The incoming executive of the Sydney University Law Society (SULS) has been provisionally elected yesterday in the first uncontested election in two years. This follows protracted negotiations between two originally competing tickets led by Ben Hines (LLB III) and Thrishank Chintamaneni (JD II) that has seen Hines elected President with Chintamaneni as Vice President (Careers).
Whilst previous tickets have boasted of their political independence, this year’s executive marks a departure from this trend, with incoming President Ben Hines currently holding the position of Honorary Treasurer of the USU. Hines was also formerly Vice President of the Sydney University Liberal Club. Incoming Vice President (Education) Irene Ma also has a connection to Hines, as she currently sits on USU Board as Immediate Past President, and is a former member of Advance.
As a condition of the merger, there is somewhat greater representation of Juris Doctor students, with Vice-President (Education) and Vice-President (Careers) both going to JD students.
With Hines and Chintamaneni previously running on Vibe and Splash respectively, students can likely expect a balance of the events-focused offerings of the former, and the mental health and social justice-focused policies of the latter.
This result breaks a two-year streak of contested elections, and is the first to be uncontested since electoral reforms in 2018. These reforms introduced non-binding expressions of interest for the executive, as well as a shortened campaigning period. The reforms aimed to increase the inclusivity and experiential breadth of the executive, as well as ensuring a transparent ticket formation process.
Many members of the incoming senior executive did not submit non-binding EOIs. This result indicates ongoing problems with the SULS election system and the persistence of a shoulder-tap culture within the executive.
The impacts of the pandemic have been felt across campus life, and likely extend to this election. Two years of on-and-off online learning has resulted in decreased engagement with SULS, leaving a smaller pool of engaged voters or candidates to draw from.
The full list of the provisionally elected executive is as follows:
President: Benjamin Hines
Vice President (Education): lrene Ma
Vice President (Careers): Thrishank Chintamaneni
Vice President (Social Justice): Naz Sharifi
Secretary: Eden McSheffrey
Treasurer: Julia Tran
Sponsorship Director: Kelly Ma
Social Directors: Grace Wong & Vivienne Davies
Competition Directors: Harriet Walker & Maja Vasic
Sports Director: Adam Schaffer
Campus Director: Onor Nottle
Publications Director: Ariana Haghighi
lnternational Officer: Michelle Chim (JDII)