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Student protests at ANU

By 21 May 2014 26

Scuffles broke out at the ANU today as protesters tried to force their way into the chancellery.

Today’s national day of action against Government plans to deregulate university fees saw protests in CBDs across the country.

Students are protesting changes to the higher education sector, including deregulation of fees and an increase in the interest rate on student loans, along with the income threshold to pay back fees.

The National Union of Students (NUS) says it wants proper public investment in universities rather than the buck being passed on to students.

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26 Responses to Student protests at ANU
#1
MrPC7:49 pm, 21 May 14

I heard some argumentative talkback host on 666 grill some student and then misrepresent what he said, while driving home tonight.

All I could think was “heavens to be, some university executive doesn’t want to have to talk to the occasional angry student!”. Maybe those university executives that can’t bear to deal with students should quit and find employment in a sector where the affairs of students are not their concern.

#2
bd848:07 pm, 21 May 14

What do we want? We don’t know! When do we want it? Sometime!

Glad they got out of bed to protest at 3pm. Must have been such an effort.

#3
milkman8:32 pm, 21 May 14

Students love to protest, because it’s exciting and gives them an excuse to do no work. It was the same when I was at uni.

#4
Kim F9:12 pm, 21 May 14

Adam Shirley? The reason I don’t listen to Drive anymore. Count how many times he says Adam Shirley” in an hour. Very superficial and buckets of fake sincerity.

#5
banco10:09 pm, 21 May 14

MrPC said :

I heard some argumentative talkback host on 666 grill some student and then misrepresent what he said, while driving home tonight.

The student kept dodging the question.

#6
dkNigs11:03 pm, 21 May 14

Always good to hear those who got a free education want to make it more expensive and difficult to get a university education.

#7
Roundhead8912:48 am, 22 May 14

When I was at UC (CCAE) in the 1980s people used to say not to organise a protest between 12noon and 1:30 because that was when Ray Martin’s show was on TV.

#8
Walker1:07 am, 22 May 14

banco said :

MrPC said :

I heard some argumentative talkback host on 666 grill some student and then misrepresent what he said, while driving home tonight.

The student kept dodging the question.

Perhaps there’s a future in politics?

#9
VYBerlinaV8_is_back9:35 am, 22 May 14

MrPC said :

I heard some argumentative talkback host on 666 grill some student and then misrepresent what he said, while driving home tonight.

You don’t see too many people (especially students) whinging when that happens to a politician…

#10
Holden Caulfield10:37 am, 22 May 14

Kim F said :

Adam Shirley? The reason I don’t listen to Drive anymore. Count how many times he says Adam Shirley” in an hour. Very superficial and buckets of fake sincerity.

He’s a paragon of sincerity next to the sickly sweet Genevieve *deep breath* Jacobs. Other than that I tend to agree with you.

#11
urchin7:20 pm, 24 May 14

milkman said :

Students love to protest, because it’s exciting and gives them an excuse to do no work. It was the same when I was at uni.

yeah that must be it. not because deregulation and HECS interest hikes are likely to double or triple the cost of a university education, making it difficult for people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to study at the best university they are capable of getting into. that couldn’t possibly be the reason for the protest.

why australia is trying to go the way of the US for universities is beyond me. universal, free healthcare and affordable university education for all were two of the best things australia had going for it–so much for both of those now. abbott says he wants to stimulate competition but that’s bulls%$t. he just wants to cut funding.

The current system, where universities have to compete on quality rather than price sees real competition. Students will pick their study destination on factors not related to cost. Bright students will go to the best university they can get into. Deregulate tuition fees and students will have to weigh the quality of the education against the price, with the result that poorer students will settle for cheaper universities instead of going to the best university they are capable of getting into.

Welcome to reality, you might say. sure. but how is this a good thing for australia in the long term? increasing income disparity is not a good way to build a stable and just society.

finally, nobody seems to care about the position of permanent residents. there are currently around 130,000 permanent residents in formal study programs across australia (around 2500 in the ACT). they pay taxes like everyone else (probably more than most) and, while they qualify for domestic tuition rates, they do not qualify for HECS-HELP. So they are looking at a doubled-trebled tuition bill which they have to pay up front.

