Adelaide Uni Postgraduate Officer Richard Matthews resigns from SRC

Words by Tom Haskell

The Adelaide University Postgraduate Officer, Richard Matthews, has resigned from the Student Representative Council citing an ‘untenable’ relationship with SRC President, Mark Pace.

Matthews announced his resignation online

In an email posted to his public Facebook page, Matthews refers to a perceived ‘bipolar interpretation of the [SRC] constitution’ by Pace. He goes on to say that the ‘SRC has no interest in supporting postgraduate students…[if they did it would be] to curry favour with the union movement or to upset their political rivals in the AUU’.

Pace and Matthews had an uneasy working relationship

A common recurrence at SRC meetings from Matthews was his argument that the SRC is more undergraduate focused and thus neglects the issues of postgraduate students. The composition of the SRC is almost entirely comprised of undergraduate students.

When talking to On Dit, SRC President, Mark Pace, had this to say:

The Student Representative Council acts as a voice on campus for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. While the SRC’s composition consists predominantly in undergraduates, it’s essential we take time and engage and work with postgraduates.
First, we will fill the casual vacancy of postgraduate officer quickly. I’ve been working with the General Secretary this morning on the matter, unfortunately Richard decided to leave the SRC at the busiest time of our year.
The SRC has also developed some strong relationships with several postgraduate students sitting on subcommittees of Academic Board. It’s through these committees that we engage with the university and ensure the quality and accessibility of postgraduate study at the university.

In his tenure as Postgraduate Officer, Matthews moved and passed a motion to pay a $6000 affiliation fee to the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA), an organisation of which he is a Central Officer.

His public post states that he plans “…to focus on the University of Adelaide Postgraduate Student Association and the challenges we face in building our association into an effective representative body for all postgraduate students at the University of Adelaide and its campuses.”

Matthews has also been elected twice to University Council as the Postgraduate representative, once unopposed and winning the most recent election in a three-way contest.

While Matthews and Pace did have an uneasy working relationship, Pace has left this comment to On Dit:

Whilst it is regrettable to see Richard go before O’Week, we thank him for his service as Postgraduate officer and his previous service as Disability Officer. We wish him the best in his future endeavours.

On Dit reached out to Matthews but he declined to comment.

Applications for Postgraduate Officer are now open. To apply, contact Mark Pace at srcpresident@auu.org.au.

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