Please explain

by | Aug 22, 2016 | First Person

By Aldric Chuah:

The recent decision by Board of Directors/Vice Chancellor Barney Glover to arbitrarily remove the position of Student Publications Officer was one made without prior consultation and without qualification. The unilateral decision caught many of the editors by surprise given that the role is of such significance for the student newspaper. Given the economic climate of the country we can gauge that the most likely rationale behind this decision is one of fiscal responsibility. However through the actions of the Board of Directors they have shown to be socially unaccountable to the students of Western Sydney University. I understand that the Vice Chancellor has a responsibility to ensure that the university is fiscally responsible and not operating above its means so as to speak. However, the Vice Chancellor has an obligation to ensure that the voices of the student community/bodies are heard and we as a whole would like to express our displeasure at the decision.

There is a role for student newspapers in fostering a sense of community amongst students as well as providing an avenue for students to express themselves creatively and allowing students to voice their opinions on events both within and outside the realms of Western Sydney University. It is a paper produced by our students, but one which ought to be shared around the world. As students we are the leaders of tomorrow and the advocates of our generation. Our ability to do this will be diminished through the removal of the Student Publications Officer position. The Officer is vital to ensure the effective and efficient operations of the paper. In addition, this role requires the staff member to; manage print services, organise distribution/advertising as well as being a conduit between the student editors and the authority within the university. Through this we are able to better voice our concerns and ensure that they will be passed onto the relevant authority. The staff member takes cares of the logistics; we take care of the content. Hence this staff member provides unconditional support to student editors and ensures that an equal opportunity is provided to all. Once that proverbial link is broken, the Western Sydney University Paper as we know it will dissipate and be at great risk of being consigned to the pages of history.

If the Board believes that we will let this paper go down in to a state of disrepute they are sorely mistaken. We will fight to the hilt to ensure that operations of this paper are adequately provided for. As Whitlam Institute Director Eric Sidoti eloquently pointed out at the launch of the (then) Cruwsible student newspaper “Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comforted”. We will strive to do that and will continue to do so. However as students we have to attend to our education/studies and aren’t always available to assist on the operations of the newspaper. Someone is needed to assist us. The removal of this position sets a poor precedent and undermines the confidence of students in the credibility of the Board and the newly installed Vice Chancellor Barney Glover. A Minister of the Crown has public servants. A company CEO has Directors and a student publication has a Publications Officer. We sincerely ask Barney Glover; as the representative of this university that this decision by reversed to ensure the vitality of Western Sydney University Paper.


(editorial note: the Student Publications Officer role has been extended to the end of 2018)

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