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‘Vote No’ protestor elected as undergraduate Senate Fellow

Francis Tamer received 1, 000 more votes than the second placed candidate

This article was updated on 3rd October 2018 with results from the official Tally Sheet.

Francis Tamer, a fourth year Bachelor of Computer Science and Technology student, has been elected USyd’s next undergraduate Senate Fellow.

Tamer received approximately 1,800 votes, defeating 23 other candidates, a particularly large candidature. This was a significant margin of victory, with the second ranked candidate, Patrick Hendy, receiving 661 votes. The margin between the third and fourth placed candidates was comparatively less significant, with Abbey (Jiaqi) Shi receiving 391 votes and Pavel (Pasha) Grozdov receiving 232 votes.

Tamer will begin his term on the 1st of November this year, and will serve a two-year term, until the 30th of October 2020.

This was Tamer’s second attempt at being elected to the position, having lost out to Colin Whitchurch in 2016’s ballot. During that election Honi reported that Tamer controversially attempted to solicit votes via laptop, saying “anecdotal evidence suggested Tamer had the largest base of laptop-using campaigners.”

The campaign page for Tamer’s Senate run had 220 likes at the time of publication.

Tamer is known for his connections with the Sydney University Catholic Society, serving out his term as president for the bulk of 2016.

His tenure was controversial, with Tamer helping run a Catholic Society event titled ‘Man + Women: Made for each other?’ After heavy protest by the Queer Action Group, the University of Sydney Union (USU) withdrew their support for the controversial event on the grounds that suggesting diverse sexualites were illegitimate was inconsistent with the principles of the USU.

Tamer, however, maintained his position, and a year later was involved in publicly opposing the plebiscite for same sex marriage.

Tamer was quoted in the Catholic press, by Miranda Devine in the Daily Telegraph, and appeared on Sky News’ Bolt Report in the aftermath of the Catholic society’s infamous “Vote No” stall at the height of 2017’s marriage equality debate.

Protestors confront undergraduate Senate Fellow-elect Francis Tamer during the Catholic society’s “Vote ‘No'” stall in 2017. Image credit: Andrew Rickert

Outside of campus, Tamer has been an active member of the ‘Christian Lives Matter’ Facebook group, which positions itself as a support group for Christians who felt persecuted during the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

The group led several prayer sessions in the Inner West, and protested graffiti which they called disgusting, including a memorial to George Michael.

Tamer did not respond to Honi’s request for an interview in the lead-up to the election.

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to vote for a student to represent their interests on the Senate every two years. This undergraduate Fellow is one of 15, and will be charged with approving USyd’s annual budget and business plans, overseeing policy, and ensuring the University’s strategy remains faithful to its broader mission.