The 2019 Students’ Representative Council (SRC) will convene for a Special Meeting on December 18th, almost seven weeks after the first RepsElect, in a desperate attempt to fill the extensive vacancies left by two failed meetings. The meeting will take place in a single auditorium, with both councillors and observers permitted.
Councillors and the public gallery will be situated on opposite sides of the room and separated by an empty block of seats, according to a notice circulated by Secretary to Council Cameron Caccamo this evening. The meeting will also be subject to an increased security presence, continuing a rare collaborative effort between SRC staff and University management to stifle the disruption that impeded the previous two RepsElects.
RepsElect 1, held in early November, was evacuated following a fire alarm which left the room flooded. The evacuation took place minutes before the anticipated rolling of the Wom*n’s Collective by the majority coalition, comprised of Panda, Unity, Liberals and Independents.
In an unprecedented move, Returning Officer Karen Chau elected to hold the second RepsElect in two separate rooms, segregating the public gallery from proceedings. The meeting stalled immediately after protesters occupied the room, declaring the setup “undemocratic”. Councillors voted, though to no substantial effect, to move the meeting in camera, locking out all observers and media. No office-bearer positions were elected beyond the four executive positions passed in RepsElect 1.
Vice President Dane Luo (Shake Up), one of the few office-bearers elected in RepsElect 1, issued a joint statement alongside President Jacky He (Panda) and Councillor Madeline Ward (Grassroots) imploring councillors to ensure that office bearer roles be filled before the end of the year. The trio emphasised the importance of electing office-bearer positions in order to ensure the publication of ‘Growing Strong’, the SRC’s annual publication for women and non-binary students, and to organise negotiations for Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) allocations with the university during December.
Secretary to Council Cameron Caccamo said in the notice of the meeting that he “prayed” that the meeting would proceed without incident, and that councillors and observers would follow the “very simple instructions” issued by SRC staff.
Despite being notorious for chaos and conflict, RepsElect this year has reached unprecedented levels of drama. Though two RepsElects have been held before, as in 2016, this is the first time a third meeting has been required. None of this year’s three meetings have been held in the traditional location of the Quadrangle’s Professorial Boardroom. It remains to be seen whether councillors will again vote to move the meeting in camera, effectively silencing criticism from the public gallery.
The new arrangements will be put to the test on Tuesday 18 December at ABS Auditorium Room B2010 at 6pm.