Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA) co-vice president Lily Matchett and education officer Ahmed Bin Suhaib have jointly replaced Tom Greenwell as the organisation’s president.
The decision was made at SUPRA’s council meeting on the evening of Monday 16 January, after Greenwell announced his resignation because he has finished his degrees.
Greenwell was elected president by the SUPRA council in June 2016, as reported by Honi. He had previously been vice-president.
He told Honi, “It seemed time to move on with my life and take up work as an economist and move on from student organising and into political organising in the union.”
Matchett and Suhaib’s joint nomination for President was the only nomination received, and they were voted in unanimously by the councillors present.
SUPRA’s executive, including the president, is elected by its 29 councillors rather than by postgraduate students directly. It differs in this way from its undergraduate counterpart – the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) – whose President is elected directly by the student body.
The president was paid a salary of $47,742 in 2016 and has extensive powers as CEO, general manager, chairperson and spokesperson of the SUPRA council.
Matchett and Suhaib’s election left the education officer position open, which was then filled jointly by Matchett’s former co-vice president Alexandra Nixon and queer officer Rachel Evans.
The reshuffle also saw Nicholas Avery and Karen Cochrane elected co-vice presidents, and Oliver Moore elected deputy queer officer.
In 2016, SUPRA received $1,375,000 of students’ money through the student services and amenities fee (SSAF), which every student pays.
SUPRA has long suffered low engagement with the student population it represents, which numbers around 20,000. Only 190 students voted in the most recent SUPRA council elections, despite its large budget.