PULP INTERVIEWS: Cady Brown
By Pulp Editors
We interviewed 8 of the 9 candidates in the running for USU board, asking them the same 7 questions about their thoughts on the USU and their reasons for running. We also asked a number of spicy political questions, as well as some relating to their policies. The full, un-edited transcript of each interview will be published over the next week in order of the ballot, so you’ll never be without juicy election content. Here’s Cady.
PM:Please state your name, degree, political faction (if any) and the year you’re in.
CB: My name is Cady Brown, I am studying a Bachelor of Political, Economical and Social Sciences, I am in my third year, and I am running as an independent in this election.
PM: Why do you want to run for board?
CB: Why do I want to run for board? I love the University of Sydney, I’ve always loved the University of Sydney, I was that kid in year 12 that put all their 10 preferences on UAC as every degree from Sydney. I have had the time of my life at university, and I want to make sure that every single student present and future has the same experiences that I had, and all of those experiences have been facilitated by programs through the USU and I want to make sure that, you know, there’s been some flaws that need to be fixed to make sure that every student has the optimal experience.
PM: Why do you think you’ll be a good board director?
CB: Why do I think I’ll be a good board director? I think I’ve been around the University long enough to see what problems there are, there have been, in different functions of the USU and different functions of the University and I’ve experienced a lot of good things about the University and the USU and different programs. I feel like I’m really well placed, to be around, especially the Clubs and Societies program enough, to realise that there is some fallacies in there that need to be fixed and I think that I am willing to work with these communities and really foster the needs of these communities in order to provide an optimal experience for everyone. I have been in a range of different things at university: I have struggled at university, and I have succeeded at university and I want to make sure that, you know those things that I struggled with are not going to be things that future students and present students struggle with, and I think I’m really well placed to serve the needs of that community through my experience of working closely with people and closely with clubs and societies to make sure that their needs are really being fostered in this community.
PM: What are your three most important policies?
CB: Definitely the Clubs and Societies funding, I disagree with the implementation of the reforms this year and I really want to make an attempt to kind of fix that. Definitely the sanitary products on campus, I’m really passionate about women’s issues and you know I think that is a really important policy that needs to be done most urgently. With the club funding, also I think that the clean up USyd is also a really good initiative and some steps that we need to take to you know, make USyd more environmentally friendly and sustainable and edge a bit closer to being a more green university.
PM: What would you say the most important function of the USU is, in student and campus life?
CB: I think the programs that the USU provides, especially through festivals and the Clubs and Societies program, are really what attracts people to the USU as an entity and understand what the USU is as a whole, along with services such as outlets on campus, I think are really important but I think that the university really fosters the student experience through the Clubs and Societies program and I think that’s probably the most important function of the USU.
PM: If you had to cut $1 million from the USU budget, where would you cut it from?
CB: I would reinvest that million dollars from maybe facilities to clubs and societies and programs such as festivals because those really bring in the students to the university and they really, like I said prior, really foster the experience of the student and I’d rather have more students come into the university and have an enjoyable university life and they can reinvest their life around the USU and what the USU has to offer, I’d rather have that than have a million cafes on campus.
PM: What are the worst failings of the current Board, and the things you’ve most admired?
CB: I look at the current USU Board as definitely mentorship, I have been around, I have friends that are Board Directors and I’ve seen what they’ve done in terms of how well they get along as a Board and how much of a team they work together and I think that’s really inspiring. I wouldn’t say there’s any failures of the USU Board except, I guess, which I’ll probably talk about later, the communication between the clubs and societies and the Board regarding the clubs and societies reforms, but I do understand that was not created solely by the Board. I understand that was a problem that went through a multitude of people and I wouldn’t blame the Board directly on that, but definitely communication and transparency I think is a bit of an issue with the USU at the moment, but in terms of the current Board I admire every single person that’s sitting on that Board and I think they’re really inspiring and it helps me with my journey that I’m taking to hopefully be like them if I get elected.
PM: Significant changes to the way the clubs and societies program is funded were announced in February of this year. Do you support the new model, which has resulted in a reduction in funding for individual clubs and societies? Why? If not, how would you propose funding be allocated?
