Monash Student Association
|Full name||Monash Student Association (Clayton) Inc.|
|Native name||MSA Clayton|
|Founded||1994 (after merger)|
|Affiliation||Monash University, Clayton campus|
|Office location||First Floor, Campus Centre (Building 10), Monash University, Clayton|
The Monash Student Association (Clayton) Inc (MSA) is located at the Clayton campus of Monash University in the Campus Centre building. The MSA is made up of elected student representatives who represent all Clayton campus students on general issues such as education, fees and student welfare, and also specific issues such as women's affairs and queer affairs. MSA also operates a Student Theatre, an Activities department, Lot's Wife, Host Scheme, the Short Courses Centre and Wholefoods vegetarian restaurant.
The MSA was formed at the end of 1994 with a merger of the former Monash Association of Students, Monash Postgraduate Association, the Mature Aged and Part Time Students Association and the Monash University International Students Society. It subsequently incorporated as an independent body in 1998.
The Activities office organises on-campus student activities and inter-campus competitions and events, such as live bands, DJs, movie nights, and Winter Sabbatical.
Clubs & Societies
Clubs & Societies governs the over 100 (non-sporting) clubs and societies at the Clayton campus. The clubs range from academic-based clubs to those that are cultural, political, spiritual, or relating to a hobby or specific interest.
Education Office The Education department provides advocacy, policy work, campaign management, advice, and representation to the student body. Some notable achievements include the 2004 HECS protests, the campaign against unfair parking fines, the 2006 campaign for the re-introduction of Swotvac, and some success in the continuing push for online recording of lectures.
The Environment Department facilitates student involvement in sustainability and social justice, both on campus and in the wider community. They work with the university in order in minimising consumption of water, paper and energy; purchasing and use of renewable energies, recycled paper and other eco-friendly products; minimising waste and maintaining effective recycling and composting programs. They support wider student campaigns on issues like protection of old-growth forests, fair trade, indigenous justice, refugee rights, and climate change.
Radio Monash is a radio station, which offers live webstreaming and podcasting and offers training in aspects of broadcasting in a full digital recording studio, which is often used as a rehearsal room for bands and musicians. Whilst not directly funded by or affiliated with the MSA, Radio Monash still works in conjunction with the MSA during their music events.
Host Scheme is an orientation program that runs a camps program, functions program and Host Scheme Night; a huge party at the start of Orientation Week, which attracts thousands of new students.
John Medley Library
The John Medley Library is the only recreational library at Monash University's Clayton Campus. It provides printing, scanning, laminating and note binding services, and houses a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, comics, magazines, DVDs, CDs and vinyl records.
Lot's Wife is the student newspaper. It addresses student issues and news, provides a voice for student commentary and reviews.
The MSA Queer Department caters for all students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or those who are questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity. It provides the queer lounge, as a safe a queer-only space where students can gather, socialise and discuss queer issues in a supportive environment, and also works to collectively fight against discrimination and oppression suffered by queers in society.
The Student Theatre (MUST) is a place for students to get involved in acting, directing or backstage work, and stages a large number of productions a year.
The Welfare department runs Free Food Mondays, giving struggling students free vegetarian food every Monday night. It recycles old donated computers by rebuilding them for students. It also runs the Survival Centre, which contains free food and second-hand clothing for students in need.
The Women's Room is a women-only environment, a place for women to socialise, study and meet other women. It was created by the student union due to perceived university in-action over a rising spate of assaults around campus, particularly after normal class hours, on women.
Wholefoods is a vegetarian restaurant, cafe and grocery service owned and run mostly on a volunteer basis by students.
Each year in week 9 of semester two, all students enrolled at Monash Clayton are eligible to vote in the elections for the MSA. Ballots are issued for the individual office bearing roles (Incl. President and more minor portfolio roles) that along with five general representatives form the MSA's main governing body, Monash Student Council (MSC). Also elected are the Women's Affairs Committee (WAC, 5 members), Student Affairs Committee (SAC, 10 members) and 7 delegates to the National Union of Students' annual National Conference.
Voting is not compulsory and so the results are largely due to who has the most effective reputation, media strategy and ground organisation during the time leading up to and during the polling week itself.
Political groups and their election tickets
Since the early 2000s, there have generally been three main political groups on campus: grassroots; independent & left-wing coalitions and right-wing coalitions. It should be recognised that the spectrum of views represented in student politics is decidedly left of the mainstream political centre.
