When you try your best and you don’t succeed (in avoiding UNSW elections)
Election season is upon us again. Expect to see the same group of political hacks, law students, debaters, United Nations fanatics, and a few genuinely earnest types taking over your Facebook newsfeed and postering every exposed inch of concrete on campus. This week’s Shortlist is election-themed. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. It’s going to be a thoroughly average couple of weeks.
Arc Bored elections
How much do the 17 people running for Arc Board love the glorious, life-giving entity that is Arc? A lot, apparently. More than the next person, almost definitely. Somewhat disingenuously, most probably.
This year’s harvest has drawn 17 nominators out of the woodwork for three Board director positions, one of which must be filled by a postgraduate student. Tharunka understands the relative lack of female nominations was discussed at the Arc Board’s March meeting, after the Board chose to encourage female nominations through a marketing strategy as opposed to an affirmative action policy, yielding only six women-identifying nominators.
Among the nominations are the usual suspects in the form of campus politically-aligned figures, namely Josh Beale (Greens), Anna Fowler (Labor Left), Mitchell Wilson (Labor Left), and perennial election candidate Dorothy Rapisardi (Labor Right).
Of interest is Mitch Wilson’s conscious adoption of joint Labor Left and Greens SRC ticket Voice’s font, red colouring, and poster design in his campaign—messaging that Josh Beale should by all accounts have equal ownership over. It also appears Wilson and Rapisardi didn’t get the memo on Oktoberfest officially returning to UNSW in 2014, given their commitment to “bring back Oktoberfest”.
Returning to the fray once again is former ex-officio Board director as 2013 Student Development Committee Convenor, Andy Roberts, frontrunner for election in light of the postgraduate affirmative action policy. Roberts has entered into a preference deal with Melissa-Ann Gillies, a candidate of the law student, debating, and model United Nations variety.
In what is possibly a first, ADFA student Tingting Luo has nominated from UNSW’s Canberra campus, aiming to bridge the divide between Kensington and its satellite campuses.
Meanwhile, the self-described Three Musketeers , Athos, Aramis and Aporthos Wang, find themselves architects of the most selfless but confusing three-way preference deal ever attempted in an Arc Board election.
An election wouldn’t be complete without your thoroughly earnest nominations, of which there are more than ever this year to Arc’s credit. Watch out for Keith Lee, Amit Chopra, Timothy Do, Armella Zadoorian, Nina Teroganova, Edafe Obaro, and Leinton Presil.
Online voting is open to Arc members, commencing on Monday 12 May and concluding at 3pm on Friday 16 May.
Never heard of University Council?
You’re not alone. Occupying an even smaller niche in the election landscape than Arc Board, UNSW Council elections will this year go online after years spent pursuing a postal ballot vote.
In what may comprise the entire voting base, this year a whopping eight postgraduate nominations have been received, alongside seven undergraduate nominations.
Among the candidates for the single undergraduate position up for grabs are current SRC Education Officer Billy Bruffey (Labor Left), James Mann (Labor Left), Michael Rosser (Labor Right), and Benjamin Heenan (BComm/LLB, arguably a cult in itself), almost all of whom have made the biggest splash on social media at the time of print. Taking out the ‘Strange Bedfellows’ award are Rosser and Heenan, who have teamed up to preference each other in a move that will ultimately be for naught given University Council does not employ a preferential voting system.
Current LawSoc co-president and Arc Board director Heenan is also expected to nominate for Arc Chair come June. One wonders if Heenan expects to come into possession of a Time-Turner if successful in either or both elections. Kudos to him, however, on managing to fit the buzzwords “governance”, “oversight principles”, “strategic decisions”, and “key stakeholders” into one sentence, in a feat unheard of since Kevin Rudd stalked the halls of Canberra.
Wading into the postgraduate position pool again is Andy Roberts, who is also running for Arc Board and expected to legally change his name to “Bit Keen” in the near future. The main highlight of the postgraduate nominations is Cancer Diagnostics PhD student, Joshua Swift, who promises to “bring the yoU back to University” and the high school election slogans back to UNSW.
Of the undergraduate candidate policies available at the time of print, Billy Bruffey is standing on a platform of fighting fee increases at UNSW, pushing the University to divest from the fossil fuel industry, expanding support services for students with disabilities and international students, making campus living more affordable, and encouraging more University equity scholarships. Benjamin Heenan will focus on affordable higher education, the impact of planned light rail transport to UNSW, technology in the classroom, and safety in and around campus. Michael Rosser, meanwhile, aims to fight for better quality education and a more sustainable UNSW.
At a postgraduate level, the socially progressive Andrew Nicholson promises to support student rights and educational needs, and campaign for climate awareness and environmental sustainability. Andy Roberts plans to advocate for high quality learning, teaching and research during the current uncertainty in the higher education sector. JoshUa Swift will tap into his professional networks to benefit the University and students.
University council elections will be conducted via myUNSW from Wednesday 14 May to Wednesday 21 May for both undergraduate and postgraduate student positions.
Academic and faculty board mercy of mercies
Elections for student positions on Academic Board and all faculty boards have been postponed indefinitely due to structural changes being proposed and tabled to University Council. Tharunka understands that all current student representatives on these boards have been invited to extend their terms by six months until the end of 2014.
UNSW Labor Right faithful, Edward McDougall, was last month elected to the position of Australian Young Labor President at the national Young Labor conference in Canberra.
McDougall, previously an electoral officer for John Robertson, has argued against reforming to a one-member-one-vote system for internal Young Labor elections, in contrast to his fellow Labor Right predecessor, Kerrie Kahlon.
Tharunka wishes McDougall the best of luck in his new role and hopes the Overseas Students Association (pg 7) does not feature in his imminent future ahead.