On September 19, 2014, we launched the Postgraduate Representative Union, a full department of the Students' Association. We have a Council which meets regularly to shape the department and its relation to the Students' Association. The UTSSA Postgraduate Officer for 2014, Kate Alway, has been endorsed as the Convenor. Get in touch at facebook.com/utspru or firstname.lastname@example.org
Some major issues affecting postgraduate students at UTS include:
Childcare at UTS does not provide an Occasional service, which makes ducking into the library or dropping off an assignment difficult for many parents of young children. Many postgrads are in this situation.
Conference Grants for Doctoral Students
Attending and contribiting to international conferences is an essential part of most research degrees, however adequate funding can be difficult to access for students.
UTS prides itself on integrating internships into our study experiences, yet unpaid internships which gain no credit points lead to students losing their Centrelink benefits.
Some faculties don't have enough desk space to provide all research students with a space to work on campus.
Many postgraduate students have trouble accessing transport concessions. Part time students are ineligible for concessions, and assessing full time status is often confusing and unaccountable. While international students have recently won the right to concessions in NSW, their concession rate is still not the same as the one for local students.
Safety and Services on Campus
Most postgrads either have evening and weekend classes or work on campus at all hours. This has many implications for safety, both on campus and travelling, as well as access to support services and even food.
Most postgrads have responsibilites and complications in their lives. When money is short, the university should at least offer flexibility in completion times to allow us to manage both our lives and studies with minimum disruption.
Postgrads usually have less access than undergrads to the diversity of campus life and culture, for a wide variety of reasons such as fewer classes, more work or other life circumstances and responsibilities. International students are particularly susceptible to loneliness, disconnection and difficulty accessing the opportunities, social life and services available at UTS and beyond.
Every single one of these issues is possible to address - whether by advocacy, lobbying, activism or community building. None of us can get far alone, but together we can make UTS a better place for postgraduate students!
If you have something to say, if you want to let us know about another issue, if you would like to get involved in PRU or any other area of the Students’ Association - make sure you get in touch! You can find Kate at email@example.com, leave a message at the SA Front Office or join the facebook group at tinyurl.com/utspostgrad.