Welcome back to the Glass coverage of the Guild Student Representative Council (SRC) Meetings of 2023. This is a special instalment for the Reconvened AGM held Wednesday 8th March 2023 at P-419, Gardens Point Campus.
We will be bringing students coverage of these meetings throughout the year, so you have insight into all the goings-on in your Student Representative Council (SRC). These meetings include the motions that Guild Executives and other students put forward for the SRC to vote on, and which will directly impact your university experience.
All current students can attend SRC meetings. If you want to see change on campus, we encourage you to put forward a motion to the SRC.
COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
You can find the minutes of the meeting here once published.
You can also access the meeting agenda and documents associated with motions raised at the meeting in this folder.
BAPTISM BY FIRE NOT ENOUGH TO SCARE OFF THE CHAIR
The reconvened AGM was chaired by law student Curtis Wenzel, who, after receiving a baptism by fire at the 25 January Council meeting, was back for another crack.
Wenzel opened the meeting after 4:00pm and began with an Acknowledgement of Country.
Secretary Aamna Asif noted the following apologies for the meeting: Dylan Barrett (Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice Councillor, Grow), Tegan O’Connor (Health Councillor, Grow), Zac Hyde (Health Councillor, Grow), and Aaron Bui (Post Grad Officer).
There were no leaves of absence noted.
The meeting appeared to be quorate, though official minutes are yet to be released.
A MYSTERIOUS KERFUFFLE
Wenzel then asked that “…those people who are not QUT students please leave pursuant to rule 8.1(c) of the Constitution.”
Declan Kerr (Science Councillor, SAlt) raised a point of order, stating that his understanding of the Constitution was that C8.1(c) does not exclude non-students from attending meetings, and that non-students “have always been able to attend Council meetings”.
Zoe Davidson (President, GROW) spoke in reply to Kerr, referring to the definition of members in the Constitution, and explained that her understanding was that only students and the General Manager were able to attend an AGM.
Kerr raised another point of order, reiterating that he believed that C8.1(c) did not preclude non-members from attending meetings.
At this point, it was still unclear why this was being discussed, who in the room was not a student, or even how many non-students were in the room. We had the Cluedo board, but someone had lost the suspect figurines.
Davidson moved to remove non-students from the room, seconded by Harley Manley (Disabilities Officer, GROW).
Kerr said that it was unconstitutional to remove non-students from the meeting without suspending standing orders. “I think that’s very silly [to remove non-students from the meeting],” Kerr said.
The motion went to a vote.
Kerr raised another point of order, asking Wenzel to clarify whether the motion was constitutional without lifting standing orders. Davidson said that lifting standing orders was irrelevant.
Kerr raised a point of information, and Isabella Foley (Environment Officer, SAlt) explained finally why there was one non-student in the room because it was “…such a big deal, apparently.” Foley explained that there was a non-student in the room as they had an interest in the motion to be raised by Foley later in the meeting. The non-student had been involved in student unionism at UQ.
Juval Stephens (Board Member) reminded the Chair that a vote had been taken on the matter, and asked why it was still being discussed.
Wenzel then clarified that the earlier vote on Davidson’s motion was 8 votes for and 6 against, and asked that the non-student removed themselves from the meeting on this basis.
Glass Editor-in-Chief Ciaran Greig reminded the Chair that at an AGM, any student can vote, not only SRC members.
The Chair considered this and then passed the microphone to the non-student, asking them to explain why they were attending the meeting. The non-student explained that they were a member of Socialist Alternative, and wanted to see the motion being brought by Foley.
Wenzel then said, “This is a reconvened AGM, so I guess you can stay here for this meeting, if you’re not voting and not going to cause any dismay – then you can leave.”
If you find this whole saga hard to follow – us too.
MAY WE PLEASE HAVE QUESTION TIME?
Glass Editor-in-Chief Ciaran Greig asked to have question time added to the agenda.
Davidson said that this could not be done as C34.8 of the Constitution, no new business could be conducted at a reconvened AGM.
Greig argued the November 2022 AGM was never adjourned, but ran in its entirety in an incorrect manner, and therefore new business should be accepted at the reconvened AGM.
Greig also raised that there were multiple students in attendance who were not SRC members, and these students should be allowed to ask questions of their elected representatives.
The Chair added Question Time to the agenda.
The meeting proceeded with relatively few hiccups as the President brought the following documents to the members and moved to confirm each in succession, as had been already done at the November 2022 AGM:
- Minutes of 2021 AGM
- The Annual Report of the Guild
- The Audited Balance sheet and Auditor’s Report
- The Annual Budget for the Financial Year
- Business Pending for the following Financial Year (not discussed as there was no business pending)
- Reports of Elected Officers and Committees
These documents can all be accessed via the Reconvened AGM agenda here.
