USU Board candidate interview: Jiale Wang
Transcript of the interview with 2020 USU Board candidate, Jiale Wang.
Honi Soit: Great. So Let’s just get started. I’ll just start with some basic questions because some people might not have heard of you or your campaign before. So could you tell us your name, degree year, campaign colour and your slogan?
JW: Yeah. So, basically I am Wayne, and my Chinese name is Jiale Wang, and it is just my second year. The Pulp said that I am the third year student but I am not. It is just my second year to be in Sydney Uni. I am doing finance, business and analytics. My slogan is “Wayne is the way”. Uh..my colour.. the colour I am gonna use is mint green. If you need it, I can send the RGB decimal to your guys later.
HS: OK, sure. Who is your campaign manager?
JW: My campaign manager is Maria Ge. I also can send some details to your guys later. It is just her first year in Sydney Uni. But she just used to do volunteering and activities in CETs which are in the Centre of English Teaching.
HS: OK, I understand. Ranuka? Cool. So are you in a political party at all?
JW: Yeah. Actually I am in Panda now.
HS: OK. How long have you been in Panda for?
JW: Actually I have been in Panda for more than three semesters. Umm…Four semesters actually. So as the first time that I went to the Sydney Uni, I am from Panda and just tried to get evolved.
HS: Great. So have you been in a lot of being evolved in a lot of campaigns for Panda?
JW: Yeah. Actually I was evolved in the last campaign of the SRC election. And my team is Panda ACE. You guys can see on the SRC. In front of SRC, there is a table. Panda name is there.
HS: Did you campaign for other USU elections in the past?
JW: Yeah. Of course. I used to be volunteer of Benny’s election.
HS: OK. Benny’s from last year?
JW: Yeah, maybe. I forgot the time.
HS: Ok. Why are you running for USU Board?
JW: I think there are two main reasons. The first reason is that last year, I found that Benny is gonna introduce something that is interesting to the campus. It is a really good platform to do something. And another thing is that I found that something the USU has not done so well. So I want to make a change, and if you guys have time, I can talk more about those things what the USU has done not too well.
HS: We will go a bit later to talk about your specific policies, which are gonna run some general questions about USU first. Is that ok?
JW: I think that is OK.
HS: Following that, what do you think makes you better placed than some other candidates? Why should students vote for you specifically?
JW: Actually I am pretty experienced. I was getting involved in student politics and student activities like for four semesters, from the first year, first semester when I was in the Sydney Uni. And actually I just used to organise campus tours, a protest last year. I used to do several volunteers. I just cannot remember them by the times. Yes. I did a lot of things, and some activities are not like..you know..not the same thing that you organise it and gonna happen, and you need to consider a lot of things. I think experience is one of the things that I am kind of good at them.
HS: Could you give an example of a big event that you organised, or a protest?
JW: oh. yeah. Actually last year we organized a protest. I do not know how to show you guys the name, but I can show you guys the slogan. “Say it loud, say it clear, Chinese students are welcome here, say loud, say it clear, Muslim students are workers here.” It was in the Fisher library. I can show you guys pictures later.
HS: Yep I think I remember that.
JW: And also, in 2019, actually, early 2019 when I was the Global Solidairty Officer, I used to organise a small campus tour. But at that time, I had applied for a few funds for that. I remember that I spent for $150 dollars for organising a small campus tour. But, it is not that successful. Only 36 people got involved. I just took them to go around campus. We see some places, and we share some snacks, we share some ideas. I and I’m going to give them some information.
HS: OK. Fantastic. Which candidates are your favourites? And what candidates you think are least compatible with?
JW: Well it’s hard to say which candidates I dislike. If you like me to choose one. For the best choice, I personally like Amir. Do you guys know Amir?
HS: Yes. We know Amir.
JW: Actually, personally I like him. We used to talk before during these days. He is also an international student, and he doesn’t have much political preferences. I think he would be a really good choice to work with. The valuation of me and him are the same, not the same, umm..alike, yeah. And…
JW: Sorry do you mind if I talk more. Could I talk more? Sorry for interruptions.
HS: Yes. You can keep going.
JW: I am from Panda, right? Today we have got, we talked before, maybe this semester, I am not hundred percent sure, but for USU election, we tend not to work with other political factions. We are more likely to work with independent candidates.
HS: OK. Just in terms of that question, who are you the least favorite candidate? I know it is not a easy question to answer. But who is your idea most not matched with? Who would be one person who is the most different from you?
JW: To be honest, I just cannot answer this question. I think that’s my fault though because I have not totally understand them, and I haven’t contact with each other. So I mean, if you don’t know each other, why you say you hate someone, right? It is kind of weird. They all have their advantages, and they all want to do something to make some changes. OK. Let us talk about this later. I just cannot answer this question now.
