Student Engagement Statement BLM

Student Engagement Statement – Let’s Not Be Silent

We have an invitation from the Uluru Statement From The Heart to:

walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”

later that night

I held an atlas in my lap

ran my fingers across the whole

world

and whispered

where does it hurt?

it answered

everywhere

everywhere

everywhere

(Warsan Shire – Somali-British writer, poet, editor and teacher)

Over the recent past we have all witnessed some remarkable levels of clarity and courage. Much of the focus has been directed at injustices and oppressions that have been tolerated for too long. The Me Too movement and the School Strike for Climate have spoken truth to power. These movements have helped people who might otherwise feel powerless - and who have for too long been told to remain silent - to find their voice. Now Black Lives Matter is addressing systemic racism. Millions of people all over the world recognise the despair, anger and pain that is currently finding its voice in many parts of our world.

This has particular resonance here in Australia. The Uluru statement speaks of “our crisis” and points to “the structural nature of our problem.” Our first people and their elders have for too long spoken of “the torment of our powerlessness.”

There is a movement emerging that upholds the hope of change towards correcting long standing and crippling abuses of power and privilege. We want to be a part of that movement.

In the spirit of the Western Sydney University Black Lives Matter Pledge (opens in a new window), the Student Engagement Team first seeks to recognise the despair, anger and pain that is currently finding its voice in many parts of our world including here in Australia. We put students, and their aspirations, at the heart of all we do. We are guided by three core principles:

  • Build and promote inclusivity,
  • Foster meaningful relationships
  • Empower students.

We do not wish to remain silent on the issues that Black Lives Matter has raised. Many have said that silence is oppressive at times like this. Our team seeks ways to stand up for each and every student and to align ourselves with the goal of justice for all. We wish to take responsibility for playing our part in creating the change that is vitally needed across the world. We want the future to be better. We think educational institutions have a central role to play.

To that end, we are here to support and empower our students. There are various types of support we can offer should you wish to deepen your understanding of the issues we are facing. We will support all who wish to have your voice heard or who are considering how best you might become involved in working for respect; dignity; justice and hope for all.

We, in Student Engagement, acknowledge that whilst we strive to live our principles of: inclusivity; meaningful relationships; and empowerment in our work we may not always get things right. We want our students to hold us accountable. We welcome feedback/suggestions on how we could more deeply embody these principles in our practice of engaging students at Western.  Tell us how we can improve, what we need to understand, what we are not getting right. We commit ourselves to taking responsibility and being active.

We want to be part of the change.
We want to offer hope in the face of such despair, pain and anger.
The time is now. There is no ‘them’; there is only ‘us’.

Some of the practical ways the Student Engagement Team can assist and empower students:

  • Ensure Acknowledgement of Country is used to begin events and training activities
  • Foster involvement in Student Representation and Governance
  • Provide support, training and funding to Student clubs
  • Assist with arranging events
  • Connect students with staff/subject matter experts in the University
  • Promote student action through staff/student channels that help by amplifying student messages – support students who wish to have their voices heard.
  • Support ways for individuals and groups to further educate themselves on major social issues.
  • Link students to well-being services
  • Support student access to training in equitable outcomes for everyone
  • Acknowledge the diversity of International students and provide links to student support
  • Provide links for International students to connect with community groups
  • Mentor students in leadership processes that embody accountability, vision and change
  • Foster a culture of kindness, inclusivity, fairness and transparency in our university community.
  • Create opportunities to strengthen our commitment to acknowledging first peoples, their heritage, their rights, their elders and their sacred places.
  • Encourage everyone to read the Uluru Statement From The Heart
Hanan Abu-SaifChun HoLenny Patel
Larissa BakerBrendan HoeyNap Andrei Samson
Renée BoucherDaniel JantosAmy Shao
Nicole BrackenregDjaleesa KickettMatthew Stansfield
Nick DionisopoulosEmily LiddellTalalelei Tutaia
Karen DouglasAlissa McIntoshLinda Thompson
Elizabeth DlugonRichard MartinoIrene Toro
Michelle GillardVerity McIntoshChristina Ueltzen
Monica HanchardJenny PageMarissa Waddington

Please contact us for any assistance.