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Gronks Across the Board

In this week’s GronkWatch, Dominic Ellis catches you up on Union Board election goss.


Hide your first years, the gronks are out and about.

Though Union Board candidate rumours have been circulating the gronkosphere for months, your resident watcher can now bring some certainty to proceedings. Be warned, the candidate-count is heinous.

First out of the gates is vice-president of the United Nations Society and former Labor campaigner Tiffany Alexander. She’ll be managed by current SRC Vice-President Daniel Ergas, who—just to prove once and for all that we all want the same thing—campaigned against Alexander in last year’s SRC election.

Also in the race is the ever-present Eden Caceda. You might remember Caceda from such projects as ‘SWAG’, the impotent 2014 Honi Soit ticket, as well as the Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR). He has also assumed the mantle of Arts camp-indoctrinator this year. GronkWatch managed to get our hands on a text message from Caceda’s manager Whitney Duan to an attendee of Arts camp, which suggests that Caceda plans to “keep union leadership out of party politics that overrun government”.1

Labor-right faction Unity are hedging their bets in this election, running two candidates. Atia Rahim, another exec member of the (electorally well-stocked) Arts Society is one, along with returning 2013 candidate Georg Tamm, whose campaign will be managed by Sean Nugent.

Jesse Seton, who until recently was also a member of Student Unity, will also contest the election, but GronkWatch has been assured he is not ‘endorsed’ by the Labor-right faction.

At the time of print, the other prominent Labor faction, National Labor Students (NLS), were yet to pick a candidate, though GronkWatch tips Jack Whitney as the likely frontrunner.

Also “actively considering running for Union Board” and likely pulling from the endless springs of clubs and societies is Shannen Potter. Potter is the president of DarcySoc, and though her factional affiliations are unclear, word around town is that Sydney Labor Students (SLS), a once-powerful-now-petty Labor-left faction on campus, will be running Potter under their branding.

Marco Avena, from broad Left group Grassroots, is hoping his green branding and experience with the on-campus Fossil Free group will popularise him with the Greensy Newtown populace. It’s worth noting that Avena is the fourth white man to run under the Grassroots branding in as many Board candidates. (Update: GronkWatch can now confirm that a second member of Grassroots, Lamisse Hamouda from the Muslim Wom*ns Collective, will run, likely under purple branding).

To add some excitement to the mix, Libertarian Society exec member and newly-crowned Economics Society president Kerrod Gream is also in the contest. He is one of two Tories (which is to say: card-carrying members of the Liberal Party) contesting this election, along with Jennifer Zin, an executive member of the Liberal Club. (Shaaaame, etc.)

Honi understands that Joel Schubert, a Moderate Liberal, was also considering a tilt at Board, but decided (wisely) to keep his dignity, after running the numbers.

Next up is Michael Rees. A former law student and former editor of Sydney University’s prestigious student newspaper Honi Soit,2 Rees will look to the ‘Indies’ for campaign support, a group that, though past its heyday,  Board Director and hot-tip Union Presidential candidate Liv Ronan used in her Board campaign last year.

When we probed token college boy William Khun about his candidature, he verbosely replied “I have in the past said that I intend to run for Board, and my actions thus far this semester would entirely be in alignment with running for Board”. (Update: Khun has since withdrawn from the race.)

Finally, there’s also talk of a candidate from USyd’s Evangelical Union—though, much like the Gospel of John, these assertions seem unreliable.

Though the punters won’t get any solid predictions from this GronkWatch reporter, with three affirmative action spots allocated to women, the odds look good for Potter, Rahim, Zin, Alexander and Hamouda.

[1] The message proceeds to state that Union elections are “super fun” because “everyone gets on colourful tshirts and hang out on the law lawns”—which would be a really persuasive sales pitch were it not egregiously awful.

[2] As if writing these god-forsaken election previews isn’t stupol enough for one lifetime.

Clarification: A previous version of this article labelled Michael Rees a law student. That should have read former law student.