Campaign demands Sydney Uni SRC oppose library cuts

In early June, Sydney University announced that Fisher library was to undergo a “redevelopment” that involved 30 job losses and the removal of over 500,000 books. Following a protest of 300 students and staff, those opposed to the cuts attended an SRC council meeting to demand it support the student action.

But Labor Left SRC President Dee Wamsley initiated and successfully passed a motion for the SRC to endorse the university’s plans. Both Liberal and Labor students argued that the redevelopment would be an upgrade for Fisher and that the library budget cuts were a separate and inevitable issue.
They dismissed student protests as being based on misinformation, while being unable to counter any of the students’ concerns.

With books deemed “no longer relevant” to be destroyed, with staff given mere days to vet entire sections, and with the university feeding students consistent lies, the Labor students should be leading the fight against these cuts to education.

Yet in the same way they have refused to confront the ongoing attacks that Liberals in the SRC are waging on student collectives, the Labor students will not fight back.

Whilst Labor students have a history of apolitical and bureaucratic maneuvers, this support of outright attacks on the quality of education is a disgraceful sell-out of its support base. It demonstrates just how far right the SRC has been pulled by the Liberals’ push for budget cuts and economic rationalism.

It has only been through grassroots student organising that there has been any fightback. It was only in response to the student protest that the University was forced to hold a meeting for students about the redevelopment plan. And it was due to the combined pressure of the CPSU and student protests that the University has dropped the redundancies from 30 to 15.

Students are continuing to fight this latest neo-liberal move by the university. There will be a picket when the redevelopment starts on July 1, building up to a rally in week one of next semester.
Academics and members of the community are being encouraged to sign onto a letter supporting the campaign. 

By Marijke Hoving

Magazine

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