Election Editorial // Who’s who in the student elections

NOTE: This content was scheduled for Issue 6 of the On Dit print edition, which we aimed to publish before the election cycle. We apologise for the delay, and hope that it informs the decision of those students who have yet to vote.

Editorial: Stand for something or fall for anything

Words by Stasi Kapetanos

Everyone’s favourite time of the year has finally arrived, and by this, of course, I mean Student Elections!

While a number of student elections take place throughout this time of the year, the most important ones which we all sorta know about because of the colorfully-dressed campaigners everywhere are the elections to the Adelaide University Union (AUU) Board and Student Representative Council (SRC).

The SRC represents students in certain university committees and exercises political advocacy, while the AUU Board controls the funding of clubs, student services, and even the SRC itself. While lots of spectacle will seem to be centred around the race for the SRC positions, the AUU Board is actually much more powerful.

If you are like most students, you probably have a very limited knowledge of what these institutions really do (oftentimes I don’t either). Don’t let this get you down and stop you from getting involved. To be fair, lots of the AUU Board’s activity is done in secret to keep us in the dark, but the SRC is actually kind of open about their tomfoolery.

Plus, not really knowing what is going on and still voting on it is an important part of being an adult in representative democracies like Australia, one of the few civic virtues left that holds this country together. It’s also not a bad time to figure out your values and what you believe in for future elections. Who knows? You may find that you have to stand up for those values one day.

When it comes to exercising your totally voluntary duty to vote or not vote, one should consider who they’re voting for, what they aim to accomplish, and why. Consider your options; there are lots of them, and you would have to be a very eccentric individual to decide not to vote because you like or hate them all equally.

Think about the consequences of electing people like this into offices, both on campus and potentially outside of it one day — are you sure you are making the right decision?

Finally, are you doing this for the right reasons? Voting for someone because you think it will end constant debate and conflict, or make you feel better than everyone else, or just to own feminists or whatever, is probably not going to help anyone — least of all you!

The factions

Words by candidates

Affiliated with: Adelaide University Labor Club

Unite is a progressive force on campus that wants the best outcomes for students; be that great services by funding more clubs, expanding the free breakfast program, or fighting for your education against Vice-Chancellor Hoj’s plan to merge the faculties, cut staff, and gut the amount of courses. Our representatives have been also fighting for your education by standing up against the implementation of ProctorU.

Our candidates are students who know how to reinvigorate campus culture. They are members of our Clubs community and are disappointed in the direction of our student union. To bring back campus culture, we will fight for better deals at food outlets and give clubs more money and autonomy to run great events.

At a time when education has not only been devastated by COVID-19 but is actively under attack, it is shameful that Progress would rather focus their attention on fighting the culture wars by removing the word ‘Union’ from the AUU (Adelaide University Union).

Over the past 2 years, we have seen Progress not affiliate the Women’s Collective, Pro-Choice Club, or the Endometriosis Society to the AUU. Women’s rights are more important than the political games of Progress.

Under the current leadership, the AUU has been rapidly losing transparency. Unite wants to stop this dangerous slip, because in the end, it is your student money funding our union. We need to reduce the amount of time that Board Meetings are held in closed session and make the decision-making process transparent for all students to observe and have their opinions heard. Progress has barred Club presidents from Clubs Committee meetings, as well as removing democratically-elected Board Members.

Unite will stand up for the quiet students in the face of culture warriors on both sides of politics prosecuting agendas that are not in students’ interests.

Affiliated with: Socialist Alternative Club

The SRC is dominated by authoritarian Trump-wannabes who stifle all debate. We need to take it back from them and save our union.

Left Action fights to tackle social injustice and inequality, both on and off campus, all year round. Unlike other teams, we don’t have any candidates from major political parties.

We’re dedicated to fighting racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia and all the shit that comes with capitalism.

We want freedom for refugees. We fight for full abortion rights and expanded services. We organise in solidarity with Palestine, and against Israeli apartheid — we demand Adelaide Uni cut ties with arms dealers complicit in Israel’s war crimes.

