Your SRC and YouX Board Candidates Are Under A Weird Gag Order.

Words by Habibah Jaghoori

A memory.

It’s the most wonderful time of year here at the degree factory, sorry, The University of Adelaide. This election week looks very different from last year’s elections mainly because the coalition to boot the right-winger, anti-democratic and university management bootlicking factions is no longer, but rather, certain a UNITEy has happened with these factions instead. But that’s a different story.

I am here to tell you that all the candidates you see on the ground are under a gag order. It’s a weird, non-descript, gaslighty and absolute authoritarian rule that has been imposed on all the SRC and YouX board candidates.

Last YouX board meeting saw a Schedule 4 amendment pass successfully with Unite members Grace Franco and Felix Eldridge voting against it.

Schedule 4 means that all candidates and affiliates of the YouX UNION must adopt and represent the new rebrand. They must enhance the reputation of the rebrand. They cannot use the old, beloved, historical and politically powerful Adelaide University Union Brand.

Shitty, but unsurprising stuff coming from current Progress YouX board President Oscar Ong.

During the candidates’ briefing, however, candidates were warned that all comments about the rebrand must be supportive and any criticism of the rebrand or any comments regarding who was responsible for the rebrand (it was Progress and Swipe Right) will cause them to be sanctioned. This is a gag order at its finest.

Photocopy of candidates briefing slide

On Dit believes in free speech so we went out to see what your candidates think about Schedule 4.

How does Schedule 4 impact your ability to participate in student unionism?

Schedule 4 is anathema to full and free participation for all students in the elections. It not only limits what students can say about the rebrand during the election, and potentially excludes many students from running or campaigning at all. The broad scope and vaguely defined nature of the schedule will also leave many students feeling as though a Sword of Damocles is hanging over them during the elections, should they dare to criticise the decisions of their infallible board directors.

SRC Mature Age Officer Left Action Candidate Edgar Daniel-Richards

What is your position on Schedule 4?

After having a candidate’s briefing on Tuesday for the upcoming student elections we were informed that pursuant to this schedule, no candidate shall speak of the rebrand in any negative light. My interpretation of this schedule is one of complete authoritarianism, limiting the political activity of unelected students is not the business of a student body, particularly one that in its past represented student unionism. To censor students and candidates in an election period, on a rebranding that has received immense backlash that extends beyond the university is dumfounding. To not be allowed to criticize something that had inadequate student consultation, went against the advice of university management, and was throughout the whole process, completely untransparent is dictatorial.

SRC Rural Officer and YouX Board Director Grassroots candidate Liam Johns

How do you think Schedule 4 represents student unionism?

The Adelaide University Union still exists as the legal name for YouX and Schedule 4 acknowledges this. Unite has previously criticised the rebrand as an attack on student unionism, but schedule 4 is more focused on bureaucracy.

Schedule 4 portrays student unionism with all the respect that a bureaucratic document can; boring and plain. Student unionism has always been about the people involved and the collective of students behind them, not boring documents. Student unionism will continue at Adelaide University with or without Schedule 4.

SRC President Unite Candidate and SRC Queer Officer Unite Candidate Georgia Thomas and Billy Zimmermann.

Oscar Ong was reached out to for a comment, but he ignored On Dit.

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Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Grace Atta, Jenny Jung & Chanel Trezise. Get in touch: onditmag@gmail.com