Survey on SSAF open to abuse

Queensland Senator James McGrath has announced he will introduce a private member’s bill to have the SSAF fee made voluntary. He said much of the fee was wasted on exorbitant wages for university students, on pet projectsand on political campaigning.

A SYDNEY University survey on the $281 Student Services and Amenities Fee can be filled out by anyone and can completed more than once by the same person.

The survey asks student what services they value in the university and which ones they don’t. It was opened on Tuesday and finishes today.

Examples of the 19 SSAF issues students were quizzed on include whether they want food and drink provided on campus; care for the children of students; promoting the health or welfare of students; helping students obtain insurance against personal accidents; and supporting an artistic activity by students.

Participants of the survey nominate a box indicating their support for the measure, from “Definitely not important” to “Definitely important”.

Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association councillor Alex Dore said the survey was a farce because it had no restrictions on who can access it nor the amount of times they can submit.

Tyrone Carlin, deputy vice-chancellor at Sydney University said the survey was “only one aspect of the university’s consultation process” and “not be the sole determining factor in determining the prioritisation of 2015 SSAF funding decisions”.

“The university has in place processes to ensure the validity of the responses within an acceptable margin of error,” she said.

Mr Dore said the survey was a “symbolic gesture” that was trying to justify a “unethical student tax”.

“It’s also an admission that the current system doesn’t seem to be working and has no real purpose,” he said.

Queensland Senator James McGrath has announced he will introduce a private member’s bill to have the SSAF fee made voluntary. He said much of the fee was wasted on exorbitant wages for university students, on pet projectsand on political campaigning.

Sydney SRC president Jennifer Light was this year paid almost $43,000, while the head of the Sydney University Post-graduate Representative Association, Tim Scriven, collected about $52,000 this year.

Earlier this month The Australian revealed the Sydney University SRC voted to offerpay the legal fees of Freya Newman, a student from another university charged over computer hacking that led to student records about a $60,000 scholarship for Tony Abbott’s daughter being leaked to online magazine New Matilda.

You can read the article here.