Left Action is also running for the SRC to fight to defend our education. Vice-Chancellor Peter Høj is pushing for faculty mergers and staff cuts. These proposals will further trash education quality, and turn Adelaide Uni into little more than a degree factory.

Our Presidential candidate, Ana Obradovic, wants the SRC to dedicate its resources to building left wing protests and to resist attacks on our education.

Our candidates won’t have polite discussions with the VC behind closed doors. The SRC should stand up to management and say: enough is enough! Universities should not be run like businesses.

To support the ed campaign, a Left Action SRC will demand:

- No course cuts, staff cuts, or faculty mergers.

- Stop wage theft and casualisation — our teachers deserve better.

- Cut the VC’s salary to match the average University worker.

We are in the midst of a climate emergency. Left Action activists want an SRC that will fight for climate justice. And that doesn’t mean going along with the Uni’s lame corporate greenwashing projects. The Uni is part of the problem, welcoming horror partnerships with the fossil fuel companies that are destroying the planet. We will fight to make the Uni cut its ties with Santos and other polluters.

Vote Left Action for an activist SRC!

Affiliated with: Multicultural clubs (loosely)

Progress is a team of apolitical, multicultural and genuine students who strive to bring an end to the damaging influence of political factionalism on the effective representation of students. We bring together honest and hardworking leaders of strong student communities that have been misrepresented and undervalued and empower them to better represent their unique groups.

Just in 2020–21, Progress helped deliver these outcomes for students:

  • Increased safety of students in public transport;
  • Roll-out of the National Student Safety Survey Campaign & the Consent Matters course;
  • Improvement of security signage and more panic buttons;
  • Made first responder/responding to disclosures compulsory for all student leaders;
  • Large courses will be better supported (more teaching resources);
  • Exam grade curving;
  • Fixing myuni issues;
  • Stopping ProctorU for 2020 Semester 2;
  • Fixing MechEng Dynamics;
  • Transparency for Semester 2 exams;
  • Assessment extension or replacement for students affected by COVID-19;
  • Abolishing the hurdle component of OSCE, Comp Sci exams;
  • Relocating security next to Hub Central;
  • Face-to-face teaching returning;
  • Operational Hub Lockers;
  • Repaired facilities in the prayer room and extended space for Jummah prayers,;
  • More writing centre support;
  • Free student flu vaccinations;
  • PNG (previously NGP) & WNF for 2020;
  • Student Support Packages;
  • 60 days HDR scholarship extensions;
  • Free international students visa extensions;
  • Internships for engineering students;
  • Increased Indigenous HDR scholarships;
  • Refund of accommodation fees for students that went home;
  • Keeping the Roseworthy Union shop open, with increased bus time and lecture room upgrades;
  • Student engagement through Q&As;
  • Better anti-sexual harassment efforts from the University

We will continue advocating for changes that make a real difference to your life. Progress will fight against ProctorU, work for better education, and strive to support security and stability amid COVID-19. Vote for Progress!

Affiliated with: Adelaide University Greens Club

Grassroots is a brand new Greens-affiliated student politics presence on campus. We are dedicated to left-wing political action and representation on campus. Grassroots intends to take a strong stance against any cuts and mergers proposed to the University; education ought to not be run like a business, and it is our role as students to stand against such attempts. This includes demanding the University Executive take significant pay cuts. We also intend to push the University towards strengthening their ties with renewable industries and offering ECMS students increased opportunities within the renewable sector.

We believe that students should not be disadvantaged in their studies for any reason and that it is the University’s responsibility to ensure students are given all the tools they need to thrive in their academic pursuits. That is why we are prioritising students with disabilities, and students who live in regional areas whose studies are impacted due to things out of their control. We believe access plans should be streamlined and made more accessible for all students who are struggling, and that the University’s councillors should be able to sign off on access plans. We also believe regional students should have their own access plan that takes into account the strains of lengthy transit times on one’s work output.

It is Grassroots’ belief that the SRC and AUU should not shy away from being political or from commenting on broader political issues. They should function as bodies of student activists committed to advocating for real positive, progressive change both on and off-campus. We intend to take on this responsibility and provide the University of Adelaide with strong Greens representatives on campus.