CB: No I don’t agree with the reforms that the USU has put in place, I was actually at the meeting where that was announced on the first day of O-Week and I saw all these clubs and societies execs basically like break down. I feel like the economic model was designed to have a better long term gain, but I feel like in the interim it is affecting a lot of clubs and societies and the way they’re run, I know especially clubs such as SUA and SASS have been affected in the way they conduct events, and I know especially a lot of smaller societies which struggle to get more people to come to their events are really, really getting knocked around, so no I don’t support it. What I would change about the clubs and societies funding allocation: so the USU has made it adamant that they’re not going to change the funding model, of course we can liaison with the USU as a Board to try and suggest a alternate funding model that will decrease the amount of people needed to break even for an event, however if they’re so adamant about not changing it, what I would change is like I said before the communication between the clubs and societies and the Board and the USU. I was really disheartened to see the clubs and societies execs get really upset because the clubs and societies is what brings people to the USU and to see such a vibrant community get very disheartened by the USU and feel like they were really betrayed by the USU really broke my heart and I was really angered when I sat there and I saw all these people really really dissatisfied with the USU and that’s not what we want, we don’t want people fighting with the USU which is what I’ve seen all over social media which I don’t appreciate from the USU. I propose with my changes how there could be an economic remodel of the funding changes, that being reducing the amount of people needed to break even for the event, however I think if the USU being so adamant that we’re not going to change it as expressed in the recent forum, that the communication models need to change and that there needs to be an extended time period, not the first day of O-Week, with all these O-Week events saying “sorry you can’t have those”. That’s probably what I’d change most about the way that’s done, and I’ve seen different steps to change that now. I saw that our president Liliana Tai created a forum for these people to come and express their opinions, but I felt that should have been done 6 months ago, rather than when it blows up. That’s probably what I would change the most about that.
PM: The French Review into Freedom of Speech on University Campuses, sparked by a protest in 2018 at the University of Sydney, found that campus freedom of speech was not under threat. Do you agree with the findings and recommendations of the report?
CB: I think freedom of speech is really important on campus and I understand that especially the University of Sydney- its a very progressive campus and I understand that a lot of people are very strong about their views on certain things and it’s a very- it can be a very controversial climate. I find that I don’t feel like freedom of speech is completely, 100% true at this campus, I feel like there’s sometimes some people that disagree and get slandered for their opinions and although I mostly disagree with their opinions I still feel like they need the opportunity to voice them, but what I don’t agree with is if those opinions are hurting people, I really don’t like that and I don’t appreciate that, I feel like freedom of speech is a very contentious issue, I feel like if a person was to voice their opinion that wasn’t hateful and wasn’t targeted, it’s fine to disagree with people, I think that’s completely okay and I think that’s really natural, but if that person creates a climate or that group creates a climate that is hateful towards a lot of people and you know creates a lot of unrest then I don’t find that opinion welcome on campus. So yes and no.
PM: To what extent do you think the USU Board should engage with politics and student activism?
CB: So I’m always this person to come out and say that the USU shouldn’t be politicised and that’s why I’m running as an independent, but I feel like we are a very political campus whether we like it or not and there’s going to be things that come up that portray political responses and we’re lucky enough to have the SRC, which is a more activist board which has come out and usually been the forefront of different opinions and different stances on different controversial issues and different issues in general. I don’t feel like the USU is grown to be shaped more like a- I don’t want to say business, but it operates more like a business now. Although we’re gonna have a Board that is gonna have political interests on it I feel like the USU as a union needs to represent the majority of the students- every student. If we come out as a USU and say our opinion on a certain issue that people disagree with and they get upset with the USU, I feel like that’s not the place for the USU to do that, as seen last year during the Ramsay Centre I think that was an appropriate response to that. I feel like that’s the more- I would delegate more of that to the SRC, I feel like they’re the more of the activist organisation and I feel like that needs to be delegated more to them than the USU as a more company, business, corporation kind of side of it.
PM: In 2019 the University of Sydney contributed $1 million to the USU in order for it to provide free Union membership for all students in 2019. To what extent do you think the University should or should not be involved in the operations of the USU? Would you encourage more or less involvement, were you to be elected?
CB: So I think that that donation from the University was in order for access to be free on campus which I think is great, I think that access should be free for everyone and I feel like everyone should have equal opportunity to get involved in University life, I think that’s really important and I’m really thankful that the University has done that. I think there needs to be more liaison with the University, as expressed in some of my policies, there’s some things that the USU can’t do by themselves and I think that to have more cooperation with the university and work closer with the University to try and find the optimal needs for every single student, I think that will be great.
PM: Wentworth is being demolished in the next few years. Do you think it is practical to renovate the food court when the building will be demolished so soon?
CB: I think it is possible to have a temporary fixture, I think it wouldn’t be a waste of money to put more tables in or extend outside at the moment, stuff that can be placed back in when the Wentworth building is demolished, I wouldn’t go as far to say that renovating it will be a waste of money, if Wentworth is getting knocked down, I also see that they renovated Hermanns recently too, so I’m not sure if that comes under the demolishing or anything like that, but I feel like if they have the ability to do that in a short period of time then to renovate the food court, at least to provide more seating or something a little bit nicer would be good. Just to help that university experience a little bit more I think would be great.
Pulp Editor Madeline Ward is a current member of Grassroots and former SRC Women’s Officer.