#12
milkman9:39 pm, 24 May 14

What about the new scholarship program mentioned in the budget speech, that 20% of all new fees go to supporting lower SES student scholarships?

#13
urchin9:50 pm, 24 May 14

milkman said :

What about the new scholarship program mentioned in the budget speech, that 20% of all new fees go to supporting lower SES student scholarships?

yes, it is remarkably kind and generous of them to devote 1 out of 5 dollars to partial scholarships when they double/triple fees.

the universities wouldn’t be clamouring for this if they didn’t think they were going to make money hand over fist.

Ian Young has been saying it will result in a better undergraduate experience, smaller classrooms etc.. However, given the fact that he is cutting small enrolment classes as he says this, it is a bit difficult to believe he is sincerely committed.

I understand the notion that people want “elite” universities, but wouldn’t it be better for society as a whole to have a university system designed to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible?

#14
milkman8:49 am, 25 May 14

urchin said :

I understand the notion that people want “elite” universities, but wouldn’t it be better for society as a whole to have a university system designed to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support the concept of elite universities, I’m just trying to get some more of the facts out on the table.

I like the current arrangement, but we have to be aware that it comes at a cost: we will never have the best universities in the world, and indeed are probably sliding compared to international competition.

#15
Masquara9:27 am, 25 May 14

Having experienced the dregs that constitute CCAE/UCI think allowing universities to compete – which would require UC to lift its game – is a good idea. I’d rather be indebted and have a Melbourne University qualification, than a PayLess qually from UC, where standards are totally subjugated to a directive to pass foreign students.

#16
switch9:41 am, 25 May 14

milkman said :

I like the current arrangement, but we have to be aware that it comes at a cost: we will never have the best universities in the world, and indeed are probably sliding compared to international competition.

Is having “the best” universities in the world in Australia’s interest? There are few job opportunities here for the most brilliant graduates (note I didn’t say “no opportunities,” just precious few, far fewer than the number of graduates produced). So most of the output from these “best unis” would be going overseas, as they do now to find satisfying jobs. This may raise our standing internationally, but it is a poor investment choice for this country. Or lets be honest, the best unis are really just cash cows, and they’ll only get worse than they are atm.

#17
Maya12310:17 am, 25 May 14

urchin said :

milkman said :

What about the new scholarship program mentioned in the budget speech, that 20% of all new fees go to supporting lower SES student scholarships?

yes, it is remarkably kind and generous of them to devote 1 out of 5 dollars to partial scholarships when they double/triple fees.

the universities wouldn’t be clamouring for this if they didn’t think they were going to make money hand over fist.

Ian Young has been saying it will result in a better undergraduate experience, smaller classrooms etc.. However, given the fact that he is cutting small enrolment classes as he says this, it is a bit difficult to believe he is sincerely committed.

I understand the notion that people want “elite” universities, but wouldn’t it be better for society as a whole to have a university system designed to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible?

And who will do the plumbing etc. Why do so many people need to attend university? The best students should go and possibly be paid to go, and background here is irrelevant. They would go onto being the scientists, doctors, etc. Many other can get a trade, etc. University should not be regarded as a continuation of high school/college. “but wouldn’t it be better for society as a whole to have a university system designed to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible?” gives the impression of just this. Jobs now demand university qualifications, that in the past functioned well without them. They had in-house training relevant to the job. (I wonder if this meant the job was done better, as the training was very directed?) As more people attend university; people who perhaps would be better doing a trade, etc, it pushes the quality of the education down “to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible”. Qualifications from some universities are better regarded then from others, and this is not for snobbery reasons, but for the standard of student that they attract.
By the way, many tradespeople can earn more money than those with a degree. And there is nothing wrong with educating yourself further, but universities should not be there “to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible”, but those who will best benefit society by a university education.

