USU EXEC LOCKED IN
Your newly elected USU Board is set to begin its term this week. On Wednesday, the Board will vote in a new executive to govern for the following year.
While each position is elected individually, a ‘ticket’ (or alliance) has formed between several directors which will all but guarantee them the balance of power.
This ticket will have Michael Rees (Independent) as President, Atia Rahim (Student Unity) as Vice-President, Tiffany Alexander (Labor) as Treasurer and Shannen Potter (SLS) as Honorary Secretary. Honi understands the group have been pitching themselves to the first year directors formally, on a platform of stability and unity within the board.
This leaves Marco Avena (Grassroots) and Jack Whitney (NLS) out of the executive. It’s highly unlikely they have the numbers to mount a challenge, so expect the election to go largely uncontested.
TORIES CALL ME A WHIG, AND WHIGS A TORY
Three tickets have formed to contest next semester’s Honi Soit election, each with a unique gripe with this year’s paper (sad face).
From the “Honi is too left-wing” camp, Honi reporters and St Paul’s College students John Patrick Asimakis and Josh Koby Wooller have put their bowlers in the ring. Honi knows of two people from the campus media and arts community who turned down offers to join, one claiming the ticket was heading in a “very conservative direction”. Asimakis confirmed the ticket’s existence but denied it would be running on a conservative platform.
At least three college residents are currently on the incomplete ticket, suggesting it could be a resurrection of the “college tickets” of the late 2000s, spurred this time by growing collegial discontent with reportage of institutional sexism. However, when we asked Asimakis to confirm who was on the ticket, he took a leaf out of Wesley Master Lisa Sutherland’s book and did not release the names.
From the “Honi is too right-wing” camp, Honi has heard Wom*n’s Officer Anna Hush is forming a ticket with an activist bent. A mix of SRC collective office bearers and Grassroots members are rumoured to have signed on. Hush refused to comment, saying she was “not interested in contributing to the gossip around tickets at this point”.
Finally, we can confirm a third ticket is being led by Honi reporters Siobhan Ryan, Michael Sun and Justine Landis-Hanley. Ryan and Sun are members of Grassroots, while Landis-Hanley is the SRC Residential Colleges Officer. MECO/Law student Alexander Tighe is also on board.
When asked for an update, they said: “We’re looking into the possibility of Waleed Aly enrolling in a B Vet Science so he’d be eligible.”
We do not yet know if they hate us, but are sure they will develop a reason to over the break.
UPPER HOUSE OF CARDS
More elections! Next semester, two students (one undergraduate, one postgraduate) will be elected to the USyd senate. With a two year term on the Uni’s peak governing body, they’re potentially the two most powerful students on campus.
First rumoured contender is ex-Honi editor Alexi Polden. Polden has not confirmed or denied any decision, but has significant experience in reporting on the senate which would make him a popular candidate across the left on campus.
Second up is ex-SRC Vice-President Daniel Ergas. “I’m certainly thinking about it, but it depends on who else is interested in nominating,” Ergas told Honi. “As long as it is someone from the broad left I’m content.”
Ergas indicated he would likely not contest the spot if Polden ran. His exact words were “Oh Christ, absolutely. He’d smash it.”
Current USU Treasurer Ed McMahon is similarly positioning himself for the postgraduate spot. He indicated he may be taking a break from uni, but if enrolled for Semester 2, would run “unless someone else with comprehensive left wing politics and dedication to the unpaid role is keen”.
Honi expects more conservative candidates to come out of the woodwork soon, following in the footsteps of last-elected fellows Dalton Fogarty and Simon Hill.
Keen readers will recall the postgraduate spot has a current vacancy. Nominations for the four-month interim gig have closed, and the senate will choose the replacement on July 4.
ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE BUT THIS GUY IS THE WORST
Members of the Autonomous Collective Against Racism’s (ACAR) recent revue have copped a bizarre text from a theatre owner who objected to their pre-show Acknowledgement of Country.
Markus Weber, the owner of King Street Theatre in Newtown, called the cast “not fit to be part of a humanitarian, civilized society”.
“Do not read a scripted ‘message’ before the performance,” said the Austrian-born Weber. “Not what you go conform with cause it is political correct [sic]”.
Lucinda Vitek allegedly had similarly “awful” interactions with Weber when directing at the theatre in 2013. She said Weber made racial jokes in front of Asian members of production crew, and upon learning she spoke German, jokingly remarked “Zieg Heil”.
“ACAR aren’t the first people to have this happen, but they are probably the first to speak out about it.”
Online exchanges between student politicians are infamously terrible, but Honi was taken aback by National Union of Students’ (NUS) Welfare Officer Robby Magyar’s joke that SRC Education Officer Liam Carrigan would be “thrown in an unmarked grave”.
When Carrigan sledged him in a Facebook group called “NUS National Banter Action Group”, Magyar responded: “I look forward to proving you wrong when I have a state funeral and you’re thrown in an unmarked grave.”
“I initially thought the comment was self deprecating and humorous, but realised upon posting that it was a step too far,” Magyar told Honi. “I immediately deleted the comment, and later apologised to the individual in private messages.”
“I have since left the group…nothing good can come from a Facebook group such as ‘NUS National Banter Action Group’ and it would probably be for the best if such a space did not exist.”
Other posts in the group say things like, “the only good Indie is a dead one”.
At the time of writing, current NUS President Sinead Colee and General Secretary Cam Petrie were listed as members.
Honi asked Colee if disciplinary action was planned and if she considered the group appropriate for National Office Bearers, but she did not reply.