Affiliated with: Adelaide University Liberal Club

Connect is all about you. Given that your money funds the AUU and SRC, we firmly believe that it should be put towards improving your university experience: more events, stronger support and better services.

Crucially, Connect has a proven track record of delivering on its promises. Over the past year we have championed a carbon neutral future, secured record funding for Stress Less Week, actively worked to achieve sexual assault reform, supported the LGBTQIA+ community by taking real action, assisted in developing UofA’s landmark Disability Inclusion Action Plan and backed rural students with strong SRC representation. We see you, we hear you, we are committed to serving you.

We want you to study in an environment that is supportive, sustainable and safe. The UofA is currently undergoing several transitions and it is critical that your student representatives be proactive and continue to advocate for YOUR interests.

For an exciting, vibrant, and sustainable student union that works for you, vote [1] Connect for AUU — the green team on campus!

Affiliated with: Labor Left

(Activate has elected to offer their views on the more prominent issues and political topics on campus: Ed.)

The distribution and necessity of the Student Services Amenities Fee (SSAF)

SSAF is supposed to be used to provide support services, to make the university a safe and welcoming environment, to give students a voice on campus and to make them feel heard. SSAF is paid by students currently studying at the uni. It should be spent on bettering the experiences and care of these students with their input on how that looks.

University’s proposed ‘restructure’, including merging faculties and up to 130 job cuts

It has been evident over the last year that online learning is extremely detrimental to student life, the quality of education has dropped and uni social life has disappeared. The University Admin are treating this university as a money making scheme rather than what it actually is first and foremost, an education provider.

Current anti-SASH measures and the advocacy role of the Adelaide University Union (AUU)

The university needs to be doing all it can to combat sexual assault and sexual harrasment on campus and efforts to stop it occurring fall also are the responsibility of the AUU. Wherever the AUU has the ability, resources and time it should ensure that students are represented, protected and kept safe on campus.

AUU’s non-affiliation of the Pro-Choice Club and the Women’s Collective

The AUU’s decision not to affiliate the Pro-Choice Club and Women’s Collective is blatantly political. The AUU has affiliated Life Choices, an anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia club, but won’t affiliate the Pro-Choice Club as the logical antithetical club in debates around a woman’s right to chose. In the case of the Women’s Collective it’s even more political. The SRC has affiliated the Women’s Collective (WoCo), and appointed the SRC Women’s Officer as it’s President, directly against the wishes of the WoCo. From the outside it appears the current AUU is placing their thumbs on the scales in these debates by providing one side with AUU benefits and leaving the others out in the cold.

Federal Government’s threat to prevent student unions from using funds in an ‘overtly political manner’

The federal government is showing it’s cowardice when it attacks leadership shown by student unions. In a time where we are being ravaged by covid, once again, due to the lack of leadership being shown at the top, for them to attack student unions for running counter to their ideology shows where their heads are at. Student unions are overtly political; fighting for the rights of students, especially in the face of attacks not only from University management but our own federal government necessitates that.

Proposal for the Vice-Chancellor to take a paycut

In a time when the University is claiming it’s so financially jeopardized that it needs to enact sweeping cuts and restructures the fact that the VC is still taking home a huge salary is infuriating, so of course the VC should take a paycut.

Student activism and SRC’s responsibility to comment on broader political issues

The SRC exists to advocate on behalf of students. Whether those issues are occurring on or off campus but still hold relevance to the interests of students they should be able to fight alongside them.

Proctored online exams

There are many legitimate concerns to be had with proctored online exams and pushing ahead with them before these are resolved is incredibly unfair on students burdened by them.

The rebranding of the AUU, which would retire the term ‘Union’

Union busting is disgusting wherever it happens — simple as that.

What are you waiting for? Polls close at 4pm Friday, so get on the AUU’s website and VOTE.

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Ivan Jankovic, Stasi Kapetanos, Isobel Moore, and Michelle Roylance. Get in touch: onditmag@gmail.com