#18
milkman5:40 pm, 25 May 14

switch said :

milkman said :

I like the current arrangement, but we have to be aware that it comes at a cost: we will never have the best universities in the world, and indeed are probably sliding compared to international competition.

Is having “the best” universities in the world in Australia’s interest? There are few job opportunities here for the most brilliant graduates (note I didn’t say “no opportunities,” just precious few, far fewer than the number of graduates produced). So most of the output from these “best unis” would be going overseas, as they do now to find satisfying jobs. This may raise our standing internationally, but it is a poor investment choice for this country. Or lets be honest, the best unis are really just cash cows, and they’ll only get worse than they are atm.

Well this is exactly the question that has to be answered. Do we want to support the best at the expense of the majority, or the majority at the expense of the best?

#19
milkman5:43 pm, 25 May 14

Masquara said :

Having experienced the dregs that constitute CCAE/UCI think allowing universities to compete – which would require UC to lift its game – is a good idea. I’d rather be indebted and have a Melbourne University qualification, than a PayLess qually from UC, where standards are totally subjugated to a directive to pass foreign students.

Grads generally aren’t particularly useful. Where they obtained their undergrad degree makes little difference in my experience (as someone who interviews and hires).

#20
urchin11:22 pm, 25 May 14

Masquara said :

Having experienced the dregs that constitute CCAE/UCI think allowing universities to compete – which would require UC to lift its game – is a good idea. I’d rather be indebted and have a Melbourne University qualification, than a PayLess qually from UC, where standards are totally subjugated to a directive to pass foreign students.

erm… why do you think that universities do not compete? if you were capable of getting into Melb U. why would you choose to go to UC? They cost the same. Now fast-forward 5 years and you are smart enough to get into Melb U but if you do you’ll be 100k in debt after graduation whereas if you go to UC you can probably get a scholarship and come out with no debt.

When you offer two products at the same price, people will choose the better product. When you offer two products for two vastly different prices, people without a lot of money will settle for the cheaper one.

#21
urchin11:35 pm, 25 May 14

Maya123 said :

urchin said :

milkman said :

What about the new scholarship program mentioned in the budget speech, that 20% of all new fees go to supporting lower SES student scholarships?

yes, it is remarkably kind and generous of them to devote 1 out of 5 dollars to partial scholarships when they double/triple fees.

the universities wouldn’t be clamouring for this if they didn’t think they were going to make money hand over fist.

Ian Young has been saying it will result in a better undergraduate experience, smaller classrooms etc.. However, given the fact that he is cutting small enrolment classes as he says this, it is a bit difficult to believe he is sincerely committed.

I understand the notion that people want “elite” universities, but wouldn’t it be better for society as a whole to have a university system designed to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible?

And who will do the plumbing etc. Why do so many people need to attend university? The best students should go and possibly be paid to go, and background here is irrelevant. They would go onto being the scientists, doctors, etc. Many other can get a trade, etc. University should not be regarded as a continuation of high school/college. “but wouldn’t it be better for society as a whole to have a university system designed to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible?” gives the impression of just this. Jobs now demand university qualifications, that in the past functioned well without them. They had in-house training relevant to the job. (I wonder if this meant the job was done better, as the training was very directed?) As more people attend university; people who perhaps would be better doing a trade, etc, it pushes the quality of the education down “to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible”. Qualifications from some universities are better regarded then from others, and this is not for snobbery reasons, but for the standard of student that they attract.
By the way, many tradespeople can earn more money than those with a degree. And there is nothing wrong with educating yourself further, but universities should not be there “to cater to the broadest spectrum of society as possible”, but those who will best benefit society by a university education.

i am not suggesting that university should be made compulsory to everyone, only that everyone should continue to have the exceptional degree of access that they currently have. if we have to choose between the (futile) attempt of creating an australian harvard or keeping the kind of near-universal access to university that we currently have, i think the choice is obvious. people who can and want to go to harvard can go to harvard. the other 99.8% of the undergraduate population can continue to go Australian universities.

