A very AUU Christmas: Gag orders on left-aligned SRC, Board Director resigns
Words by On Dit staff
Following a landslide victory for the left coalition in the 2021 student election, the 2022 Student Representative Council will have their work cut out for them.
The Progress and Liberal-aligned Adelaide University Union Board has voted to restrict the SRC’s power to publicly criticise the Board in an unprecedented attack on the peak student representative body. No public notice was issued on any of the AUU’s communication channels.
During a Board meeting on Wednesday 24 November, the AUU’s Interaction with the Media Policy was quietly amended:
6. Student Representative Council
6.1. SRC staff and SRC elected representatives must not comment to the media and/or On Dit on an issue that involves any other Schedule 2 affiliate, department, AUU Board or AUU service other than the SRC.
Previously, this section made no reference to the AUU, nor On Dit.
SRC President-elect Ana Obradovic has historically criticised the AUU for failing to take an activist stance. This measure will severely curtail the SRC’s ability to criticise the Progress-dominated Board and associated committees, which have ousted their political opponents, refused to affiliate a Women’s Collective, and thwarted the power of students to call democratic referendums.
Several incoming SRC members have refused to comment on university affairs to On Dit in light of these changes, fearing repercussions. From tomorrow, 6 of the 10 AUU Board Directors will be affiliated with either Progress or Connect (i.e. the Liberal ticket). Stupol veteran Oscar Ong will step into the President role, taking home a $30k honorarium for the top job.
In the October Board meeting, Ong moved to give the Board power to suspend the SRC President’s honorarium for “failure of carrying out their duties or misconduct.” This came shortly after Obradovic narrowly trounced Ong for the 2022 SRC presidency.
Obradovic was ousted from the Board in May for likening Vice-President Isaac Trumble to disgraced former Attorney-General Christian Porter. Obradovic called Trumble a “misogynist creep” on social media after he wrote to SA electoral offices encouraging them to vote down the abortion decriminalisation bill.
The email was undersigned with his official AUU signature, which Trumble claimed was an oversight.
Current AUU President Angela Qin has yet to respond to a request for comment.
Following a snap Board meeting today, Unite (i.e. Labor Right) Board Director, Billy Zimmermann, tendered his resignation after a lengthy in camera session.
Zimmermann refused to comment on the specifics, but gave the following brief statement.
“After a year of incredible unpleasantness by the AUU Board, I tendered my resignation today.
“I entered student politics thinking I would be able to improve the welfare of students. But all I saw was devious political manoeuvring to the detriment of students and the university community.
“The AUU has so much potential but is being let down by the current administration. I am glad to step down and look forward to acting as the SRC General Secretary where I can make a real difference to students.”
Zimmermann has been an outspoken critic of the AUU’s rebranding project, with more details to be revealed by On Dit in the coming days. He could not comment on whether this is connected to his resignation.
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