HS: OK, yeah fair enough. Ranuka, do you want to start on some of the maybe financial related questions?
HS: Yeah. All good. So obviously USU is in the quite tricky financial situation due to COVID-19. If you had to cut 1 million dollars from the USU budget, where will you cut from?
JW: This question Pulp has asked me before, and I prepared for this. I know someone was like cut is MAD, Making A Difference, they’re going to cut from Debating. But for me, I still keep my opinion, I don’t want to cut any of them. I just want to do more for the marketing. The main purpose is… I mean, now we are asking where the money comes from. We are focusing, we are suffering from kind of financial crisis. So we need to focus on how to keep the cash flow, rather than how to cut the cash flow. For example, the main cash flow of the USU is from students, from their tuition fees, and from their daily purchases, right? So we should keep students around campus, and think of how to get them involved and engaged with us. Don’t make them feel that during the Coronavirus that “I don’t want to go to campus again. I want to defer or suspend.” That is not what we want. Personally for this question, I do not think we should cut each of them. We need to focus more on how to collect money. And if you have to make me choose one, I am gonna choose debating. Coz during this situation, you just cannot make a real debate person to person, you can only go around zoom, right? I am gonna cut a little bit for that. And for the MAD, it is not necessary, actually I still keep my opinion. We should bring more money outside, rather than cut inside. If you want to cut my salary, that’s OK.
HS: The USU does have other sorts of things. That is not specific clubs or societies. They have other sort of programs that they run, and companies that they run. One example, could be cutting from Incubate. Would you consider cutting money from Incubate?
JW: Actually I am interested in Incubate. I think it is a platform for the future entrepreneurs. I think that is a really good platform. I have not considered to cut the funds from that. Personally I am kind of interested in that. I am really interested in this kind of businesses and future programs, future projects. And yeah..so I haven’t considered about that. But if I am elected, I may consider later, but now I just don’t want to answer for this question, no.
HS: Do you know it is important to answer such questions for the election, because people need to understand what your position is, in order to vote for you? Obviously it is a bit difficult now. I appreciate your answer, but obviously for example you said that you try to engage with student politics. At this point, it is kind of possible to keep that cash flow going. Apart from debating, would you say there’s anything else that is less than necessary.
JW: No, I think every department is necessary here. Engaging students during this situation is really hard. We can talk about how we can engage more students later. Actually, I do have my basic opinions.
HS: Just one more financial question then. So recently a lot of staff were still done from the USU as a result from the decreasing money coming in. Do you agree with this situation? Do you think that it is necessary?
JW: Well, of course, during this situation, it is necessary. Uni has to cut some expenses to maintain the uni. But I think it needs to have some special services or some special treatment later in the future, when the situation will be getting better. For example, If I was fired only because of coronavirus, I may receive some job opportunity priorities in the future for around the Sydney Uni. Something like that. I mean, it is necessary to cut some money. But in the future, they should be treated better. They should be paid back. Do you guys know what I mean?
HS: Ok. Just a couple more questions about this particular situation. So last year, we obviously saw significantly change to the way that Access is funded. Obviously with Access becoming free when it used to be paid for. Do you think free Access was a good thing? Do you think it should still continue going forward especially considering…
JW: …Actually I think the free membership of ACCESS card is a really good thing. The first year that I was in Sydney Uni is free. I still cannot imagine what would happen if it is not free. I think in this situation, more and more students they tend to get involved into activities in USU. They get to know more about USU, and of course, the money from membership would decrease a little bit. I think this part of money can be raised in the future, when more and more students try to get involved in the USU’s activities. So for this particular situation, the advantage is more than the disadvantages.
HS: OK. Let’s talk now a little bit more about the University’s relationship with USU. Given the current financial situation, assuming the USU continued to operate at the loss. Would you support a University takeover for USU if that were to arise?
JW: Honestly, I haven’t done too much research about this kind of thing. I think it is not a responsible to answer this question. Cause I haven’t done too much research on this question. It is hard to answer.
HS: OK that’s fine. What about a broader question then? Do you think it is one of the USU jobs to take a stance on things that the University does? So make statements. For example, recently, we saw USU come out.
JW: Sorry. I am coughing. Could you say again?
HS: Do you think it is USU’s position to take a stance on what university does? For example, recently, we saw that USU takes the position against the Ramsey Centre which is supported by Univeristy. Do you think USU should take against certain things like the way that the University treats students during the COVID?
