— Alex McChrimbo (@mckinnon_a) November 4, 2016
The Sydney Arts Students Society (SASS) has held its highly contested AGM today, amidst allegations of stacking and insufficient notice.
Since 2013, every AGM of the influential society has been dogged by various reports of stacking by campus factions. Most recently, an alleged stack saw the election of Ed McCann to the presidency in 2015. McCann is the current Sydney University Liberal Club Vice President (Development), following another election conducted amid allegations of stacking in August.
This time around, fellow SULC member and outgoing SASS VP Jacob Masina was elected to the presidency, with Stand Up/Unity members Connor Wherrett (Socials Director) and Andrea Zephyr (Queer Officer) successfully securing positions alongside Ignite members Aashray Narula (Socials Director) and Lachlan Finch (Secretary), with some successful candidates seemingly unknown to a number of attendees prior to the election.
AGM in Stuvac
Typically societies are prohibited from holding an AGM outside of semester, however an exception has been made for SASS due to the size of its constituency, which encompasses any student studying under the Arts faculty. Additionally, a great deal of the society’s activities depend heavily on who is elected to which positions, making the AGM a frequently contested event.
Masina told Honi the decision to hold the AGM during Stuvac was made “to incorporate some anti-stacking measures into the Constitution.” C&S Regulations currently require that no club accept any new membership within a period of seven days prior to any AGM or GM. Some members expressed surprise at the number of unfamiliar faces at the AGM, which Masina suggested could have been avoided if the constitution was amended to “make sure voting eligibility is limited to those who engage in the Society’s activities.”
“Unfortunately the timing was such that at the conclusion of the conversations there wasn’t enough time to officially call the meeting during semester so the Board approved a motion to allow us to hold the AGM outside of semester.”
Taking anti-stacking measures into their own hands, the current senior members of the SASS executive (which McCann and Masina are part of) publicized the AGM via a private Facebook event rather than the public SASS page. Outgoing members of the executive expressed concerns about who had the power to invite others to the private event.
When asked by Honi as to whether any stacking took place this year, Masina responded that “there were a few political BNOCs so to speak but I believe the elected executive is genuine in its motivation to move the Society in the direction that benefits Arts students.”
The full SASS executive for 2017:
President: Jacob Masina
VP (External): Richard Wu
VP (Internal): Annelise Nguyen
Secretary: Lachlan Finch
Treasurer: Chris Walker
Social Directors: Aashray Narula and Connor Wherrett
Publications Directors: Jack Gibson, Izabella Antoniou
Sport Director: Alex Vustyan
Queer Officer: Andrea Zephyr
Wom*n’s Officer: Iris Higgs
Ethnocultural Officer: Angela Prendergast
International Student Officer: Pasha Grozdoff