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Unity USU executive election victory marred by xenophobic comment

The comment read "foreign interference: stopped" and was posted in a private Facebook group.

Photo of Tom Manousaridis and his facebook comment saying "Foreign Interference = Stopped"

Connor Wherrett (Labor Right/Unity) has been elected as USU President after an uneventful meeting saw all Executive positions elected in accordance with Honi’s predictions.

Shortly before his election however, Wherrett’s victory was marred by a comment made by fellow Unity member and unsuccessful USU candidate, Tom Manousaridis, in a private factional Facebook group. The comment, which stated “foreign interference: stopped [tick emoji]”, was made in response to a post linking an earlier Honi report detailing Wherrett’s likely election.

Manousaridis’ comments were likely in reference to Wherrett beating out opposing presidential candidate Zimeng Ye, an international student from China who was elected with the backing of Chinese international student faction Panda. It is believed Ye’s ill-fated presidential bid received the support of three other Chinese international student directors – Zizheng Bai, Benny Shen and Di Wang.

In his recent bid for Directorship, Manousaridis included campaigning for international student opal cards in his policy platform.

Neither Wherrett nor Manousaridis provided comment in time for publication.

As the Board currently stands, five of the eleven student Board Directors are international students, three of whom were elected last month. Decheng Sun (Advance), now Honorary Secretary, is the only international student on the newly-elected executive.

Disclaimer: Honi editors Pranay Jha, Nell O’Grady, and Liam Thorne are not involved in the production of USU Executive Election coverage.