JW: Yeah, of course, like I think it is the USU’s job. The mission of the USU is to give students the best uni experience around Australia. If the uni has done something not matched with this mission, we are gonna say against them of course. I heard something about Ramsay building. But it is the thing before I came to uni. I still heard about that. So I think the USU has done a really good job. I mean, USU is not a follower of uni, USU should not be the leader, but USU needs at least to be diversified, and is an independent department. It is the heart of the uni life.
HS: Do you think USU should take a stance against the University’s use of Proctor? ProctorU?
JW: No actually. I don’t know how to say. You mean the application that how people do the exam, right? I think it is a way to protect the academic honesty. So I don’t think it is a bad thing. I kinda support that. I think it is the University’s responsibility to maintain the academic honesty and the quality of the whole uni’s teaching. So I think it is a good thing.
HS: OK. Cool. What is your opinion on how successful that current Board has been? And specifically what do you think Connor Wherrett’s presidency has been? Do you have a specific opinion? Has it been Good or bad? have a specific policy?
JW: And actually this is another question that I want to mention is about the transparency. It is hard to say it is good or bad because the the only way I can know about USU is through website the USU report. But the report, I think, is too limited. Here’s the thing, I don’t know too much about USU even though I try hard to search on website. So that is the thing I can change. I don’t know him too much. I can only know him from the report, from the social media. That is not objective at all.
HS: That relates to one of your policy points about which is about transparency with reports being on the USU website. Do you want to elaborate that a little bit?
JW: Oh. yeah.
HS: Sorry. One of your policies is about increasing transparency within USU, such as like having more specific working reports on multiple platforms, besides the USU website. Do you want to explain your policy a little bit?
JW: Yeah. Of course. This policy is coming from my personal experiences. Like every year with some candidates who only state their policies but did nothing. It’s true, right? So we need to state against them. I think everyone should be more engaged in these activities. In my opinion, as a board director, you need to take your responsibility. You get paid. So I just wanna like to make more online multiple forms to make it possible to positively show what we have done to students. The first thing is that, by using… Umm. sorry..I get a call from Facebook. I’ll just mute it. Sorry. One minute. Oh my god. OK OK. Here. The first advantage is that for more and more students, if they can know what USU has done, they are more likely and more willing to get involved, and we will get more and more members of USU. That is one more thing is that I just wanna make it as a way to monitor board directors, to monitor candidates, to monitor people. We need to positively post what candidates have done, rather than just write a report, and post it on the USU website. I think not too much people they are likely to have a look at the report on the USU website. But what if we are sending them or have we reposted them to multiple platforms like on the Facebook website or Wechat. Using different languages to let everyone know what they have done, and let them join us. I think it is a really good process. I also considered about money situation. For every policy, you need to consider where does money come from. For making this process, it will not cost a lot. It just like to build online platforms, and to try to get a good system, to to monitori, not monitor, or try to control or try to let people know about board directors, the whole Board and USU.
HS: Alright. Let’s just follow on from this question, a little more on this question before we dive into your policies. Given that the USU presidential election will not come soon, but will come in the future. Who will get your vote out of current Board members if you are voting for the presidential election. We know that Benny and Nick are considering running. Who would get your vote?
HS: Totally understandable. Shall we move on to your policy then? What would you say is your overall policy priority?
JW: Should be transparency and.. yeah..should be transparency in priority.
HS: OK. Your policy statement is quite short, compared to a lot of other candidates whose statements are really long and in depth. I was just wondering if you just thought more deeply about your policies and why it is that you got such a short statement?
HS: OK kinda building on top what Ranuka has said. Your policy statement obviously said that you have a longer one in the works, which is fine. Some of them seem a little bit vague. So I was wondering maybe you can talk us through how you intend to do some of these things. For example, “protect the fairness among club and societies, and services for small clubs and societies (fairness is not equal to average). What do you think is the problem, currently with clubs and societies, and what are you actually going to do to improve them?
JW: Yeah, actually this I’m gonna say is based on my personal experiences. As I just write down on form, from the nomination form, I’m from, I’m from Chinese Martial Arts Club, which is a really tiny club, and we don’t have much sponsorship, we don’t have like, we don’t have too much membership. We can only, we cannot read any place to do exercise so we have to do exercise on the Victoria Park every Saturday and Sunday. And, I mean, it’s like on, isn’t that interesting but I think, we deserve better things. Compared with other big clubs and societies, they have much more opportunities to get sponsorships and funds to apply for fund. Sometimes they can co-work with USU, they can co-work with the whole uni. So, I think that one of the mission of USU is to encourage and keep the diversity around the uni, so I don’t want to let that around, I don’t want to let that around the clubs societies. I don’t want to let that monopoly to exist. So, I think for some for some small clubs, they need some special protections. And that’s one more reason why this, I think that these different clubs and societies is that they have different interesting, they have different meaning, or sometime they have different political preferences, it’s true. So, there must be some, like, minority groups exist, which means they are less, umm…there are not too much person who are interested but there are still some person. So I think we need to protect them. We need to make them exist, rather than, like, make them disappear. Okay, I think that’s not a mission of USU. So, um, I still want to say a colorful USU, you know, not just USU for big clubs and societies. And it’s true like society, just one more thing. First of all, I think that like the gap is getting better and it’s getting bigger and bigger. Yeah. So we need to do some adjustments. We need to do something.
