I get confused easily. There is the organisation above (click the picture) and there are two other organisations as well. The above, it seems to me, is in no way analogous to a trade union. That second link offers a world-wide and historical perspective. When I was at Uni I did not avail myself of all the Union’s offerings, though I certainly used a lot of the discounts. I used also to have these fantasies, which I often indulged, of being in a Club, rather like the ones I had read about in things like Sherlock Holmes. I did not take up smoking a pipe or cigars or drinking port, but I came close. Indeed, I suspect the Sydney University Union was an imitation of The Oxford Union; even the architecture of the older Sydney University Union buildings seems to be in imitation — see pic, which is Oxford.
I really can’t see any alternative to some kind of levy to keep such facilities running at universities. I certainly used the ones at UTS when I studied there in 1998. By the way, I suspect I am a life member of the Sydney University Union, simply by dint of having been a member for a certain period. I even recall having the badge for it once, but that is long gone.
I can understand resenting the imposition of a few thousand dollars over the course of a degree. To an extent then I sympathise with The Rabbit on this; $500 a year is very significant to people in his position. On the other hand, I don’t really commend the tactic he embarked on, even if he is being a bit mischievous or tongue-in-cheek about that.
Perhaps whatever levy might come into being in the future should be less, with core services supported and a lesser slush fund for the various clubs and societies. On the other hand, those who have taken to the streets on the subject seem to me to be confusing trade unionism, which is under threat and which I support as a trade unionist, with something completely different.
Looking at the board members of the Sydney University Union, one sees quite a range, including Tim Suttie, who was at the World Youth Day in Cologne and is a big fan of the new Pope. He’s now a rising star in student politics it seems.
Teaching him English in Year 10 was interesting, to say the least. (WTF i got a @#%$! mark for english mine was easily the f******* best what is wrong with ffs i deserve 21 u t*******– 03/06/2001 7:40:02pm.) It really wasn’t very good, you know, that piece, but Tim always had potential as his input to class discussion often showed. Magic Mushroomz, he called himself on that guestbook! Very memorable. Good to see he is working hard now though. There were maybe three possible MMs by the way, but it most likely was Tim as he was the cleverest.
Check the old guest book back in 2001. The best examples were deleted, I’m afraid, before they hit cyberspace; still that was then. Good luck to him I guess. We did after all manage to avoid real trouble at the time.
And now I must go and have my root canal therapy finished.
I wonder if the Union at Sydney Uni still has a dental service? Never used it: maybe I should have. Hmm, it seems they don’t look after student teeth these days. Mind you, when you consider what dentistry was like in the early 1960s, it is probably as well I didn’t go to maybe some apprentice or retired tooth-merchant.
The nearest thing to a “union” is not the Union but the SRC, at $66 a year. Now that really is political. This, but not The Union, is affiliated with the highly political National Union of Students who are, I see, very supportive of Jeremy Heimans’s GetUp thing.