Each party or 'ticket' as they are known has for the past few years been affiliated to some degree with a disciplined state or national factional organisation. At present, the dominant "Go!" ticket is dominated by members of the Labor Left-aligned National Labor Students (NLS) who occupy key positions in the Executive (including the President) and most of the split Education portfolio. The remainder of Go!-elected positions tend to be a mixture of progressive, Go!-aligned independents and other members of NLS. Go! is consistently the largest and most disciplined campaign, focusing primarily in elections on a relate-able platform of service provision, goal-oriented campaigns and advocacy while sporting pop culture references on blue shirts. Go! have held control of the MSA since their victory in 2005.
"Left Action" (Left Hook in 2013), competes on a platform of utilising the MSA's resources to the maximum of its campaign and activism capacity. The ticket's association with the unpopular Socialist Alternative-affiliated canvassers, their radicalism and polarising political stance on issues such as Israel-Palestine lends to their poor electoral results relative to their skilled and disciplined campaign. Left Action shirts have shifted from yellow, to red, to black in 2015. Because of their relatively low polling numbers and extremely close affiliation with their national SA faction, Left Action tends to focus on the multi-member ballots - specifically that for National Union of Students Delegate as quota for at least one is easily achievable and is a priority for their factional leadership.
"Switch" was a group that first emerged under that name in 2012 and is a loose coalition of generally hierarchy-suspicious radicals ranging from anarcho-communists to members of MSA-affiliated collectives who do not engage with the organisation in such a way as to be incorporated into Go!. Switch campaigns tend to focus on policies of a heavily distributive nature and run on a platform of a broad commitment to transparency and democratisation at all levels. Switch have seen mixed results since their 'emergence' in 2012, reaching a high water mark following their 2015 allegiance with Go! that saw Left Action excluded from the MSA. The internal cliques and politics of Switch is changing rapidly with the elements of the Young Greens offering a discipline at odds with the collectivist and anti-hierarchical ideology at the group's historical core. In recent years Switch members have affiliated closely with the Grassroots Left faction at NUS National Conference.
Switch, whilst appearing new, is the latest incarnation of a long dynasty of grassroots and radical networks at Monash. Activate was a grouping made up of environmentalists and other left-wing students that were generally referred to as the ‘grassroots left’. They held the Presidency and a majority of the Office-Bearer positions from 2002 until the 2005 elections when Go! in coalition with independents won majority control of the student association and have held it ever since.
Generally right-wing coalitions have included members of the Labor Right, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students and the Monash Liberal Club. They ran under tickets such as ‘Action’ (2006), ‘Unite’ (2007), ‘Connect’ (2009–2010) and 'Voice' (2011 & 2013). In 2008, they ran with a large group of Go! splinters to form a ticket known as ‘Universal’ (please note that this grouping is unrelated to the Universal elected ticket between 1999–2001).
Labor Right-affiliated student faction Student Unity have failed every year in recent memory to either successfully nominate or even consider seriously contesting the election. Often in coalition with the campus Liberals, or Australian Liberal Students Federation (ALSF), this rare right-wing coalition (or individual components contesting alone) wins at best 10% of the vote and contests, they claim, on the principle of providing choice in the election rather than mounting a serious campaign capable of winning an election.
- "Monash Student Association - Activities". msa.monash.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
- "Home | Monash University Clubs". www.monashclubs.org. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
- "Monash Student Association - Environment & Social Justice Officers". msa.monash.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
- "Uni blues" by Shane Green, The Age, 22 March 2004, retrieved 14 June 2006.
- "Poverty-stricken students reliant on food handouts" by Shane Green, The Age, 22 March 2004, retrieved 14 June 2006.
- "Students on warpath over HECS hike" by David Rood, The Age, 23 March 2004, retrieved 14 June 2006.
- "Monash fee backlash as board member quits" by David Rood, The Age, 24 March 2004, retrieved 14 June 2006.
- "Students, police injured in Monash University fees protest" by Bridie Smith, The Age, 26 March 2004, retrieved 14 June 2006.
- "Free market goes to uni" by Shane Green and David Rood, The Age, 27 March 2004, retrieved 14 June 2006.
- "Student group slams university pokie plan", ABC Melbourne, 21 March 2005, retrieved 14 June 2006.
- "Mild in the streets" by Janet De Silva, The Age, 25 April 2005, retrieved 14 June 2006.