HS: Okay, so what are some steps or actions that you would initiate as a board director, that you could do to help this?
JW: Oh, you mean like what should? What should I do, right?
HS: Yeah, what would you do.
JW: Okay. Yeah, well actually it’s really it’s really hard to like just give money directly to them, it’s kind of it’s really hard, especially during this financial crisis situation. So all I think we can like, do more. For example we can post, can post more information about these small clubs and societies on the USU website, not just for big clubs and societies. And we can co-work with more smaller clubs and societies, not just that big club societies as before. And now I mean like this when they’re all they can be. These small groups can be like more popular, and more people kind of know them around campus, and we ask who’s happy with this. They will get more support in the future, and the folder offers the details like all the specific things we are going to do. We are going to like, leave a space, I’m going to leave a space, like advertise space for on the USU website, for the use of clubs and societies, and that is just for small clubs and the societies. Especially with relatively big, it was relatively like high quality and members that they don’t have right to use that small space, but only for like small spaces. And for how to marry small and big. Um, I think, I think there’s two ways, like the membership and the activity they organise before. So I think, here’s two things that we can marry and we can recognise small clubs and societies. Yeah.
HS: Okay. Um, one of your other policy statements is about improving the efficiency of the management of the working process between clubs and societies and the USU. Do you have any specific ways you’re intending on doing this?
JW: Actually not. Because firstly, I try to search for how to, like, apply for funds, for applying for something and all these things. And the things I can say it’s just like every president of the clubs and the societies, they can see it that gets more information. So, all what I’m going to do that. What if I was elected, I am going to do more research or I’m going to like to know more about this internally. I’m gonna go with more internal information about this. I mean, only, only based on information from both sides of it, is how to make a decision, how to simplify the process, so I’m going inside. I’m gonna like to find the complex things that are covered.
HS: Yeah, so, one of the difficulties from the outside. Then, in your opinion, from your opinion from your perspective. Now, what is holding it back.
JW: Oh, actually it depends on a lot of different situations. For example, the working days. If I want to organise an activity in two weeks, it takes three weeks to get to the money from the USU, for example. So working days, and the money application is like really hard. Yeah, I just don’t know why because the rents of the sports centre is like really really high. So the money, the amount, that amount of money, maybe it’s like a little bit. Um, you know it’s not enough, especially for smaller clubs. And so yeah, money, and people working hour.
HS: Okay. Um just one more question on the vagueness of the policies once again. So I notice here that many of your policies have been brought up in the past by past candidates. In fact, they’re very popular policies, a lot of the candidates that are running this year are also running, so things like you know improving campus services, improving things, generally making things better that already exist, but do you think you’ll bring anything new or innovative to the table that other people aren’t bringing?
JW: Well, actually, let’s say that we don’t need to bring things new. We need to do something right, or we need to do something not just say something. That’s why I’m gonna, I said before, I’m going to talk about not just about what I’m going to do and how am I going to do, and I know you’re going to ask about the policy of like building the hot water stations right?
HS: Possibly yeah sure.
JW: Yeah, so, just based on this specific process, I’m going to have all kinds of plans in details, for example, on sort of where we can put the hot water stations. The answers is around the USU stores, and around the uni market. The Union market held by USU, and a question was where the money comes from. The answer is that it’s not free for anyone. It’s just free for the USU membership. And for others who want to collect hot waters. They need to pay ten cents, like a small amount of money, and for the for the real amount of money, or for the real price of this, I’m gonna, like, in the future, I’m going to review or ask more information about the cost of building the hot water station in the USU stores, to decide the the price of the hot water. Actually, I want to say that I want to say that, at least it can be a break even. So I don’t like to just give. I don’t want to make a lot of loss. If I was elected, I represent students. I also represent a part of USU. I need to take responsibility to both of these. Yeah.
