Chinese international student Weihong Liang (Infinity) has been elected as the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association’s (SUPRA) President at this year’s SUPRAElect for the second year running.
SUPRAElect is the organisation’s equivalent of the Student Representative Council’s (SRC) RepsElect, where SUPRA’s leadership for the coming year is elected by the council. It was held on Friday, 31 May.
Liang’s election to President in the 2019-20 council comes as an interesting development after Liang had previously told Honi that he may potentially resign from the position in July, 2019, if he receives a job offer in China. Liang faced no competition for the presidency after the only other candidate Sayan Mithra (Independent) withdrew his bid before the voting began.
This year, SUPRA saw a significant swell in international student representation, as the Chinese international student led grouping Infinity won a large majority of the 2019-20 council seats in the general election last month. Infinity won 21 of the 27 generally-elected council positions.
The 2019-20 core executive of SUPRA, responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the organisation, will remain dominated by international students, continuing the historic all-international student executive of the 2018-19 council. Notably, SUPRAElect was entirely uncontested this year and the night was wrapped up within an hour and a half.
Yanning Bai was voted in as Vice-President after Mithra – who originally nominated for the President’s position – also withdrew his bid for Vice-President.
Several other positions were also filled by councillors running as pairs without contestation. Xiner Yuan and Shiya Bao were elected co-Education Officers. Domi Dana Johnson, who was last year’s co-Education Officer, and Mucong Li, were voted in as co-Secretaries, and Chenghan Li and Yunhe Wan were elected as co-Treasurers. The position of Director of Student Publications (DSP), was filled by Luhua Li and Huang Zheng.
The SUPRAElect on Friday night sees the endurance of a trend of international student engagement in student politics at the University of Sydney (USyd). The University of Sydney Union (USU) Board Election in May saw three international students elected to board, a shock to long-established factions such as Student Unity and Sydney Grassroots, who have a long-standing history in the USU, but were not elected.
SUPRA represents the populace of over 29,000 postgraduate students at USyd, receiving over $1,800,000 from the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) in 2018. The organisation itself has a net worth of around $5,000,000.
The term of the newly elected office-bearers of SUPRA will begin on 1 July.