Non-elected Director to cast crucial vote
Tomorrow’s election of the USU’s Executive has raised questions over the role of Senate-appointed Board Directors, as well as the Executive election process itself. The eleven student directors are set to elect a new President, Vice President, Honorary Treasurer, and Honorary Secretary for the next year.
Honi Soit can confirm that Senate-appointed Board Director Emma McDonald will also be casting what may be a crucial vote in tomorrow’s proceedings. The USU is constitutionally required to maintain two Board positions for Directors appointed by the University Senate. These two Directors are the only members of the Board who are not elected by USU members.
“I take the view that it is important to demonstrate to our members and to my fellow Directors that I take my position on the Board seriously,” McDonald said.
“The best way to show that I take the role seriously is by actively participating in all decision making that affects our organisation and our members. This includes voting in the Executive election.”In the past, the USU Board has come into conflict with Senate-appointed Directors, who have been accused of acting in the interests of the Senate, rather than the USU. However, USU President Astha Rajvanshi said the current Board had had no such problems, and that McDonald had been a dedicated and hardworking Director. “I think Emma has been one of the most engaged and proactive Senate-appointed Directors we’ve had,” she said.
Names drawn from hat may decide next USU Executive
The addition of McDonald’s vote means that a six-six tied result for some or all positions is a distinct possibility. Usually the presence of a second Senate-appointed Director would make a tie impossible, but that second position is currently unfilled, leaving the Board with the potential to be locked in a tie.
There is no regulation in the USU’s Constitution to resolve tied results. According to Penelope Crossley, the Returning Officer for the election, such a result would mean any position with tied votes would be decided by picking the name of one of the tied candidates out of a hat. Rajvanshi confirmed this would be the case.
This would mean that a clear six-to-five majority vote from student Directors for a particular candidate could potentially be upended by McDonald’s vote, resulting in the office bearers for the next twelve months being determined by pure chance.