Campus Safety Debate: Guild Disagreements and Confusion
By Sean Ayres
Guild Council meeting descends into argument over security policy, with allegations of Executive taking credit was contrasted by reported failure of communication by other councilors.
With the recent security issues in the Murdoch Village and University car parks, it came as a relief to many when the Guild announced its new security policy being pushed to the University for an increase in lighting and CCTV on campus. Hopes were that attacks on people and car windows, as well as Village home intrusions, would become a thing of the past. At the September Guild Council meeting however, tensions within the Guild were made public, with disagreement on how the announcement was made.
The Guild Disability Representative put a motion on the Monday meeting asking that no specific credit be given to individual members of Guild Council from the Murdoch Guild Facebook page. In her explanation of the motion she referenced the security announcement by the Guild crediting only the Guild executive for the development of the plan and the progress made in bringing it before the University. On the map that the Guild Facebook page shared, there was a large watermark with emblazoned writing reading “Guild Executive”.
In the debate councillors that were members of the Equity Committee reported frustrations that their meetings all year had been working on a comprehensive security campaign and Women’s Representative Yakira Venagiam reported that she had been working hard on the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Committee to improve security on campus.
The Executive stated they were happy to support the motion and had not intended to take credit for the work of other councillors. The Education Vice President Jethro Schoeman pointed out that at no stage had any plan for security been given to the Executive or to Guild Council and that the Women’s Representative had never even reported that she was even a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Committee.
The motion on individual credit not being given on Facebook posts passed a vote, but not after passionate debate on the topic as councillors aired their frustrations.
The heated discussion didn’t stop there as the Guild Budget saga drew to a close with the 2018 Budget being affirmed by the council. Councillors again aired their frustration at receiving the budget late into the year and not having a chance to affirm it until now, without having had a chance to request changes to spending.