Funds for Canada conference trip divide RUSU SUC

By Claudia Long | @ClaudiaLongsays

Funds for a trip to Canada have unearthed tensions on the RUSU Student Union Council (SUC) after representatives clashed over partially covering travel costs for representatives and a staff member to the International Summer Institute on Students as Partners.

Former president Ariel Zohar and general secretary Emily Hansen opposed the provision of $4,400 for RUSU president Abena Dove, communications officer Ella Caulfield and campaigns officer Sarah Firth to travel to Ontario for the conference at the April 12 meeting.

RUSU President Abena Dove and RUSU Campaigns staff member Sarah Firth (pictured) attending the Change Institute’s ‘Students as Partners’ conference at McMasters University in Ontario, Canada.  (Image sourced from RUSU Facebook Page)

RMIT’s education portfolio covered the bulk of costs for RUSU representatives to attend the four day conference from May 8th to 11th at McMaster University which, according to it’s website, seeks to engage students as co-creators, co-researchers, co-teachers, co-producers and co-designers in learning and teaching.

RMIT representatives attended the ‘Change institute’ stream of the conference where they planned the roll out of a potential students as partners program at RMIT.

Observers of the April SUC meeting told Catalyst former RUSU President Ariel Zohar said he was uncomfortable with RUSU providing funds for the trip which lead to tense debate.

The strained discussion allegedly culminated in Ms Dove telling Ms Hansen to “chair properly” after having to request multiple times to not be interrupted by Mr Zohar. 



The motion for $4,400 was passed by the majority of council but Ms Hansen, Mr Zohar, City Campus Coordinator Umer Tahir and Bundoora Coordinator Alex Borsato voted against the motion. Neither Ms Dove nor Mr Zohar replied to Catalyst’s requests for comment before deadline.


Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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