A censure motion made against Vice President Bebe D’Souza for breaching electoral regulations has been withdrawn at this afternoon’s University of Sydney Union General Meeting. President Tara Waniganayaka cited the “mood in the room”, and the likelihood that the censure wouldn’t pass, as reasons for withdrawal. A first recommendation, that D’Souza failed to adhere to USU regulations, was accepted.
In forwarding the motion, Waniganayaka said that D’Souza’s actions were a direct and blatant breach of regulations. However, the majority of board maintained that posting a Facebook status effectively endorsing three wom*n of colour candidates in the recent Board Election was undeserving of a censure.
In D’Souza’s statement on the matter, she aimed to clarify her behaviour, and apologised for any offence caused. She however felt that it wasn’t an endorsement, and the underrepresentation of wom*n of colour on board remains.
D’Souza raised concerns with Waniganayaka’s conduct throughout this process, stating that the President never directly asked her to remove the post. She further questioned why Tom Raue and herself are continually targeted by staff and senate appointed directors, who “advise” Waniganayaka on these matters. Statements made by Board Director Liam Carrigan, who revealed that Waniganayaka only spoke to one other director regarding the censure motion, who further advised her against it, mirrored these concerns. In originally pursuing the motion, Waniganayaka said it was her duty as President to bring this breach to the attention of the board.
Most directors vocally spoke against the censure motion. Among those present, there were calls for regulation reform, as what constituted participation in the election was unclear. During the election, many directors clearly showed their support of particular candidates, by putting out A-Frames and sitting behind candidate’s desks. Waniganayaka confirmed that a review of these electoral reforms would occur in the near future.
Both senate-appointed directors appeared to support the censure motion. Despite this, the majority of directors against the motion was clear, prompting its withdrawal.