A motion to dissolve all religious and political affiliated clubs on campus was met with overwhelming resistance from students at the Guild’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday.
The AGM was the first to be held in the last two years due to COVID restrictions, with over one hundred students and guild members filling out the gazebo set up at the Tav.
Attendees signed in and were provided with generous amounts of pizza, hot chippies, and a free drink token each.
The motion itself highlighted that all religious and political clubs receive funding essentially from students, but participated in activities that aren’t always in the best interest of students.
Therefore, the motion demanded that the Guild should “disaffiliate current and reject future clubs that undertake political or religious activities”.
Guild President Dylan Botica believes that if the motion had passed it would have meant the end of a lot of what clubs do and would have devastated the club scene at Curtin.
“Look, I can’t hide it, I’m very happy that motion failed. I’m someone that has been involved in clubs before that undertake political action”, he says.
Dylan was an active member of the Psychology Student Association in a past life and would help run campaigns for improving mental health and public services funding, which he argues are inherently political.
During the open debate, an argument was made that when political/activist and religious clubs interact with students on campus it could be seen as unwanted harassment.
Dylan believes the harassment argument and whether clubs should be able to undertake political or religious activities are completely separate issues.
“Whenever any harassment occurs on campus, we want it to be appropriately dealt with. Complaints should be raised with the Guild, and the guild will investigate them and make sure that any issues are fully addressed”, says Dylan.
President of the Curtin Christian Union David Strong says he came down to the AGM after he heard about the motion and how it could affect his community.
“It’s an odd one, it seems to me to be coming from a place that they’re worried about harassment from religious and political clubs”, he says.
David, who is studying a Master of Teaching, explains that sometimes the Curtin Christian Union will do walk ups and walk around campus and approach people aren’t doing anything if they want to have a chat, and if they don’t then that’s fine.
David understands there needs to be a level of care so that people aren’t allowed to just go around harassing people but believes there’s a way to express your views without crossing that line.
“I think that’s what our club always aims to offer. Yeah, we want to tell people about that we believe because we believe it’s really important. So, if you have something important to tell people why wouldn’t you tell them about it?”, asks David.
He says the amount of opposition to the motion is encouraging, and he specifically agreed with guild members who spoke in out against the motion during the debate, “It’s really important to defend the right of everyone to freely express their views”.
He says, “Uni is a really formative time, thinking about what’s important to us a people are actually really excited and interested to talk about why they believe and how that’s different to other people’s views”.
Overall, Dylan Botica says he’s happy with how the AGM went, “It’s great that we got enough people to actually convene the meeting, We needed 100, which is always a big number of people to come down. And it’s really a great opportunity to be able to hear from students about what they’re passionate about and what we can do better.
He says he saw a large amount of people from different clubs having conversations with other people explaining what they do, who they are, and why their clubs matter to students.