On the 10th of March 2017 (Friday), the members of the Monash University Student Association (MUSA) sat down for its second ever student council meeting that was held at the MUSA office in the MUSA Sports Building. It was also attended by several subcommittee members and students. The Monash Student Council meeting kicked off at 6.15 p.m. with the President, Janesh Nathan addressing the student council on certain issues, some of which revolved around the internal politics within MUSA itself. Janesh had called on members to be more interactive and to open up should they have any sort of problem that they need to deal with with each other. Janesh emphasised that in order to enhance the quality of the council’s working culture so that they could serve the students better, it was imperative that members speak up to him or to each other should they have any disagreements and to engage in productive discussions to prevent any form of dispute that may reflect on MUSA’s inability to provide and cater to the students. He then opened the floor to any member who had anything to express, and some did.
Zuhayr Wazir expressed his opinions on how MUSA should definitely resolve its internal politics if they would ever want to be of a better help to students. This is because as of today, students generally still do believe that the student body this year is doing the same old thing as the ones in the previous years with nothing new to offer hence MUSA should definitely step up their effort if they ever want to be of a greater assistance to the students. Raja Nahar also brought up the fact that students often notice the things that MUSA does not do but fail to realise the things that MUSA has done. It is up to MUSA on how they can change that, and this would include an increase in publicity in order to ensure that the general student population in Monash get to see what MUSA does and what it plans to do in the long run. This is because there seems to be never-ending expressions of dissatisfaction from students, mainly through the confessions page who constantly claim that MUSA does nothing to enhance their student experience on campus. Following up to this statement, Janesh suggested a MUSA forum in the upcoming weeks for students to engage with the student council and should they have anything to ask or to express, they could do so on this platform.
Hannah Reshma and Jasmine Gomez then took the floor to speak about how successful the International Women’s Day event was, expressing their heartfelt gratitude to several MUSA members that showed up to set up the booth and these included the President, the Vice President, the School of Arts and Social Sciences representatives, the School of Science representatives and the General Secretary. It was a campaign that was organised by the Wom*n’s Officers to bring the issue of domestic violence into light and while there was a good reception among students, they did convey their disappointment in most of the MUSA members for the lack of support which was shown throughout the event. They believed that it was not justified how certain members said that they didn’t know the event was taking place in the first place despite the posts they have shared on Facebook and the official Whatsapp group. To quote Hannah, “it was not the lack of support we are sad about, it was the lack of respect for us” that was shown by some of the people they’re supposed to work with in the next one year.
The issue on the availability of food at MUSA meetings was also brought up with some members agreeing that there should be more heavy food while some believed that it was not entirely necessary to have anything at all. The prolonged discussion of this issue tipped off a few members who felt that it was not an important topic to discuss to begin with.
Finally, before ending his session, the President did propose to run a motion for all MUSA members on the endorsement of self-appreciation, an effort he believes is important to bring about a sense of responsibility in each and every member so that everyone can improvise on their working culture. The motion was ran and it passed.
The Vice-president, Vandana Ratnani then stood up to speak about subsidies, one of which was an agreement that was handed over by the previous council in regards to the ChemE engineering competition where they would be providing them with a subsidy amounting to 80%. Priyanka Subramaniam, the General Secretary then spoke about requisition of stationeries and the need for a printing cap for all departments. Since there would be no roll-overs in the printing credit from previous months, certain departments were not happy with the amount they have been capped with, with some saying that it would be insufficient especially during big events where a lot of posters would need to be printed out. However, it has been stated that this credit can be distributed and shared among departments so if there’s a need to, they could always do so. She also reminded students of an upcoming Annual General Meeting which will be held on the 14th of April 2017.
The Monash University International Student Services’ (MUISS) President, S Mohsin Ali spoke about the KL Tour which was a success although students did bring up that there could be improvisations in the schedule in the future. The was also a bit of rain during the outing which was not very nice, apparently. He also thanked the Editors for their efficiency in providing photographers despite a last minute request for the event.
Finally, the Publicity Officers took the floor to speak about the Mingle Night event which was also a success with a good turnout of students, a mix of both seniors and juniors. However there were some issues that they had to deal with – mainly the rain scare and the fact that a fair number of students were unable to attend the event because of the TITAS class that was held at the same time. The officers also apologised for not providing vegetarian food during the event, which was an honest mistake on their side and they vow to change that in the future.
The MUSA meeting this time around seemed a bit more interactive, with more members voicing out their thoughts and opinions and as a council that is supposed to be a working example of what it means to be united to the students who depend on them as their voice, it is incredibly important that they start working towards more collaborations, initiating more discussions and accepting each and every member as a part of their family in the long run.
Minutes will be uploaded the moment we receive it from the General Secretary, do check back later if you’re interested!
Words by Calvin Fernandez
Captions by Andrew Peter Lim
Photos by Terence Kong