USU Board Candidate Profile 2023: Teng Yong Khoo

Honi’s profile and interview with 2023 USU Board candidate Teng Yong Khoo.

Slogan: #leavenoregrets

Colour: Kelly Green

Quiz Score: 15%

Faction: Independent

Favourite USU outlet: UniBros

Editor’s note: Teng Yong Khoo withdrew from the USU Board Election on Friday 5 May.

Joining this year’s pool of Independent Board candidates, Teng Yong Khoo is riding a wave of confidence into the USU Board election despite a serious lack of institutional knowledge, some confusing policy points, and concerning politics.

With a quiz score of 15%, Khoo was unable to name any USU Board or staff members besides the current president and the CEO. He has minimal understanding of University organisation, and was unable to name the current Provost and current NTEU demands, despite being a casual researcher at the University.

Khoo was somewhat concerningly unaware of the correct definition of Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) stating that the USU should “support volunteering” and that it would “enhance employment,” in an attempt to not leave an unanswered question behind. His lack of historical knowledge of previous threats to the student experience posed questions about his capability of protecting student welfare in the present.

Khoo demonstrates a history of active participation in student affairs at their previous university in Adelaide, yet this experience seems difficult to transfer with a lack of knowledge of structures of student and union systems at USyd.

Khoo’s policies feature six sentences in bullet point form, submitted to Honi via email and totalling less than 200 words. One of Khoo’s policies proposes to subsidise first-year students’ membership to Sydney University Sport and Fitness (SUSF) facilities. Considering SUSF is not affiliated with the USU and funded by the University through an independent SSAF allocation, Honi questions whether Khoo has the institutional knowledge or negotiating power to achieve such an ambitious goal during their time on Board.

Another proposed the introduction of ‘a second shuttle service to and from Central station’ to benefit students coming from further distances that don’t get off at Redfern station. When asked about existing bus routes, such as the 428, from Central Station to the University, Khoo remarked that they are “always full”. When pressed on implementation, Khoo said the USU Board should “pressure the University” to coordinate and fund a second shuttle service.

When asked about whether politics should be an element within the Board, Khoo said that he wants to “put politics as much as possible aside and just focus solely on student welfare.” Khoo claimed that students would “suffer” if politics were to play a role within the USU. However when asked whether the Board should take any stances against any University wrong-doings, Khoo was in support stating the board needs “a strong stance.” With other candidates drawing connections between the protection of student welfare and the political operation of the USU, it seemed odd for Khoo to treat these as opposing ideals. 

What Khoo lacks in institutional knowledge and substantive responses, they appear to attempt to make up for in confidence. Khoo appeared self-assured in their Honi interview, and leaned heavily on their previous experience as a Councillor on the University of Adelaide SRC.