Janus is the Roman god of time; of beginnings and endings, of gates and doors. He looks both forward and back: to what will be, and to what has been.
What is Nucleus now? It conveys information, ideas and opinion – a privileged role. We search, disclose, record, question, entertain, suggest, remember; and scrutinise power. We are founded on the UNESA principle of representing students ‘without fear or favour’ and on our own core principles of accountability, interconnectedness, culture, engagement and history.
We exist for students, for all students, and will do so until the death and demise of student culture, should that ever happen at UNE.
We have been forged in the past year – the long, brief, eternal year – by the variety and calibre of those who have dipped their toe into the pool and given it a go: all kinds, a full spectra of quality, with many facts and whatever opinion. The results have at times been eccentric, at times daring (and at times dull) – but from my perspective as editor not nearly eccentric or daring enough. Of anywhere in a university, the student newspaper is a place to do and be those things; to raise the challenge to your fellow university students to think as they have not thought before.
And if there is one thing this issue wants to do, it is for you to make a crack in the veneer of how you usually think. You should ask questions. In challenging your first response, you gain a deeper insight, whether it be in affirmation or in contradiction of the original. See what you think: then take that, break it apart, and look again more deeply.
In James Arvanitakis’s interview, we note that the environment in which you surround yourself determines to a great extent the person that you are. There are many of us who need to question what environment we are in, who determines it, and whether their actions, and ours, are the appropriate ones. We may be adjusted to a particular culture – a boardroom? a group of radical thinkers? a position that is overridden by attitude rather than authority? We may feel comfortable doing what we are doing, but often this is just the surface, and a sense of comfort too often arises from the satisfaction of narcissism. So take a step back and challenge your comfort.
Katy Carlan is one of the people who noticed Nucleus and simply got involved; she has written wonderfully several times from where she works and studies in Kenya. Her insightful comments on communication and the elasticity of language in this issue have been put into play at UNE, it seems, by Professor Eddie Blass; indicative of a wider yet subtle movement to corporate language in what is first and foremost, surely, an academic environment.
I’d also like to draw attention to Boko Moko Tesch Haram (page 19). This article is here because when I read it, it shook something deep down in the way that I think. It is here because ultimately, you can go through your life believing that you see the world the right way.
It is no great secret, yet needs to be said, that it is the responsibility of universities to vigorously challenge that assumption.
In The Australian (9/12/13) our Vice-Chancellor said that “The absolute minimum service that a student requires is assessment, end of story. When you think about it, what we sell is credentials – everything else is ancillary.”
The article went on to say, ‘Not only the familiar amenities, such as student clubs, but also academic services such as tutorials could be “unbundled” so that students paid only for what they wanted, [Jim Barber] said. And he asked why the growing number of students who could master the content without coming to lectures should have to pay for capital investment in lecture halls.’
In this issue we have an article on the multi-million dollar Integrated Agricultural Education Project, a monumental investment representing building for the long term; infrastructure and serious provision of facilities in one of UNE’s core strengths. As is the New College; as is, to some extent, the Parramatta Campus in Western Sydney.
The trend to an online university has been cited and championed ceaselessly by the Vice-Chancellor.
But what are the consequences when the model for monetising Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is extended to tutorials, to lecture halls and the like?
It is surely this ideology that leads to the incentives behind Eddie Blass’s document: a move away from expensive physical exams towards online marking, online interaction, digital assessment, digital minds. Eddie Blass is following a particular kind of worship.
Perhaps one face speaks of pedagogical motivations; but another speaks of the motivations of the markets.
And should we as students not question this? But do students know what is best for the University? Is it not the role of academics to assess academic matters; Council to assess the direction the University should go in; Vice-Chancellors to implement that; students to think and sit and talk and learn and be and question?
What happens if the vision of one person is out of keeping with the core of the University?
There are some very serious questions that need to be asked and clarified regarding the decision not to charge SSAF of external students. If the services provided to externals from SSAF are to continue, will they be funded from the University itself? There have been some indications that this is the case. But if so, how is this justified if internal students are still paying it themselves?
And will the students’ association, barely four months old, really be made to “take a haircut”?
It has been a momentous year. A year of ups and downs; extreme highs and very extreme lows. From nonexistence and inexperience, to a struggle through a lack of recognition, and on at last to the milestones by which our contributors, our content, our readership and our lovely new editors are all indicative. Many, many thanks to Bridgette and Alana for their help and work with this edition. The ship is still being built, but not without direction – I personally have always been cheered on by the undeniable, unquenchable and unholy vision and spirit inherent in the student paper.
And so very much has been learnt. I feel as Mrs Dalloway felt: very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. I think the same could be said of Nucleus itself.
The vision, though, did not begin with myself & Stu. For wisdom, for advice and for simply being there when I needed someone – Josh, David and Alex, I love you all. I cannot thank you enough, at least not here… I have limited space, I’ve already had to add an extra four pages, and the deadline was a week and a half ago!