The days of universities being limited to top scientists and doctors is long since past. Who will train our teachers? Who will train company employees and, dare I say, public servants? It is generally accepted that a well-educated populace is a good thing. Manufacturing jobs in Australia are going the way of the thylacine. To improve productivity and increase competitiveness, we should be looking to raise the bar for all–not just the elite.

Abbott’s notion of deregulation goes in the opposite direction. nor is it simply a matter of reserving the best universities for the best students, it is reserving the best universities for wealthier students.

the idea that raising student fees will somehow transform australian universities into international powerhouses is laughable. roughly 1/3rd of university funding comes from undergraduate fees, with 1/2 being paid for by the commonwealth and half from the students (the percentages may vary a bit depending on the field). increasing that one piece of the pie–the bit that students pay–from 1/6th to 1/3rd while simultaneously decreasing the amount of commonwealth support means that the overall increase in university revenue will not change all that much. only change is that more of it will be shifted onto the shoulders of students.

#22
VYBerlinaV8_is_back8:16 am, 26 May 14

milkman said :

Masquara said :

Having experienced the dregs that constitute CCAE/UCI think allowing universities to compete – which would require UC to lift its game – is a good idea. I’d rather be indebted and have a Melbourne University qualification, than a PayLess qually from UC, where standards are totally subjugated to a directive to pass foreign students.

Grads generally aren’t particularly useful. Where they obtained their undergrad degree makes little difference in my experience (as someone who interviews and hires).

+1. Occasionally you get a good one, but it’s nothing to do with where they studied.

#23
pink little birdie1:44 pm, 26 May 14

Last night I was at ANU.
On my way in there was an entire notice board with ANU Liberals club notice it said “If you think the socialist students should get back to class join the ANU Liberals”
on the way out 3 hours later they had all been ripped down.
I found the posters shocking and their removal hilarious.

#24
pink little birdie1:57 pm, 26 May 14

I support the HECS system for TAFE.
I don’t support deregulation of fees. Surely a much better way of raising quality is to give students actual career councilling on a consistant basis from year 8. Encouraging people to only go to uni if they really want.
Discussions about what jobs need a university degree as opposed to a tafe qualification or on the job training.

A lot of change may be required by it will generally have to start in schools at 14/15 and in the home with parents stop expecting their kids to get a degree.

I’m also a fan of bringing back the training accord that went out under the Howard government.

#25
Masquara6:37 pm, 26 May 14

milkman said :

Masquara said :

Having experienced the dregs that constitute CCAE/UCI think allowing universities to compete – which would require UC to lift its game – is a good idea. I’d rather be indebted and have a Melbourne University qualification, than a PayLess qually from UC, where standards are totally subjugated to a directive to pass foreign students.

Grads generally aren’t particularly useful. Where they obtained their undergrad degree makes little difference in my experience (as someone who interviews and hires).

I’m sure that if you’re hiring in a polytechnic type field, grads from UC would be fine.

#26
milkman8:17 pm, 26 May 14

Masquara said :

milkman said :

Masquara said :

Having experienced the dregs that constitute CCAE/UCI think allowing universities to compete – which would require UC to lift its game – is a good idea. I’d rather be indebted and have a Melbourne University qualification, than a PayLess qually from UC, where standards are totally subjugated to a directive to pass foreign students.

Grads generally aren’t particularly useful. Where they obtained their undergrad degree makes little difference in my experience (as someone who interviews and hires).

I’m sure that if you’re hiring in a polytechnic type field, grads from UC would be fine.

It really doesn’t make a difference. Where grads did generalist arts degrees the writing skills of those at a ‘better’ uni might be a bit more developed (although Gen Y’s writing skills usually suck), but other than this there’s bugger all difference. Far better to pick up on their work experience (regardless of what it is), and ask them a few curly questions to see how they react to a bit of social pressure. The good ones tend to respond well to a bit of stress and have work experience, even if it’s just McDonalds.

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