“I’M NOT INTERESTED IN BEING A POLITE YOUNG WOMAN.” ENVIRO OFFICER MOVES TO CONDEMN USYD FOR SUSPENSION OF STUDENT UNIONISTS
Environment Officer, Isabella Foley (SAlt) introduced her motion by stating there was “…quite an urgent matter at hand…across the country there is very much a scene of repression of student unionists going on, especially in New South Wales”.
“At the University of Sydney, two activists in the student union, one of which was the Environment Officer, were suspended [by the University] for protesting Malcolm Turnbull who came onto their campus to give a presentation. Students were repressed and their free speech was attacked because they were suspended for protesting [the presence of] the ex-Prime Minister.
“The cost-of-living crisis is fucking over students, and figures like Malcolm Turnbull are happy to let this slide and are very much part of this process of an increase in student poverty, and that’s why protesting this figure was very important at the University of Sydney.”
Foley called for attendees at the AGM to sign on to an open letter of support for Maddie and Deaglan, already endorsed by many student and tertiary unions.
The Chair then asked Foley to retract her “offensive language” under R6.3 of the Regulations. “There were three instances,” said Wenzel. “There was ‘fuck’ and there was ‘shit’.”
Foley refused to withdraw her language. “This is exactly what I’ve been talking about. Students shouldn’t be censored. Students should be able to say what they please. I’m not interested in the politics of being a polite young woman who doesn’t swear, I don’t give a fuck about that.”
“Some rules are worth breaking. Am I not allowed to say the word ‘fuck’ in a student union meeting?”
Oscar Davison (Past President & Board Member, formally Reach) spoke in support of Foley. “…considering that this motion is about the right to protest…if Isabella chooses to use colourful language, then I think in these circumstances, it should be allowed.” The Chair then agreed with Davison.
Davison seconded the motion.
A vote was taken and the Chair declared that the motion was carried. Glass understands that there was at least one vote against the motion: Usama Shafiq (Treasurer, Grow).
Foley then called for anyone voting against the motion to speak.
The Chair asked Shafiq if he wanted to speak against the motion, but he declined.
Foley was then handed the microphone again. “I think it’s really shit that I’m the only one who has spoken at all…It’s been said multiple times that this union should be more involved in NUS, this actually involves a delegate of NUS, an Environment Officer of one of the most contended, political universities of the country.”
The Chair then allowed Davison to speak again, who condemned the University of Sydney. “This [action by USyd] should be condemned by everyone. To not do so is to support it.”
The Chair then took a second vote on the matter, as “…some people [had] changed their votes.” The motion was carried and this was met with applause.
Davidson moved to ratify the terms of reference for the “resurrection” of the Women’s Collective, which was made defunct last year after failing to hold an AGM last year due to not having students to fill Executive positions.
Davidson talked about how she and the Women’s Officer (Sia Hills, Grow) were going to make the new Women’s Collective “sustainable”.
“As a team, we’ve already made strides in EOI documents and promotion of the Collective. We feel incredibly confident that we will have a successful Collective by mid-year: functional and fantastic. Ready to serve the 57,000 students at QUT: female, inclusive of non-binary, and also male students as well who identify in that way in providing support, services and information and so forth.”
Aamna Asif (Secretary, Grow) seconded the motion.
Before the motion was taken to a vote, there were some queries from the floor.
Jack Longwill (Welfare Officer, Grow) questioned why Davidson was bringing the motion, rather than the Women’s Officer. “I’m just the one who constructed the documents and knows them in and out,” Davidson answered.
Convenor of the Queer Collective, Julian Trueman, asked inquired about the “…remit of the Women’s Collective where [Davidson] mentioned ‘males who identify in that way’…I assume it was just a misstep.”
Davidson offered to clarify. “It’s been a big week. Just to clarify, and from the advice I’ve been given the amazing people in the Queer Collective, and also those people before me: the Women’s Collective are for those people, and the terms we’ve been advised to use is female inclusive of non-binary. I think when I said male, I was referring to the Women’s Collective [educating] the entire University, inclusive of everyone other than female and non-binary. Apologies for my language. I know I’m still working on it and I’m trying my best.”
This moment was covered live by Glass on our Instagram stories, and the next day we featured a student comment on this matter which the President and Queer Collective vehemently disagreed with. Glass did not provide the President with an opportunity to respond to this student’s comment on our Instagram story, and Editor-in-Chief Ciaran Greig has apologised to Davidson for this. Please see our additional coverage on this matter below.
