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BREAKING: Twelve candidates to run in 2023 USU board election

Voting opens on Monday 8 May.

The candidates for this year’s University of Sydney Union (USU) Board election have been announced. 

A total of twelve candidates are running to secure a spot on the Board: SRC Interfaith Officer Sargun Saluja (NLS); SRC Standing Legal Committee Chair Grace Wallman (Switch); SRC Councillor Bryson Constable (Liberal/Colleges); Hoi Pui Lam; Director of Student Publications (DSP) Victor Zhang (Engineers); Law Society (SULS) Secretary Julia Lim; Ben Moore; SRC Sexual Harassment Officer and DSP Grace Porter (Unity); Syed Ahmad Sabaat; unsuccessful 2022 candidate K. Philips (Interpol); Teng Yong Khoo; former SULS President and USU board director Benjamin Hines (Libdependent*), who has broken with tradition to run for a second term. It should be noted that former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who Hines hosted at an ill-fated SULS event last year, did the same when he attended USyd.

Honi will upload individual profiles with candidate interviews and their results in the USU candidate quiz closer to election day.

Only six candidates will earn a position on the USU’s Board of Directors, and three of those elected must identify as non-cis men in accordance with the USU’s affirmative action policy. With twelve candidates running, this means that only half the field will be elected. This is in stark contrast to last year’s election, which saw only six candidates fight for the five vacant positions on the Board.

The USU Student Board is composed of 14 directors, who are responsible for the “operational and strategic business of the USU.” This includes having input on the USU’s corporate partnerships, deciding on initiatives (such as the recently introduced $6 pizza) and approving the USU budget, among other things. Those elected will serve a two-year term from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2025.

In addition to a salary of several thousand dollars per year, USU Board Directors also receive a daily $11 allowance to spend on food at USU outlets. Those who serve on the board’s executive earn higher salaries and daily allowances. It (literally) pays to be a Board Director.

This is the first election since 2020 to feature candidates from the Labor factions — Student Unity (Labor Right) and National Labor Students (NLS, Labor Left) — who previously dominated the USU board.**

What’s next?

Monday 1 May: In-person campaigning will begin and Eastern Avenue will flood with candidates and campaigners vying for your vote. 

Wednesday 3 May: There will be a soapbox where candidates will make their case and field questions submitted from students. 

Friday 5 May: Voter registration will close.

Monday 8 MayFriday 12 May: Voting will be open.

Friday 12 May: Election results will be announced.

Honi will upload in-depth profiles of each candidate closer to the election to help you make an informed decision prior to voting. You can read the complete election schedule here.

*This article has been amended to reflect that Ben Hines is not a current member of the Liberal Party or a Liberal faction on campus. Hines was previously a member of the Liberal Party and has also previously served as the Vice President of the Sydney University Liberal Club.

**Current board director Alexander Poirier is a member of Student Unity, but ran as an independent (without factional support) in 2022. 

Disclaimer: Luke Mesterovic is a former member of Student Unity.