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USU Board candidates 2021: Nicholas Comino

Honi's profile and interview with 2021 USU Board candidate Nicholas Comino.

Slogan: Comeback with Comino

Colour: Pink

Quiz score: 56%

Faction: Moderate Liberal

Nicholas Comino talks big about reviving student life at USyd. His slogan, “Comeback with Comino”, is premised on Comino’s feeling that campus experience was “lousy” even pre-COVID-19. He claims USyd’s social life used to be “one of the best,” saying that the Manning Party should have “played music that people like” — a stance which will no doubt prove extremely controversial.

However, Comino did not provide detail about his policies, only opposing the new C&S funding model based on his extensive Chocolate Society subcommittee experience. He did mention a laudable policy of rapid HIV/STI testing (also offered at UQ), which aims to provide healthcare access for students who are financially reliant on their families, particularly “international students.” Students need to see more from Comino, however, given he has made campus life a focal point of his campaign.

While Comino is a Conservative Club Vice-President, and managed Nick Rigby’s USU campaign last year, his answers reveal a politically diverse stance. He has “no qualms” about the USU taking political stances (but would defer to the SRC’s expertise in activism), would be okay with the USU opposing 12-week semesters (which he justifies as relating to the broader student experience) and wouldn’t have a problem with USU outlets closing for climate strikes “if that’s what the Board decided to do,” sidestepping his personal position. He “likes [his fellow candidates] a lot” and would be open to voting for any Presidential candidate. One wonders if Comino’s affable, “no worries” attitude may not translate to effective advocacy for his priorities on Board.

He would have cut wages “from the top first” before staff hours during COVID-19, but moderated this statement by acknowledging that there existed “uncertainty if the USU could survive that period.” He echoed concerns about the Board’s eagerness for conducting in-camera meetings, and said that Directors of Student Publications shouldn’t influence Pulp’s editorial decisions. While Comino has a wide support base that includes the colleges and delivered a reasonable quiz performance, voters will need more than non-committal, broadly populist stances to be assured of his effectiveness.

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