8 March 1999

UQ Academic Board opposes voluntary student unionism

The University of Queensland Academic Board has declared its opposition to Australian Government proposals to make student unionism voluntary.

The Academic Board today carried a motion endorsing the current central role of the student union in providing key services to students and also supporting the present funding arrangements requiring all students to pay a student services charge.

Academic Board President Professor Cindy Gallois said the motion, moved by student president Matthew Carter and seconded by Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hay, was carried without dissent.

Professor Gallois said debate at the Board highlighted the constructive long-term relationship between the Union and the University, and the success of the student union in providing effective representation for students in academic and other issues and in delivering a wide range of services.

She said the Australian Government's proposals to make student unionism voluntary appeared to be based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the role and activities of student organisations such as the Union and UQ Sport at the University of Queensland.

Their roles were quite unlike trade unions with which they apparently were mistaken.

She said that the two major student organisations at the University of Queensland, the Union and UQ Sport, provided very cost effectively - and with direct student involvement - wide-ranging services from educational advocacy to refectory and recreational facilities.

It was likely that attempts by the private sector or the University would be more expensive and less responsive to student needs than the current service run by students for students.

Professor Gallois said it was clear that the Union, the academic community and the University strongly supported the current arrangements.

A copy of the Academic Board resolution is attached.

Further information: Professor Gallois 07 33651320; Mr Carter 07 33772200.

1. This Board recognises that the University of Queensland Union (UQ Union) carries out an important role in the form of essential services and facilities provided for students.

2. The Board recognises that the UQ Union is an organisation which represents all students studying at the St Lucia and Ipswich campuses and other teaching locations such as the Graduate Medical School at Herston and the Dental School in Turbot St.

3. This Board asserts that the UQ Union is not comparable to other bodies normally known as a ?Union' and that the UQ Union is an integral part of the education, social and cultural life of students at the University of Queensland.

4. The Board acknowledges that the Union, by participating in the policy-making structures of the University, is able to provide direct student input into decisions that have helped it achieve its reputation as an institution of distinction.

5. This Board also confirms that the University's Student Service Charge (SSC) is an appropriate obligation of all students attending the University and that the charge be applied to both the activities of the UQ Union and UQ Sport.


The services provided by the UQ Union include student representation, education advocacy, welfare support, clubs and societies, child-care, an employment service, tenancy advice and legal advice, the campus refectories, the Schonell Cinema a second-hand book-shop and access to other retail providers.