Authoritarianism in action: AUU board resolves to remove three directors

Words by Nicholas Birchall

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Artist interpretation of Ong’s behaviour this year. — “You are not just a clown, you are the whole circus”.

Monday this week (12/10), the AUU Board voted to remove directors Arabella Wauchope (Unite), Ella Shaw (Unite), and Ashely Jayasuriya (Activate).

To be removed as a board director, one must be voted out by a three-quarters absolute majority of sitting members at two separate meetings. Monday’s meeting marked the first time for both Shaw and Jayasuriya, and the second time for Wauchope, who was subsequently removed from her position, less than 50 days before the end of her two-year term.

These decisions occurred in-camera, meaning that any discourse surrounding them will not appear on any publicly available record, effectively shrouding the Board’s reasoning.

HOWEVER(!) On Dit can confirm that Wauchope was removed in relation to an Instagram post she made on her private account featuring a photo of, and calling out SRC President Oscar Zi Shao Ong (Progress), who played, and continues to play a pivotal role in blocking the Women’s Collective (a club Wauchope is heavily involved in) from AUU affiliation and funding.

It was alleged that her actions constituted misconduct, and that being sufficient grounds for dismissal.

Shaw and Jayasuriya are currently facing removal from the AUU board for their refusal to sign a statutory declaration saying that they:

“have not leaked, discussed or otherwise taken action that may have resulted in On Dit or any other media having knowledge of in-camera items.”

On Dit can confirm that we have not at any point discussed in-camera items with Shaw, Jayasuriya or Wauchope (although we’re not certain the rest of the AUU board cares).

This desire for a signed statutory declaration is apparently borne from the allegation that a sitting board member leaked to On Dit the result of votes held to determine the affiliation of the Pro-Choice club and Women’s Collective to the AUU.

However, the pretense for seeking a stat-dec on these grounds is inherently flawed.

A spokesperson from the AUU confirmed for On Dit that both representatives from the Women’s Collective and Pro-Choice Club were contacted by AUU staff, on direction from the board, regarding the outcome of their application, and the reasoning behind the board’s decisions.

This effectively made then decisions public, and no longer forbade directors from speaking about, or commenting on them.

It’s absolutely farcical then, that any attempt to make the decision-making process of the AUU board more transparent is met with such opposition from the sitting right-wing Connect and Progress majority.

The precedent for removing elected individuals was set earlier this year.

It’s a worrying trend that all those in opposition to the ruling regime continue to be forcibly removed from their roles over minutiae, and awkwardly interpreted statute.

The AUU and SRC continue to display their corrupt, authoritarian nature, and do not look like slowing down anytime soon.

My very frank advice to the top-secret AUU board, if you don’t want people to find out about your dodgy behaviour, stop behaving dodgily.

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Written by

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Nicholas Birchall, Felix Eldridge, Taylor Fernandez and Larisa Forgac. Email us at onditmag@gmail.com

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