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September 24, 2018 | by  | in News Splash | [ssba]

VUWSA Elections: Who’s Who?

Last week, the Candidates’ Forum in the Hub offered VUW students an opportunity to hear VUWSA candidates speak.
Around 50-70 people attended the event, which was MCed by Salient FM. The themes of student engagement, sexual violence, and mental health were recurring throughout the speeches. The forum fell on the 125 anniversary of women’s suffrage. More than half of the candidates were women. There was a diverse group of candidates, including four Māori candidates, a mature student, and second generation immigrants.
Presidential candidate Beth Paterson spoke strongly about bringing clubs under VUWSA administration for funding and wellbeing services. Presidential candidate Tamatha Paul spoke of hosting mental health workshops, saying “silence is the enemy of change.”
There were three contestants for the academic Vice-President role. Hassan Tariq was a no-show. Dharma Bratley and Geo Robrigado both admitted to a lack of experience sitting on academic boards and going through nitty-gritty policies, but a willingness to learn.
Delia Fu, unopposed candidate for Treasurer-Secretary, and Josephine Dawson, unopposed for Engagement VP, both had well prepared speeches and platforms despite running unopposed.
The third unopposed candidate, apparent Campaigns Officer Finn Carroll, didn’t think it necessary to give a speech, much less show up.
It is extremely rare for an unopposed candidate to lose to a “no confidence” vote.
All three Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer candidates, Kellee Candy, Kimberly McIntyre, and Samantha Mythen, expressed enthusiasm for environmental and ethical change. Sam let her enthusiasm take her as far as to quote MLK’s “I have a dream” speech.
Each candidate for Equity Officer outlined their plans for inclusion and student representation. G Hanley-Steemers talked about his experiences of discrimination from being gay in Singapore.
Komal Singh wants the rep groups to be more diverse and open to people, and will create a second generation immigrants rep group. Tahua Pihema had done her research and talked to presidential candidate and current exec member. Rhianna Morar, who’s running for Welfare VP, sat on VUWSA this year as Education Officer, Her opponent, Anthony Wilson, was the only mature student.
Michael Turnbull and Millie Osborne are in the running for Clubs and Activities Officer. Everything about Michael screams “first year” and he has leaned fully into this, using tui (the bird and the beer) as a campaign platform. Millie only joined a club for the first time this year and clearly cares a lot about other students not missing out on clubs because they don’t know how to join or miss clubs day. She aims to change this. Both candidates seemed ignorant of the current push to bring clubs under VUWSA management.
And last but not least, the candidates for Education Officer gave the spiel about why they deserve students’ votes. Katie Ollerenshaw was extremely fixated on the details of the assessment handbook. Rinaldo Strydom focused on the idea of holistic student support. Abigail Hussy wants to work closely with the AVP, and to make the policy around grading more clear.
The audience sizzled out as the event came to a close and students carried on with business as usual. Voting for the VUWSA execs starts on 24 September.


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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