Juval Stephens (Board Member) then asked the Chair to clarify whether the motion was able to be brought by the President under 38.1(v) of the Guild Regulations.
Davidson was handed the microphone by the Chair. “Everything that I have done, I get approved by [Hills]. Just like this document I sent straight to her with consultation, provide opportunity for feedback…I’m just the owner of it [the terms of reference] so I’m presenting it to Council.”
Longwill responded, “More procedurally, this would fall under Sia’s responsibilities.”
“It’s literally just been the simple fact as well that as a lot of the SRC would know as well, the contact hours are really small, and obviously this is such an important thing to get done, and so I’ve taken on a lot of that. And I don’t want to get back to the Regulations, but I’m pretty positive that somewhere in my roles and responsibilities in here is that general coordination of all Guild services and activities.”
Hills said that she had given permission to Davidson to move the motion and speak on her behalf.
The motion was carried, with 16 students for the motion, none against, and multiple abstentions. “Cool beans,” said the Chair.
QUESTION TIME: QUEER OFFICER MIA, MULTIPLE COUNCILLORS CENSURED & CLUBS TO REBRAND
“I have a class in half an hour,” said the Chair as he handed the microphone to Glass for question time.
Greig responded that under the Regulations, question time can run for 40 minutes, which was met with groans by those in attendance.
“It can? If I don’t get a 7, you’re in the firing line,” said the Chair.
Question from Glass: Under the Regs, is a reconvened AGM a “meeting of the SRC”?
Answer from Asif (Secretary): Asif stated AGMs are considered to be “like” meetings of the SRC, so another SRC meeting this month would not be necessary, but there will be another Council meeting happening before the end of March.
Question from Glass: The First Nations Officer vacancy was advertised on the 6th of February 2023 – why aren’t we voting [to fill that vacancy] tonight? Have we not received any applications?
Answer from Asif: No applications for the First Nations Officer vacancy have been received.
Question from Glass: What’s happened with the Queer Officer? I’ve been told by multiple Executives that the Queer Officer has resigned, and I’d like to know when they resigned, the exact day.
Answer from Davidson (President): “Around three weeks ago I called the Queer Officer up and asked what was going on and the Queer Officer said that they didn’t have the capacity [for the role] and that they would be resigning that evening.”
Davidson said that she had since followed up three times with the Queer Officer and has not yet received a written resignation. Davidson said that she was told by Asif that verbal resignations are not enough to trigger a casual vacancy, and that they would be waiting until the Queer Officer failed to show at three SRC meetings to dismiss them under the Regulations.
Follow-up question from Glass: Why haven’t you called for the Queer Officer’s dismissal tonight? You called for someone else’s dismissal at the last [SRC] meeting, why should the students have to wait two meetings to put someone else in that position to represent queer students?
Answer from Asif: “We had conversations about getting the dismissal down today, but from our understanding from the last [SRC] meeting, where we did try to dismiss someone, and from what the Regulations say, the understanding that we took from that is that we have to wait the two consecutive Council meetings where they don’t attend and then table them for dismissal.”
Question from Glass: There are other SRC members who have missed two meetings as of tonight – are they being censured tonight?
Answer from Asif and Davidson: Davidson clarified that both she and Asif had believed before the meeting that no additional business, including the censuring of SRC members, could be conducted at the meeting under C34.8.
Davidson and Aamna then took some time to consult their records and provide the names of SRC members who had not attended meetings so far this year.
The following SRC members were then censured:
- Amay Small (Business and Law Faculty Councillor, Grow)
- Thanh Long (Oliver) Vu (Queer Officer, Grow)
- Tom Hinchcliffe (Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice Councillor, Grow)
Question from Glass: At the last AGM, [Davidson] mentioned that there was a rebrand going on with the clubs. There was significant discussion between yourself, Olivia Brumm [member of the board] and Oscar [Davison] about how we can push back with that rebrand and how we can negotiate with the University to make sure it doesn’t happen, or to make sure that [QUT] pays for those costs – where are you at with that?
Answer from Davidson: “We have had several discussions [with QUT] about the club rebranding. And that is for clubs to move from a title of ‘QUT [CLUB NAME]’ to ‘QUT GUILD [CLUB NAME]’. That’s in line with ensuring that [it is clear] who the affiliate body is for these clubs…We are pushing that if a change is to happen, that clubs will not be disadvantaged whatsoever with the changes, and that they will be fully supported financially and with materials for this adjustment.”
Follow-up question from Glass: Who is going to incur the costs of the change and what are you hoping to achieve [in your negotiations with QUT]?
