts, rising fees and costs, casualisation of staff, bigger classes, less class time and less face-to-face contact.

More than 100 students from the University of Tasmania attended a forum on October 16 to question university administrators over plans to restructure the Faculty of Arts.

It was organised by students of the university in response to disquiet over potential changes to degree structures and curricula.

This came just a week after the faculty dean, Professor Susan Dodds, announced that the existing 10 departments would be amalgamated into three bigger entities.

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