Members of the Wom*n of Colour Collective (WoCC) have signed an open letter calling for elected office bearer Vanessa Song to resign from her position in the SRC over claims she was “undemocratically elected”.
The open letter comes amid claims that members of the Labor Right faction, Student Unity, stacked the election for Song’s position.
Signatories to the letter said Song’s election was stacked and was voted in via an “undemocratic election of 37-5 which we all agree is not reflective of the amount of active members in the WoCC”.
Honi approached Song for comment but received no reply.
The position of Wom*n of Colour Office Bearer was created last year following a split of the Wom*n’s Officer positions with the aim of bettering representation in the SRC.
The new system mandates that the Wom*n’s office bearers must now be chosen from both the Wom*n’s Collective (WoCo) and the WoCC, with one officer pre-selected by each collective.
In the period since these changes, many have been anxious to assess the effectiveness of the split but there have been frustrations the situation has been shrouded by politicking.
Since allegations of stacking have surfaced, many have been quick to question Song’s capacity to fulfil the purpose of this new position and to truly represent the WoCC, with the letter claiming she is “not fulfilling [her] duties as Wom*n’s Officer.”
Collective members have in particular noticed Song has been absent from several events, including the O Week Wom*n’s stalls and the inaugural Wom*n’s Collective meeting held on March 1.
The letter also mentions Song’s co-Wom*n’s Officer, Anna Hush, wrote a report corroborating Song’s absence.
When Honi spoke to Hush, she confirmed that such a report had indeed been written, but only to aid the Wom*n of Colour Collective in making a decision about whether to hold a re-election, and was not intended for a public audience. Nevertheless, Hush confirmed her support for Song’s resignation.
“It’s unfortunate members outside the Wom*n of Colour Collective may have been able to vote in their election, and if this is the case, I believe another election should be held imminently on the basis of this fact alone,” she said.
In the last week, Song created a Facebook group to rally support and address allegations made against her. In the group, she cited her contribution to the Wom*n’s Collective’s annual journal, Growing Strong, her coordination of O-Week Wom*n’s events with the USU, and also her annoyance at Hush’s letter for being unfounded and not communicated prior.
However, she did not address allegations of stacking.
Those skeptical of the letter have pointed out that even if allegations of stacking are true, it is no more democratic to usurp an elected office bearer based on an open letter than it is to stack elections.
However, the open letter indicates dissatisfaction with Song is now at a tipping point.
“Collective autonomy is critical for identity-based groups like WoCo and WoCC,” said Hush.