New Vice-Chancellor faces near unanimous opposition from student representatives

Words by Stasi Kapetanos

As you may or may not have heard, On Dit are opposed to the appointment of our university’s new Vice-Chancellor Peter Høj and there are many others that feel the exact same way.

Statement by Activate (Young Labor Left on campus)

But not all condemnations are made equal. It is a bit weird that Socialist Alternative made no mention of Drew Pavlou, China, or the Confucius Institute at all. After all, they’re Trotskyists revolutionaries who’s idea of socialism is centred around global revolution and rejects semi-capitalist authoritarian states like the People’s Republic of China. I guess there’s always that one contrarian — now there’s a group of them.

One wonders if the next generation of Liberals will keep up their opposition to authoritarianism next time a leader gets overthrown in the global south for crony capitalist interests, a non-communist regime does similar things towards minorities that China does, or an authoritarian personality strongman attempts to destroy the remnants of democracy in the west. I hope that if China were white instead of red they would not be on the opposite side of this issue.

The Young Liberals once again proudly endorsing what is probably the greater evil during an election campaign.

These responses at least in and of themselves are still firm condemnations of this latest appointment bungle by our University Council and deserve credit for that. It’s sad to see that Progress (an apolitical student representative faction meant to primarily support international students and has a super majority on the Student Union’s Board) has taken one stance for themselves but allowed the Union they control take a completely opposing one, signed off by their factions heads.

It’s a real shame the role of student activism is being outsourced entirely to the Student Representative Council (SRC) who’s good work is being contradicted by the University Union under Progress. Doubtlessly because the SRC is largely (though not entirely) an activist taskforce to relieve the union of any need to take up struggle on behalf of students that doesn’t involve greasing palms behind closed doors.

Apolitical politics seems to have gone to far, this is the natural result of when representatives pretend to be above the fray of politics and act like we are all in this together with the suits at the top. Clearly the University Council and students interests cannot be reconciled via constant cooperation and capitulation.

Who knows whether Progress’ current leadership did this for the sake of absent minded cynical politicking or due to pressure/blackmail from dark hearted higher ups from the university executive or administration, but anyone who is not a complete sycophant would know that this is not only an issue worth fighting on but also a perfectly winnable fight too. If Drew Pavlou managed to chase this guy out of the University of Queensland, I think it’s fair to say that it’s simpy garbage to claim that Progress along with the combined forces of the Union, the SRC, and of course nearly all the students population could not at the very least do the same. At the very least they did not need to write a statement in support of the appointment — shame.

Finally, crazily enough, none other than University of Queensland student activist and representative, Drew Pavlou, himself is coming down to Adelaide, alongside controversial firebrand, North Queensland politician Bob Katter, to protest this move.

And Drew has also not been afraid to let Progress-controlled student Union Board know what he thinks of their move.

So in summary, Høj bad, political hacks gonna hack and there are still some half decent student representatives out there.

You can also read a speech by our university’s most prominent Uyghur activist Adila Yarmuhammad and a statement by the University of Adelaide Women’s Collective amplifying the voice of the founder of the organisation End Rape on Campus, specifically her concerns about the new Vice-Chancellor.

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Ivan Jankovic, Stasi Kapetanos, Isobel Moore, and Michelle Roylance. Get in touch: onditmag@gmail.com