Answer from Davidson: “We’re still in discussions with QUT so I don’t have a split at the moment. What I can say is that we’ve been quite vocal in ensuring that the Guild won’t be incurring the 100% cost of this, and that if this is a change that QUT would like to see within the Guild, that they should be held financially responsible for that change too.”
Follow-up question from Glass: What happens to all the existing QUT-branded items clubs have?
Answer from Davidson: “We’re very conscious of the environmental footprint this is obviously going to have if we make this change.” Davidson referred to looking at a timeline for progressively changing the QUT-branded items, working with QUT Sustainability and Facilities Management to ensure responsible waste management. “The last thing I want to see is a banner in the bin.”
Question from Juval Stephens (Board Member): Stephens asked that Secretary consider again the question of whether an AGM is a meeting of the SRC.
Answer: Asif, Davidson and multiple SRC members spoke about this matter. Davidson stated that the AGM was a meeting of the SRC.
CATCH YOU NEXT WEEK!
The next SRC meeting will be 6pm Tuesday 21 March 2023, at Kelvin Grove Campus B201b. If you would like to attend by video-conference, email Aamna (email@example.com) with your request and a copy of your student ID.
These meetings are open for all students to attend and make motions for the SRC to vote on. If you want to attend the next meeting, the details will be posted on the Guild Noticeboard.
Follow-up on Glass Instagram Story AGM Coverage
On Wednesday 8 March, Glass live reported on the reconvened AGM by publishing on Instagram stories throughout the meeting. One of the stories referred to the exchange detailed above between Davidson and a member of the Queer Collective.
At the end of the coverage, Glass posted a story asking for student opinions on the AGM. One of the comments received stated, “Transphobic language from the President is a STRONG no from me x”.
Glass reposted this comment to Instagram stories. This comment was not the opinion of Glass, and was published in an effort to showcase student opinion on this divisive issue. Glass acknowledges that it would have been fair to ask Davidson to provide comment on this student comment, and Editor-in-Chief Ciaran Greig has apologised to Davidson for not doing so.
17 hours after the story had been posted, a member of the Queer Collective reached out to Glass, and asked for the story to be removed and for Glass to publish a retraction. They stated that they felt Davidson’s original comment was “a well-intentioned attempt to align with the language in the Queer Collective Inclusive Language Guide”.
Glass responded, and said we believed the matter was reported accurately and as it happened, and would not be removing the Instagram story or posting a retraction.
The students that reached out to Glass with concerns about Davidson’s language took issue with the wording “males who identify in that way” and believed this phrasing is problematic since it shares similarities with anti-trans rhetoric, alluding that trans-women are “just males with identity disorders”. Adding salt to the wound, this comment was stated on International Women’s Day, and only days before the protest against Kellie-Jay Keen’s Presence in Australia.
While the Glass Editors do not believe Davidson is transphobic, and did not mean to portray her as such, the language used caused undeniable hurt to several vocal students, who found the slip up disheartening to see from the President of their student union.
On the evening of 10 March, the Queer Collective published a statement on this matter. They said they did not consider Davidson’s comment to be transphobic, and considered the attempt to use inclusive language a demonstration of the President’s commitment to inclusion.
The full statement can be viewed here on their social media account.
Davidson also published a statement on her own social media account. The full statement read as follows:
“Thank you @qgqueercollective for holding me accountable, but also for providing me a safe and welcoming space to learn. Whilst I continue to broaden my understanding of language and try my hardest, I am fortunate enough to have your support and guidance.
“The blatant misrepresentation of your character is something that nobody should have to experience, especially when the full picture isn’t disclosed to better sell a story.
“I stand for fair, transparent and accountable reporting for QUT students.”
Davidson has since also provided the following statement to Glass:
“I hold myself accountable and apologise for my clumsy, and then immediately rectified, phrasing during a nerve-racking speech – trying so hard to use inclusive language described within the QUT Guild Queer Collective’s Guide I have been studying. Since, I have been educating myself further on the matter and working on my delivery. I am so appreciative of the QUT Guild Queer Collective of providing me a safe and welcome space to expand my knowledge and voice their understanding.
I speak for every student, when I say that they deserve a student-funded President who is honest, transparent and is held accountable. The same should be said for their student-funded magazine.”
The QUT Student Guild Media Team (currently the Glass Editors) exists to hold the University and Guild accountable, and is committed under the Guild’s governing documents to both reporting accurately on meetings of the SRC and provide a platform for students to share their opinions. This means covering relevant social issues, and also means providing a platform for individuals to express their views on QUT student culture.