Two tickets are shaping up to contest this year’s Sydney University Law Society (SULS) executive elections, headed by presidential hopefuls Isaac Morgan and Amer Nasr.
Morgan’s ticket will be made up of Dasha Moskalenko, Dean Psihoyos, Shanshan Guo, Adam Herman, Wendy Hu, Sophia Semmler, Calvin Kwong, Oscar Alcock, Emma Kench, Anna Ritchie, Bruno Masquelin, and Dane Luo with two more members to be decided.
Despite both Morgan and Nasr publicly committing to including students who have previously been unengaged with SULS on their tickets, Morgan’s ticket is entirely made up of members of this year’s executive or its subcommittees. A source has told Honi that they believed Morgan’s ticket represents the law school “clique”, with the senior executive positions largely being made up of personal friends of Morgan and Hu.
Nasr has only confirmed two of the 15 positions on his ticket, filled by 2018 Equity Officer Deaundre Espejo for Vice-President (Social Justice) and Miriam Shendroff for Secretary. Rumours suggest they will be joined by Publications Officer Jeffrey Khoo, and SRC Electoral Officer Casper Lu, who withdrew from the presidential race. Nominations close Thursday 17 October.
Nasr comes into the race with far less experience in SULS, having only been a student at the Law School for the past year. He has been a member of the SULS Treasury Subcommittee this year – a relatively minor position within the society. Morgan is the only presidential candidate to hold an executive position, having been the 2018 Sports Officer.
Both candidates were able to make their pitch to voters and potential running mates at a presidential debate held last Wednesday. The debate largely reaffirmed that both candidates’ positions were nominally very similar: both expressed regret about SULS “clique-y” nature, both would seek to keep SULS apolitical, both liked to constantly name drop current members of the executive.
However, when asked whether the candidates would use the Executive’s powers to change the SULS by-laws, Morgan said he would only do so if in an emergency and Nasr that he would “look into it”. Nasr also stated he would seek to use this year’s SULS budget surplus to fund new scholarships, a move Morgan criticised as unrealistic, given the money is not recurring and not large enough to be able to support many substantial scholarships.
Both candidates also come into the election with some electoral experience. Nasr has previously campaigned for former Treasurer Joe Hockey. Morgan has not been previously been involved in campus or federal politics, except for supporting Spark in the 2016 SULS election.
SULS elections operate differently to most USU society executive elections as candidates for the executive must run as part of a ticket, with affirmative action requirements dictating half of those candidates be non-cis men.
This will be the first contested SULS election since the society passed requirements that meant that only presidential candidates who published an Expression of Interest could nominate. In 2017 and 2018 only one presidential candidate did so, meaning they could choose their executive as they wished.
Though the reforms are meant to make ticket formation public and transparent, this still largely makes it behind closed doors, and hands significant power to presidential candidates to pick their tickets alone.