Four students have expressed interest in candidacy for the Sydney University Law School (SULS) Presidency in 2023: Eden McSheffrey, Michael Kallidis, Vaughan Marega, and Naz Sharifi. The President will oversee a large 23-person executive, 8 of which will be appointed after the election, and the expenditure of over half a million dollars in projected yearly income, according to the Society’s latest Financial Statement.
SULS Executive elections operate on a somewhat unusual system which sees hopefuls for President and Executive submitting a non-binding expression of interest prior to the election period. After this, candidates typically engage in negotiations to form tickets, offering each other positions in exchange for an uncontested election.
This means that SULS elections are not a yearly event: the 2022 President, Ben Hines, was elected uncontested after his initial opponent, Thrishank Chintamaneni withdrew from contention, instead taking the position of Vice President (Careers).
2020 saw the last contested election, a three-way race between tickets FLARE, SPLASH and VIBE. FLARE, and their Presidential candidate Wendy Hu, emerged victorious in a close race.
The potential 2023 candidates offer a mix of SULS experience.
Eden McSheffrey (LLBIV) has served on the SULS Executive for the past three years, as Queer Officer, Equity Officer and Secretary respectively. His EOI cited a prioritisation of social justice and inclusivity within the Society as being essential. McSheffrey argues that SULS is uniquely positioned to participate in policy advocacy and influence the law school as the faculty consults students throughout its return to fully in-person instruction.
Michael Kallidis (JDII) is an ex-President of the Conservatorium Students’ Association and a former Councillor on the USyd SRC. This year, he served on the SULS Sports and Wellbeing Committee. His EOI focused on the need for SULS to better communicate with and advocate for students as the Law School transitions back to pre-pandemic style learning.
Vaughan Marega (JD1) has been involved in the Society’s Sports and Wellbeing Committee. Like Kallidis, his EOI emphasised the need for a careful transition back to in-person assessments. Marega also hopes to create a replacement of the PASS peer-mentoring program. Perhaps reflecting Marega’s relative inexperience, his EOI claims closed-book exams are a ‘new’ form of assessment. It also specifies policies, which are not typically included in EOIs due to clause 1(b) of the SULS Electoral Regulations.
Naz Sharifi (LLBV) is this year’s Vice President (Social Justice). Her EOI pointed to successes this year in making SULS a more inclusive space, particularly for Muslim students. Sharifi argues that a focus on inclusion and diversity is needed within the Society. Sharifi is a current Board Director of the University of Sydney Union (USU) — it is unclear at this stage if she will be contesting USU Executive positions next year in addition to SULS leadership.
Students interested in joining next year’s Executive may, although not required for nomination, submit an expression of interest to the Electoral Officer Jacob Lerner by Monday 3 October, after which the prohibited contact period expires and ticket formation can begin. A contested election, should one take place, will be held during the first week of STUVAC from 7 – 9 November.