Update from GSA President – 17th May 2022

As we approach the end of the semester, it’s essential to check in with how you’re feeling and reach out for any support. GSA has a range of well-being initiatives in addition to the University’s free counselling services.

Thank you, Rachna

Our very dedicated Chief Executive Officer, Rachna Muddagouni, will be leaving GSA. Having worked with Rachna over the past two and a half years, I cannot overstate her contributions to the organisation at some of the most challenging times for GSA and graduate students. We have valued her dedication to fighting for graduate students and mentoring so many student representatives over the years. GSA’s programs and governance have evolved to new heights since her appointment in 2019, and she leaves the organisation on a solid foundation for the future. We wish her all the very best for the future, and we will always be grateful for her contributions to GSA.

End of Elected Terms

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with so many fantastic student representatives who will officially finish their terms later this month. This includes my term as President.

Speaking candidly, every student representative, whether on the Representative Council, the Faculty Council, committees, or the Board, has brought an incredibly unique perspective to our advocacy and has made an incredible contribution to graduate students. This was our first ever Representative Council structure, and their advocacy achievements have been unprecedented. We’ve got the membership to thank for endorsing this new structure, allowing OBs to focus on advocacy while maintaining graduate student-led governance. I believe their achievements are a testament to their hard work under our reformed governance.

Sexual Assault and Harassment Advocacy

We have continued our lobbying on sexual assault and harassment, bringing attention to a lack of progress despite the University’s commitments. Our Policy and Advocacy team has found many “new” commitments from the University on this issue are recycled unfulfilled promises from previous years and many other abandoned plans. I presented these concerns at the Respect at Melbourne Committee meeting, and I am following up with the University on specific concerns.

Access to Well-being Support

GSA has also lobbied the University to improve access to CAPS, including for students on placement who are often unable to book an appointment, let alone attend a time that suits them. Further, there remain barriers to international students accessing CAPS which we have raised and continue to push for improvements to the advertising and access to the service.

Please feel free to reach out to me at president@gsa.unimelb.edu.au or drop into the 1888 Building. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming the next team of GSA Reps on 27 May.