God save the Queens, because nothing will save the AUU
Words by Louis Guglietti
“We value, embrace and promote diversity”
This is a direct quote from the Adelaide University Union website’s section on vision and values.
When I pay my membership fees to the AUU, I expect them to advocate and fight with these values in mind. Advocating for students and looking out for our welfare is after all one of their key responsibilities — or so they love to say.
Yet, despite overwhelming support from the student body, five AUU Board Directors controversially shot down two motions designed for the AUU to support same-sex marriage.
The actions of these five individuals, including AUU Board President Brodie Scott, run undeniably counter to the values, stated purposes, and objectives of the Union. These directors are not at liberty to cherry-pick what students they support and when. AUU support for marriage equality is not a special privilege. It is your right, as it is mine. It is our right, as a queer identifying student, or not. It is our right as a member of the university community. It is our right as a Union member.
Make no mistake: their failure to serve and represent the students, as they were elected to do, is beyond inadequate; it is outright disgraceful.
The decision to place two feet squarely on the wrong side of history is nothing new here. In fact I believe it is a symptom of a wider and far more sinister trend here at the University.
The Adelaide University Liberal Club, of which two of the rogue board directors are affiliated with (I presume the other three just do as they’re told), has been embroiled in more scandals recently than you could poke a stick at.
Why, just this morning I had my ticket to the prestigious, $105 per-person “AULC 70th Anniversary Gala Ball” revoked. According to AULC President, Leighton Stuart, this was done on the basis that I am ‘hardly a Liberal’.
This has me wondering, what does it really mean to be a Young Liberal at this campus?
If their recent actions are anything to go by, I think I have some idea.
So AULC President, must I verbally abuse a political opponent in the men’s bathrooms at the Unibar as one of your executive members recently did? Must I maliciously throw around racist and homophobic slurs? Do I have to harass and belittle my own members until they find such behaviour acceptable?
Or, Mr. President, is it enough for me to threaten to resign from the AULC should this person face the consequences of their actions — just as another of your executive members did.
How many of your members must resign in disgust of the club before you finally step up to the plate?
It is clear that there exists a certain culture within the Liberal Club. The actions of these individuals, and the club, are as much a testament to the character of these individuals as it is to this culture.
Even as 22 of the clubs overseen by the AUU come out in support of marriage equality, that doesn’t seem to matter. Because, it seems, the stance of only one club appears to matter to the AUU — the Adelaide University Liberal Club.
Unlike the AULC I’m proud to say that when faced with adversity the queer community does not sit idly by. We do not twiddle our thumbs when asked to act, nor do we bury our heads when we should be facing responsibility. When one of ours is attacked with homophobic slurs, we all stand united behind them. When our AUU wrongs us, we are emboldened.
While you are busy carefully curating your outfit tomorrow, Mr. President, we will be marching and rallying on the steps of Parliament House in support of marriage equality.
So Mr. President, thank you for the biggest compliment one could ever pay. You are correct, I am “hardly a Liberal”, and of this I am proud.
Editors note: This article was written on the 15th of September: one day before the “Yes to Marriage Equality” rally and one day before the Adelaide University Liberal Club 70th Anniversary Gala Ball.
Louis Guglietti is the current Queer Officer for the Adelaide University Student Representative Council