HS: Okay. And just as a question on your “promote the cultural diversity on the knowledge basis” you provided an example here, providing Turkey during Thanksgiving, which is obviously an American holiday. And it’s also one that obviously not many people celebrate in Australia. But why do you think, for example, providing turkey during Thanksgiving is a useful thing for the USU to be doing, specific.
JW: No, actually, I didn’t mention that serving turkey is necessary in Australia, actually what I wanna mention is that the thing like serving turkey is not enough, it’s not appropriate. Because, like for example for me, I’m an international student. I think I can explain it, like more, you know, for me, I’m an international student, so it is my first time to go to another country for education. So I tried lots of new things. And I celebrated more like unique festivals here. But I think that makes me interested in the Australian culture, itself, not the same thing that culture generated. For example, turkey, for example, the moon cake of mid-autumn festival. I used to provide moon cakes around Eastern Avenue last year. It’s an activity hosted by SRC. Do you guys know that?
HS: No. Could you explain?
JW: Yeah, well this is a simple small activity that was like handing out with mooncakes during the Mid Autumn Festival. And the one thing I found which is weird is that, we just give mooncakes, and they will just take them. OK it’s good, but they still don’t know too much about the culture behind this. So I think the main purpose is, I think, to maintain or encouraging diversity. We don’t need to give this specific thing with respect to the specific festival to students, we need to let people know the information to know the culture behind that festival. I think this is going to cost less, and it’s gonna make the school more vivid, more diversify. Okay so again to answer this question, serving the turkey is not the best way to get to let people know Thanksgiving days, but tell people why we celebrate Thanksgiving days, and the culture behind them is a way to make sense giving them go into the campus.
HS: Yeah. So how do you intend to do that like with posters or with, you know…
JW: Well, actually that’s, um, it’s kind of, personally, it’s kind of easy, it’s kind of easy. Because, um, because we can do, like we can two things. First, of all by using multiple online platforms to do more to post more information about that. I am not gonna to say that. So the second thing is that we can come up to the Mid Autumn Festival. And there are some mooncakes around the USU stores. How about we have, we just like, for example, we add one more like what more tips like or one more paper about festivals, to the moon cakes, or we put them together. So when people purchase the moon cakes when people have a look, they can, they can easily see all of them. They can easily, they can easily find the culture or find information behind them. Do you mind I talk more about this?
HS: Um, yeah, yeah just.
JW: Yeah. And also, like, as I mentioned before, I want them like try to engage, I’ll try to like make more small clubs and societies to get engaged, so maybe we can get involved in this activity, for example, on during the Mid-autumn festival, I can, I can try to anyway I can try to invite some small groups about like, for example like Chinese dancing groups, Chinese dancing society, which is also a tiny, which is also small, relatively small clubs. We can invite them to like to give a dance in public on Eastern Avenue, and we serve the mooncakes. We also serve the information. We also give the poster to students. I think that’s a really good thing. Yeah.
HS: Okay, Ranuka. Do you get any further questions?
HS: Oh no, I think you’ve answered everything pretty well.
HS: I think I might just have one more.
JW: So give me one second. Something is wrong with my earphone.
HS: So I’ve just got one question left basically, which is that you know as a candidate representing Panda, which political ideas do you think you’ve inherited from old Panda, and what do you think you can improve about, about Panda?
JW: Well actually, as a new Panda, actually I think I can be responsible to what I’m going to say, I did not inherit basically anything from the old Panda. From, the old Panda, at that time, it was just my first year. I was just volunteer there. I know too little about the Panda. When I grow up, when I get more involved, when I became the executive of Panda, something is a really, a little bit far from the truth. I am gonna make some changes. I am personally want to make some changes. So I think some opinions of mine is really different from old Panda. I am gonna make Panda be more engaged, and more diversified. And so, if I um, so I don’t think I inherit too much from the old Panda.
HS: Yeah, if you were to be elected as a board director though, do you think that politics plays a part in your role?
JW: Actually I’m gonna like, yeah, actually I’m gonna like treat it separately. I mean, of course when we’re gonna on like um, we’re gonna keep the value of the valuation of things of myself, which is, which is like fight for the right of domestic and international student. Well, I’m going to keep these valuations in mind, I’m gonna like do things with respect to these kind of opinions kind of nations these kinda learn, but I’m not gonna like, add too much political things to the USU. The USU is more like uni life, it’s not the place to to do student politics. As I say, you know,
HS: The USU has done political things in the past.
JW: Yeah, I know. Yeah, yeah so but isn’t enough. I don’t want to add to it. Yeah, and more in the future.
HS: Okay, well thanks so much. That’s all I ask. Did you want to add anything at the end, from yourself or?
JW: Well actually I think that’s it.