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2020 USU Board candidates announced

This year will mark the first online election for USU Board in history.

The University of Sydney Union (USU) has officially announced the 11 candidates running for Board on their website. Ada Choi, Eitan Harris, Ben Hines (Liberal), Amir Jabbari, Teresa Li, Ruby Lotz (NLS), Vikki Kailin Qin, Nick Rigby (Moderate Liberals), Belinda Thomas (Unity), Jiale Wang (Panda) and Prudence Wilkins-Wheat (Switch) are in the running. 

Nick Rigby and Ben Hines (Privatise the SRC) will be running as ‘independents’, a tried and true Liberal campaign technique. Rigby, the president of the Sydney Arts Students Society (SASS), will be campaign managed by SRC councillors Nicholas Comino (Colleges for SRC) and Zach Pitkethley (Boost). Hines will be managed by former Switchroots campaigner and current Law Society Socials Director, Alex De Araujo. He will be supported by members of the Sydney University Liberal Club (SULC) of which he is Vice President (Policy). Hines is a member of the ‘Alex Dore’ faction, which seized control of SULC in 2016. 

SRC Environment Officer Prudence Wilkins-Wheat will not be assisted by a campaign manager as such, but rather a team of people from Grassroots and Switch. SRC Sexual Harassment Officer and SURG Marketing Coordinator Ruby Lotz will be managed by NLS SRC councillor Roisin Murphy, and Belinda Thomas by SRC General Secretary Liam Thomas. Thomas also managed Tom Manousaridis’ (Unity) unsuccessful campaign last year. Jiale Wang, the 2019 SRC Global Solidarity Officer who campaigned last year for successful candidate Benny Shen, will also be trying his hand at getting on Board. However, Honi understands that Benny will be supporting Vikki Kailin Qin.

Surprise entrants include Amir Jabbari, a former President of the Iranian Society, and Eitan Harris, the current Leadership and Development Officer of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS). 

This is the first time in the USU’s history that elections have been conducted entirely online, with online campaigning beginning on 6 May at 12:01am. The election will be conducted via a personalised link sent to USU members’ university email addresses at 9am on 18 May, concluding on the 22nd. 

As only USU members are eligible to vote, candidates will have until 5pm on the 15th of May to encourage students to sign up. USU membership has been free for all students since 2019, but operates on an opt-in basis. 

An online election presents new challenges for candidates and their factions. In the absence of a physical campaign, classic tactics are now unavailable. There’s no knowing what such a campaign will bring — Zoom lecture bashes? Tik Toks? Only time will tell. 

This article will be updated as more information about the candidates comes in.

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