From the General Secretary’s Desk

It has been a busy two months at the General Secretary’s desk. As well as the usual business of preparing agendas and minutes for meetings of the Student Union Council (RUSU’s governing body) and the Student Union Council Secretariat (RUSU’s executive council) I’ve been attending meetings of RMIT’s Academic Board and the Student Experience Advisory Committee, as well as taking some sneaky time out at what turned out to be an awesome RUSU O’Week welcome bash.

The hectic period started in February. James and I, with the help of our amazing staff and fellow student reps, were able to secure several wins for students at the Academic Board meeting held on February 4th. As James notes, the Academic Board passed several key amendments to RMIT’s new Assessment Policy suite proposed by your union.

Many significant amendments were proposed, including to a section which proposed that RMIT own all intellectual property rights to any student work, submitted for assessment, which was created using RMIT resources (other than library resources). This was clearly ridiculous, especially in areas such as Music Industry Studies where RMIT equipment is used routinely to produce assessable work.

We proposed that this Section be deleted entirely and replaced with a cross-reference to RMIT’s standard, and far less ridiculous, Intellectual Property Policy. The Academic Board accepted this amendment, which is a fantastic outcome for all students who create unique works at RMIT. Students will now continue to enjoy the protection of RMIT’s standard (and vaguely sane) intellectual property policy. Perseverance paid off and we were able to show the University a path to reason.

We also submitted amendments to counter proposed changes to the way appeals procedures and Special Considerations were dealt with which would have seen it become far easier for the University to deny students access to the Special Consideration and Exclusion Appeals processes. Many of the amendments were accepted by the Academic Board ensuring that the final policies were fair and in the best interests of students.

The fight did not stop there. James and I were also in attendance for the February 25 meeting of the Student Experience Advisory Committee, which is primarily charged with providing recommendations to the Dean of Students on how Student Services and Amenities Fees are allocated among projects and university departments. On the agenda at February’s meeting were a suite of proposed changes to the RMIT Student Complaint Policy and Procedures as well as the bi-monthly Student Services and Amenities Fee Report, presented by the Dean of Students, Professor Owen Hughes.

We were persistent in ensuring that our opinion – that if student’s money is to be collected via a Student Services and Amenities Fee, it should be spent directly on students – was heard. We also reiterated our belief that the students complaints process ought to be as simple and easy to access as possible for students to ensure that all students can easily and conveniently submit

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grievances to the University for resolution. It was also pointed out that better communication regarding how to make a complaint was needed

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as most students (including myself) wouldn’t know where to start when it comes to making a formal complaint about, for example, a discriminatory lecturer.

Somewhere in the middle of all that your General Secretary was able to get out and enjoy himself at RUSU’s welcome bash, which was a massive success! As always I suggest you take out a RUSU membership (only $10) and come along to our Re-Orientation Week party coming up very soon.

Remember, you’re welcome to come see me in my office or give me a call if you have any issues you’d like to discuss.

Until then, don’t take life too seriously, enjoy yourselves and make your uni years the best years of your lives!

Gabriel Brady

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