GSA Council Meeting 30 June 2019
By Ida (Tangshuang) Qin and Madeleine Johnson
On the 30th of June, we held the very first Council meeting for the newly elected councillors! Council is the governing body of GSA, and consists of 15 elected graduate students. We meet once a month to make decisions and discuss various aspects of GSA governance. At our first meeting, we discussed a number of important issues which we’d like to share with you below!
LGBTIQ+ associate officer election – MJ
We unfortunately didn’t get any nominations for LGBTQIA+ office bearer during our general election – not because we don’t have any LGBTQIA+ students on council, but because those students chose to run for other positions. Fortunately, our constitution says we’re able to appoint associate office bearers to fill positions for situations like this. We opened applications around two weeks ago, received a number of really high-quality applications, and at this meeting voted to appoint Lauren Taylor to the position. We’re very excited to see the work she’ll be able to do, and want to reiterate how much the whole of council is committed to supporting LGBTQIA+ graduate students.
Grad ball theme – TQ
We had a long conversation about the grad ball themes. Every councillor has share their opinions on how can the grad ball theme reflect on what grad students’ expectations on next grad ball. We considered multiple factors in making this decision. However, we decided to keep it as a top secret at current stage because there to be spoilers. But there is no doubt that we are all getting excited about it!
Climate Strike TQ
We have passed a motion to endorse a motion on climate strike. The passed motion is that GSA to endorse the September 27th general climate strike and will advocate to the University of Melbourne for time release for graduate students and staff to attend the climate strike.
Our Education & Researcher officer Fia Hamid-Walker also pointed out that union members in the tertiary education sector should see our fight against casualisation and the marketisation and commodification of education as inseparable from supporting our fellow unionists in energy, transportation, and agricultural industries to decarbonise the economy and create dignified clean energy jobs.
We are looking forward to providing more support on this in the near future.
CAPA SCM -MJ
The General Secretary (Madeleine) reported to us about her experiences at the Council of Australian Postgraduate Association (CAPA) Special Council Meeting (SCM) which her, Emily (President) and Fia (Education officer) attended at the end of May.
CAPA is a national association for postgrad associations – so GSA is a member, as are other postgrad associations around the country. They meet twice a year at an SCM and ACM (annual council meeting) to discuss how the organisation is going and what they’re working on, as well as provide opportunities for members to discuss issues facing postgrad students across the country.
At the SCM, CAPA passed a new constitution (modelled on one proposed at GSA!) to make sure they function as a stable organisation despite the high turnover of student representatives. The key change was the creation of a board for the organisation, which was to have a minority of professional members appointed in order to provide advice and guidance to a majority student-led board.
There were also women, queer, indigenous and other caucuses held to discuss issues facing those students.
Emily, Fia and Madeleine were also able to get to know student leaders from around the country, which was a great opportunity to learn about their successes and failures, as well as to form many new friendships.
If you’d like to know more about what happens at council meetings, minutes are generally published on the GSA website once they’ve been approved, and you can get in touch with Madeleine, the General Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org