Swinburne Student Union
|Full name||Swinburne Student Union|
|Key people||Joshua Fernandez (President)|
|Office location||Swinburne University of Technology|
Swinburne Student Union (SSU), is the independent student representative body of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Membership is opt-in for all Swinburne students. Swinburne Student Union is currently campaigning for a return of student control of student affairs. The Swinburne Student Union is Swinburne’s only independent, student-run; representation, welfare and events service.
2005-2009: VSU Union Collapse
Due to the advent of voluntary student unionism (VSU), Swinburne created a subsidiary organisation known as the Swinburne Student Amenities Association, or SSAA, in 2006, which superseded many of the roles formerly operated by the union. Of late, the SSU have focused their energy on political activism. It also used to publish a student newspaper called Tabula Rasa. (Until 2005, 'Tabula Rasa' was an independent student magazine).
In December 2005, the University declined to renew the Student Union's lease on catering outlets and outsourced catering operations to private operators. In March 2006, the union was the subject of controversy after the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ian Young, announced that the university would not renew the Union's funding for 2006 - an expected payment of A$1.5 million. Media reports speculated of the "collapse" of the organisation as a result . The organisation was under considerable financial pressure, and was forced to reduce staff numbers considerably in order to remain solvent. In 2006, SSU terminated the employment of its executive officer, Balrama Krishnan for alleged gross and willful misconduct. He was the Union's most senior employee, having worked there for over 26 years. The Swinburne Student Union has implemented a range of strategies designed to ensure its survival despite VSU. They began rolling out financial membership packages from 1 July 2006. In 2009, SSU's offices in the Union building at Swinburne's Hawthorn campus were occupied by the SSAA, and the Union moved their offices to the Administration building. This left the unique situation of the Union building, built in the 80's solely to house SSU activities, having no Union presence.
2009 - 2011
The situation at Swinburne remained largely unchanged although in early 2009 it was hinted by the university they would be willing to give back some control of advocacy to the Union if the organisation was prepared to negotiate. In 2010 the situation remains unchanged with the finances of the union in a dire state. At a council meeting on 1 September 2010 a motion was successfully passed to freeze the wage of all office bearers. At the 2010 Swinburne Student Union Annual elections Socialist Alternative running under the banner of Student Voice lost all positions (with the exception of National Union of Students Delegates) to an Australian Greens/Labor/Independent Coalition running under the banner of Shake Up. This is a unique result as it is the first time candidates from any significant political parties have had significant inroads into the Swinburne Student Union. The Shake Up team ran under student service/advocacy/activity based policies rather than the left wing and broad non-student issue focus of Student Voice. In 2011 Swinburne Student Union is enjoyed a resurgence in interest and membership, with over 700 members joining in the first half of 2011. The Union successfully campaigned to return to the Union building in 2011, although only to one floor.The SSU also greatly expanded its services by offering its members free printing, free breakfast, parties and events as well as representation and advice by students, for students.
In 2012, there are over 1000 members involved with the SSU. Services have grown to include free meal days, more social functions and a student magazine, as well as continuing all the services that were introduced in 2011.
WTF (Where’s the Funding)
The WTF campaign is running in response to the introduction of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (or, SSAF) introduced at the beginning of 2012. The Union’s main issues with the SSAF were that Swinburne chose to implement it before many other universities, yet did so without planning or consulting the students as to what the fees would be spent on. There was also concern that students who didn’t pay the fee were being locked out of their ‘my.swinburne’ online portal accounts.
Keep our Campuses Alive
On 6 July 2012, Swinburne Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Linda Kristjanson announced the closure of Swinburne’s Lilydale and Prahran Campuses. No students were consulted before this announcement, some finding out through the media first. With Lilydale closing within the year and Prahran’s design courses being moved to the Hawthorn campus, there are concerns for the impact of this disruption upon students.
In 2012, the Union launched The Swine, the first independent student publication since Tabula Rasa. The Swine is run by the Swinburne Student Union Media Committee with assistance from independent Journalism and Design students. At present, The Swine has released two issues, with the third expected in late July.
The Swinburne Student Union holds annual elections for office bearer positions. It has several standing committees including the Education Board, Secretariat, Services Management Board, SISA and SUPA; the latter two being constitutionally established representative bodies to serve the needs of international students and postgraduates respectively.
Incumbent representatives (2014)
President: Joshua Fernandez
General Secretary: Brendan Spackman-Williams
Education: Joshua Briers
Hawthorn Campus Chair: Caitlin Bruty
Croydon Campus Chair: Vacant
Wantirna Campus Chair: Vacant
TAFE/Apprentices & Traineeships: Summer White
Queer: Lee Taube
International: Arsalan Shaikh
Mature Age: Andrew Morison
Women's: Linda Kenyon
Undergraduate: Sumbula Ahmad
Postgraduate: Gautham Raju
Disability Support: Pavithra Ramamurthy
Environment & Sustainability: Michael Klomp
Part-Time: Scott Morgan
Clubs and Activities Officer: Salman Arif
The 2014 SSU Media Committee:
Editor-in-Chief: Rhys Pope
Managing Editor: Nicholas Kennedy
Secretary/Treasurer: Danielle Thompson
Advertising Editor: Janelle James
Promotions and Distribution: Jonathon Boadle
Media Lead Designer: Eloise Retallick
- SSU Enterprise Agreement 2004
- University management cut funding to student union
- Above Quota SSU Results