Posts Tagged ‘University’

The  last few months has seen a renaissance of protesting, sit-ins and political unrest at la Trobe University in response to 500 plus proposed cuts to the humanities and social science faculties.

The students are concerned about the university’s plans to cut 45 academic staff jobs and 500 subjects from its humanities and social science departments due to depleted enrolment.

The university announced the plans in a document released June 20 with Humanities and Social Science Dean, Tim Murray declaring a final decision will be made sometime this month.

Since hearing of the news students have partaken in overnight occupations of their university grounds, protests, marches and a series of petitions to combat these changes.


Under the threat of expulsion and weeks of peaceful protests, the raging debate reached a tension filled apex as the Stop HUSS Cuts Collective  and Occupy La Trobe grew forceful in their frustrations.

Escalating from peaceful to pushy, a La Trobe University Professor was forced to use an underground network to escape the student’s wrath.

Vice Chancellor, Professor John Dewar was ushered into a room by security staff during La Trobe’s annual Open Day when students protesting against proposed cuts confronted and reportedly hounded him into a building at the university’s Bundoora campus.

Student protestors and media take over the Bundoora campus Humanities and Social Sciences building

Since this time significant changes have been made to the proposal including a decline in the number subject and staff redundancies.

 As it stands La Trobe University are planning to cut 37 jobs by the end of this year along with the dismissal of 370 subjects.

La Trobe University Professor John Dewar released a statement  on the reviewed proposal late last month.

  “We may all wish it were otherwise, but we must recognise that traditional arts degrees are no longer sufficiently enticing nor relevant to school leavers and employers alike, and students have been voting, in effect, for a smaller humanities faculty with their feet.” He stated.

Morgan Cummings, a third year arts student at La Trobe University and student union representative believes the battle is far from over.  Morgan took the time to answer a few questions about the future of the movement.

With a final decision still looming on what will come from the tireless protests and student efforts, Occupy Latrobe have implored the university to enter into negotiations with the National Tertiary Education Union in good faith, to create a shift in focus from saving money to saving jobs and for a redistribution of executive pay to save other jobs at the university.

Grace Stevens, Madeleine Gray and Caitlyn Kelly pictured at the La Trobe Agora showing support for the No Cuts protest.

Madeleine Gray (pictured above), a third year International Relations student at La Trobe University  and active member of Stop Huss Cuts considers this to be a positive step forward in the ongoing movement but one that still has far to go in ensuring their beloved institution is maintained.

With negotiations still surging it will be some time before the impassioned students and staff of La Trobe University receives final word on the proposed cuts. For the students and faculty members this will be a fight not soon to slow down.

By Magnus Nygren Syversen
(Photos courtesy of Victor Ivanin and Stine Busch) 

About twenty young Europeans and Australians currently studying or working in Melbourne gathered at Bella Union on the corner of Lygon Street and Victoria Street this Sunday, joining a buzzing crowd to take part of the phenomenon that is Eurovision.

The yearly song competition began as far back as in 1956 and still gathers millions of Europeans in front of the television screens every year. This year the competition was held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Monash Exchange co-founder and organiser of the Eurovision event at Bella Union, Victor Ivanin.

Victor Ivanin, born and raised in Siberian Russia and currently residing in Bentleigh East, is a former post-graduate student at Monash University. Seeing an unfulfilled need at Monash for a student organisation that helped foreign students get in touch with young men and women in the same situation as themselves, Ivanin co-founded Monash Exchange (MEX), an unofficial organisation for foreign students at Monash University. However, through the use of social media such as Facebook the organisation stretches beyond just Monash students.

Having previously hosted several events in the previous year, it was through MEX Ivanin invited everyone to join him at Bella Union for a Eurovision extravaganza. Using Facebook as a medium to reach the masses, the event soon gained popularity, and while some appologetically declined around 20 students from countries such as Russia, France, Norway and Australian, amongst others, gathered at Bella Union to watch the Eurovision final. At the bar they were met by a larger crowd than perhaps expected.

“There must be over a hundred people here,” said Ida Waeraas, a Norwegian Deakin University graduate currently working in the CBD. Stine Busch, another Norwegian who graduated from Deakin University last year, argued that there must have been at least twice that amount, and Ivanin estimated the number of people was even more than that, suggesting a crowd of over 300. Whereas the exact number of people attending the event was difficult to determine, one thing is certain: Free seats were few and far between.

Ivanin was very happy with the turnout, and applauded the venue for its presentation of the song contest. “The night turned out surprisingly good, and the venue was absoutely jumping,” he said.

The two Norwegian girls also praised the athmosphere at Bella Union on Sunday night, poiting out that everyone in the audience seemed to have a great time and looked very engaged with the competition.

When it comes to the results Ivanin had a bit more to cheer for than Busch and Waeraas, with the Russian contribution “Party For Everybody” by Buranovskive Babushki, a group of old babushka-wearing grannies, coming in second place. Having handed out score sheets beforehand he could keep track of the points Russia gathered from its fellow European nations.

The audience watches as Norway’s contestant Tooji is voted last.

Unfortunately for the Norwegian girls this was not Norway’s night, with the nation’s hoepful artist Tooji finishing dead last with his song “Stay”. To add to the disappointment for the Norwegians, their arch-rival and neighbour Sweden took home the gold in this year’s competition. Swedish sweetheart Loreen was a favourite coming into the competition, and let nobody down with her “Euphoria”. Charming audiences across Europe the 28 year old took a comfortable win 113 points clear of Russia in second place.

Putting results aside Ivanin, Waeraas and Busch, as well as the rest of the MEX group, agreed this was a night they would all look back on with fondness.

An inside look into the issues students face finding a job in their field after graduating.  Students explain ways they find more experience to stand out to employers and get noticed.  Matt Duigan reports.

Deakin University Australia has unveiled its latest weapon to help students reach their full academic potential. Nick Renwick gets a hall pass to file this report.