Student government elections are this week and end Friday. Different positions are up for election on the ARC board. Students in green and red attire, Activate and Voice, respectively, have been campaigning since Monday to raise awareness and sway voters. Here’s a short bit of what went on today, beside barbecues.
Wednesday, Activate was banned from campaigning all day because of a violation. According to the ARC, Activate had a graduate, non-student, campaigning for them on campus, which is against the rules and could have resulted in disqualifications. Instead, the governing board ruled a one day suspension.
Activate posted on their Facebook page their frustration with the ruling, but their understand and therefore obliged to comply. The Facebook post referred to the sentence as a “harsh and unjust decision.” They added on a comment the reason for Activate’s public stance. “The Regulation is not directed at honest mistakes where a single student, unilaterally and under the misapprehension that they were allowed to campaign, puts on a shirt and talks to students.” They noted that in the interest of time, Activate will not further comment on that Facebook post, but would be willing to send their appeal to those interested. The Facebook post is as seen below.
Scroll through Tharunka’s website, they have yet to post anything about the student elections. This brief is barely a sample size of what would go on during election times with News for UNSW. The student-run, independent newspaper could operate as the lead reporting press on student elections. This is good not only for those who like to read, write and report on politics, but it is good for ARC and the UNSW community at whole. Student turnout for elections is notoriously weak. But these students do not have anywhere to go to learn about the candidates, beyond how many more free sausages and beers can red-shirted people give out over green-shirted people.
Reading about local politics builds community and engagement. The more people who know about the election, the better it will be. The election would become more democratic, with only the best and well-prepared candidates likely to run and able to win. The popularity contest would shrink and suddenly the issues these students are campaigning on would become front and center. This is important for UNSW and could easily form a stronger, tighter community at uni, regardless if you go to college or are on board with ARC.