May Council: Yay Freedom of Speech and, Essentially, a Whole New SRC (Almost…)

Welcome back to the Glass coverage of the Guild Student Representative Council (SRC) Meetings of 2024. This is our coverage of the May meeting held on Wednesday 22 May 2024 at E052, Kelvin Grove 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. This is our second council meeting of 2024.    

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 meeting minutes here

You can also access the meeting agenda and documents associated with motions raised at the meeting in this folder.   

AND WE’RE OFF!    

The meeting was opened at 5:52pm by the Chair Taav’n Clark and began with an Acknowledgement of Country.    

The Chair began with a role call for the meeting with the following officers in attendance: Interim President and current Queer Officer Eli Spencer, Interim Secretary and current Environment Officer Milani Rawlinson, Interim Treasurer and current Education Officer Calissa Leyden, Welfare Officer Paulina Luisce, Clubs & Societies Officer Hong Le, Women’s Officer Lauren Cuthbert, First Nations Officer 

AJ Lee, International Students Officer Jovan Fersando, Postgraduate Officer Malgorzata Fituch, Disability Officer Ethan Johnstone, Engineering Councillor Jasper Vermeulen, Engineering Councillor Georgie Dobbs, Science Councillor Courtney-Elyce Lewis, Science Councillor Daniel Soltermann, Health Councillor Maya Rawlinson and Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice Councillor Erin Milne. 
  

The Chair noted the following apologies for the meeting: Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice Councillor Ella O’Brien and Health Councillor Arya Chaudhari.  

FIRST UP, COLLECTIVE REPORTS.  

The Disability Collective report was delivered by Convenor Michael Pendergast.   

You can read the full report from the Disability Collective here.   

The Disability Collective currently has 106 members. They reported their last meeting was held on May 16 and was focused on planning for Semester 2 Welcome Week.  

The Queer Collective report was delivered by Convenor Peri Habermas.  

A full report document from the Queer Collective was not included in the folder of meeting documents.  

The Queer Collective has 260 members. They reported their last meeting was held on May 8 and was focused on planning for Semester 2 Welcome Week. 

NEXT UP, MOTIONS 

The next item on the agenda was intended to be election speeches to fill vacant SRC positions, however CIESJ Councillor Erin Milne moved a procedural motion to have their motion on notice heard before the elections. The Chair accepted the procedural motion, and it was moved forward on the agenda. 

CIESJ Councillor Erin Milne moved to have QUT Guild condemn the University of Queensland administration’s attack on freedom of speech (specifically the use of “intifada” and “out out Israel out”).  Women’s Officer Lauren Cuthbert seconded the motion.  

You can read the motion in full here.  

Milne spoke on motion calling UQ’s actions an “attack on the freedom of speech” and a breach of their own policies. 

“[UQ] sent out an email to select students involved in the organising of the encampment and protests, to tell them that students who use the word ‘intifada’ or use the chant ‘out, out, Israel, out’ will be academically disciplined up to and including things like suspension, expulsion, you know, being refused to participate in exams,” Milne said. 

As the seconder, Cuthbert then spoke for the motion. 

“I think that a university going against its own guidelines and policies for the sake of marginalising protestors is disgusting, and really shouldn’t be happening,” Cuthbert said. 

The debate then began on the motion. 

It involved a question on what the UQ Union’s position on the matter was from Postgraduate Office, Mal Fituch, and a question of whether the protest was aggressive from interim Treasurer, Calissa Leyden.  

Milne said that the UQU has not released an official statement and they had not yet held their May council meeting, but believed the motion was not just about condemning UQ but also about reaffirming our own position on issues like this. 

There was also reference to the previous council meeting where a motion to support the encampment was passed.  

The motion was put to a vote and passed. The votes were as follows: 

For: Eli Spencer, Milani Rawlinson, Calissa Leyden, Paulina Luisce, Hong Le, Lauren Cuthbert, Jovan Fersando, AJ Lee, Ethan Johnstone, Jasper Vermeulen, Georgie Dobbs, Courtney-Elyce Lewis, Daniel Soltermann, Maya Rawlinson and Erin Milne. 

Against: Malgorzata Fituch 

ON TO THOSE EVER-PRESENT CASUAL VACANCIES 

In the weeks leading up to the April Council Meeting, we had three resignations: President Aaron Bui, Secretary Juliet Veskova and Treasurer Archer Skinner.   

We then had Engagement Officer Deepika Sharma resign, which took effect after the April Council Meeting. We also had Business and Law Councillor Gia Fisher resign. 

So, the SRC were filling the vacant positions of President, Secretary, Treasurer, Engagement Officer and Business and Law Councillor. 

There were 20 applicants across the five positions.  

None of the applicants’ resumes were available on the public SharePoint for students to view. However, all members of the SRC were able to access these files via a private Guild folder.   

Due to previous practice in meetings with this many applicants, each candidate had two minutes for a speech and then an additional two minutes for two questions.   

Soooo, we will make this just as quick and have tabulated the journey we were taken on. 

