Prove your humanity

On Wednesday 10 May, the Curtin Student Guild held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Tav.

The purpose of the AGM is to provide an overview of the Guild’s financial statements and verbal reports, and discuss motions suggested by Curtin students to improve the overall quality of student life on campus. 

It was the first time in two years the Guild was able to hold their AGM due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The AGM required a minimum of 100 students to attend and in-person attendees were accommodated with free pizza, hot chips and a free beverage token. 

Additionally, the option to join the AGM online was offered by the Guild for the very first time, encouraging students from international campuses to also have their say on the suggested motions.

Image Credit: Andrew Williams

The AGM began with a quick rundown of the Guild’s achievements and losses throughout 2022 and 2023. 

Each report had a particular focus on supporting the recent NTEU strikes, the COVID-19 vaccination mandates — and supporting students and staff who continue to be affected by WA’s rising cost of living. 

The Guild also noted they experienced $150,000 in losses in 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions and they are expecting another loss this year due to JobKeeper payments falling away, and how students no longer spend as much money on campus like they used to.

After their financial statements and verbal reports were given, the Guild gave students an opportunity to ask them questions regarding the issues discussed in their reports.

Suggestions to spread more awareness about HECS indexation, the rising cost of living and other social issues were brought up by attendees.

In response, the Guild stated they are already doing what they can by holding petitions and spreading awareness via social media and radio about the various issues at hand, and that they’ll continue doing so.

Image Credit: Andrew Williams

The first motion of discussion was “7.1 Gluten Free Options on Campus”. This motion highlighted concerns that there is no consistency of gluten-free options, and a lack of hygiene resulting in instances of cross-contamination across Curtin University outlets. 

Implementing more gluten-free options and providing further training for hospitality staff was requested by the individual putting forward the motion. 

The Guild recognised that gluten-free options and staff training are inconsistent across the outlets and they agreed with pushing to provide staff with more training to tackle cross-contamination concerns. 

The majority of attendees voted “yes” for the proposed motion.

Guild President Dylan Botica later affirmed the Guild is keen to tackle the situation at hand, seeming happy that most of the attendees were in favour of this motion. 

“We’ve been in a really challenging commercial state for the last couple of years where the main focus has been trying to keep the outlets open, and making sure there is enough staff. [Because of these issues], we haven’t had the ability to improve in areas such as dietary restrictions,” Dylan says. 

“While going through [the issue] with the Head Chef, we’ve identified that we do actually have a large range of gluten-free options on campus. We just never properly label them or make students aware of what’s gluten-free and what isn’t. So, that will be the first thing for us to improve.” 

Image Credit: Andrew Williams

The last motion of discussion was “7.2 Keep Religion and Politics out of the Student Union”, and was unarguably a controversial one. 

This motion claimed clubs who practice religious activities and political activism are prone to harassing students on campus by walking up to them and advertising their club, and therefore should be banned.

There was also a concern that these clubs receive money from students via SSAF to undertake activities that are not always in the best interest of students. 

The individual proposing this motion was immediately met with disagreement from most of the attendees. 

The majority of attendees and executive Guild members voted “no” for the proposed motion, making a firm decision to not go through with it.

Dylan expressed his opinion about the motion’s failure after the AGM concluded. 

“Look, I can’t hide. I’m very happy that the motion failed. […] If that motion passed, and was kept by the Guild Council, it really would’ve been the end to a lot of what clubs do on campus,” he says.

Dylan also adds how harassment is a separate issue, and that clubs are a very low-priority area for where such incidents occur. 

“Whenever any harassment occurs on campus, we want it to be appropriately dealt with. Complaints should be raised with the Guild, and we’ll properly investigate them to make sure that any issues are fully addressed.”