PRESIDENT 

NAME  DEGREE  Presentation Method KEY QUOTE  
Carmen Martinez Harris Bachelor of Science (Physics) Chair read out speech – left early due to personal emergency “It’s about adding one’s personal touch to a larger picture, not merely focusing on the day and but more so how our actions today will contribute to the actions of tomorrow.” 
Dhara Himanshu Jani Bachelor of Public Health Chair read out speech – Online but microphone not working “QUT is one of the best education providers. There are so many amenities that are available for students, and it is worthwhile, I also want to contribute to QUT more.” 
Euan Tiernan Bachelor of Engineering In person “I believe our Guild is instrumental to the success of QUT and, therefore a stronger Guild and a stronger SRC is instrumental to QUT’s success.” 
Madeline (Che Rin) Kim Bachelor of Radiation Therapy In person “If elected, I will work diligently to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, and that we proactively address the student concerns.” 
Marcelo Johas Carvalho Master of Business In person “What I can bring for you guys – even though I am new here – is a new point of view, a new way to manage things.” 

SECRETARY 

NAME  DEGREE  Presentation Method KEY QUOTE  
Ayesha Ahmed Bachelor of Business and Data Science In person “I have a diverse background in administrative support, financial auditing and event planning, combining this with my passion for advocacy, uniquely positions me to excel in this role.” 
Dhara Himanshu Jani Bachelor of Public Health See Presidential Candidates 
Sebastian Page Bachelor of Engineering In person “What does the state parliament, Australia Zoo and Bot Bar on a Thursday night all have in common? They’re packed full of wild animals.” 
Suzie Vu Master of Digital Communication In person “I will make sure that every new student that comes to QUT receives email marketing informing them the Guild is a channel and a way for them to express themselves to share every difficulty that they experience.” 

TREASURER 

NAME  DEGREE  Presentation Method KEY QUOTE  
Calissa Leyden Bachelor of Law and Communications In person “If I was to be elected Treasurer, I would make sure that the Guild is transparent with our funds, as well as getting more SRC initiatives that are hands on and really building the SRC’s presence on campus, which I feel is lacking in the last years.” 
Dhara Himanshu Jani Bachelor of Public Health See Presidential Candidates 
Kajal Rana Master of Accounting In person “We have seen in the past that Food Bank have had to reduce the visits and items taken per visit for the students because the lack of funds, I will try to figure out ways we can what we can do for the students to facilitate more funding to them.” 
Philip Davies Bachelor of Paramedic Science In person “Our job in the Guild is to facilitate helping students and help make their student lives better. To make sure that there is continued professional development opportunities, and to make sure that getting through uni is as simple as it can be.” 
Samuel Hulls Bachelor of Science In person “I’m committed to ensuring the financial health of the Guild by bringing my knowledge and understanding of finances. With the recent legislation increasing SSAF from 25% to 40%. My top priority will be to ensure that these funds are spent in line with good constitution and regulations.” 
(Louis) Vu Phuong Linh Nguyen Bachelor of Business In person “I commit that I will work with transparency, fairness and accountability in making decisions and ensure that all my activity and decisions align with the provisions in the Guild constitution and regulations.” 

 
 
ENGAGEMENT OFFICER 

NAME  DEGREE   KEY QUOTE  
Edwin Joe Bachelor of Design Online “I applied for the Engagement Officer role primarily because of my love and passion for media and utilising all the various streams of social media to reach bigger audiences and get more people to engage in events, and other campaigns that we might be running.” 
Erin Rayner Master of Social Work In person “I would really, really like to continue my work as part of the Guild for supporting the Food Bank. I would also like to see more events for older, mature age students.” 
Ivy Zhen Ee Tiang Bachelor of Business In person “I’m eager to create an inclusive and engaging environment for all students. And my passion lies in fostering vibrant campus communities and enhancing the overall student experience.” 
Juan Jose Vargas Duque Bachelor of Urban Development In person “I have a four-point plan as Engagement Officer: accessible engagement, supporting our clubs and societies, a healthy student body, and student activism.” 
Kacy Jane Toombs Bachelor of Creative Industries In person “I have a lot of experience and understanding in terms of what can hold students back, and I want to be able to make a more positive environment and a more welcoming environment.” 
Romit Chandreshkumar Jajal Master of IT In person “A lot of my friends are facing a huge barrier of communication… I think we should have at least one person who can understand the language and speak with them in their own language.” 
Vishnu Raj Master of Business In person “I saw so many students protesting in front of the Parliament House… And I really urge [students] to be a part of that, I want to be a part of that team.” 
Elizabeth Rowland Bachelor of Business and Fine Arts Sent in video presentation “In this role, I will bring a collaborative and strategic approach to setting goals that resonate with our diverse student body. My experience in event management and my passion for creating inclusive and engaging activities to drive active student involvement in all of the Guild.” 
Dhara Himanshu Jani Bachelor of Public Health See Presidential Candidates 

 
BUSINESS AND LAW COUNCILLOR 

NAME  DEGREE  Presentation Method KEY QUOTE  
(Louis) Vu Phuong Linh Nguyen Bachelor of Business See Treasurer Candidates 

VOTING & DISCUSSION DONE IN-CAMERA  

After going in-camera for almost two hours (!) following a procedural motion moved by Women’s Officer Lauren Cuthbert, the successful candidates were announced by the Chair:  

The new President is Carmen Martinez Harris.  

NOTE: Since the council meeting, Carmen has resigned from the role of president. Glass will have an update for you after an executive meeting this week.  

The new Secretary is Sebastian Page.  

The new Treasurer is Calissa Leyden. 

The new Engagement Officer is Erin Rayner. 

The new Business and Law Councillor is (Louis) Vu Phuong Linh Nguyen. 

THAT’S IT  

The Chair closed the meeting at 10:00pm.   

Ben Steele
Ben Steele
Articles: 31

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