ANUSA’s first Student Representative Council (SRC) meeting in 2016, which is being held later tonight, will see nominations for the position of Education Officer after elected Let’s ANUSA candidate Laura Campbell resigned late last year.
Peta Leigh, the 2014 ANUSA College of Law representative has been holding the position in the interim, having been appointed to the role by the Executive since Ms Campbell’s resignation. Ms Leigh will serve in an interim capacity until the end of the first SRC meeting.
At the time of writing, three candidates have put themselves forward for the position, all of whom ran for ANUSA last year. Would-be candidates have until 5pm tonight to nominate themselves.
The nominees are current General Representative Emma Henke, who successfully ran on the Ready ticket in 2015; James Connolly, another Ready candidate who unsuccessfully contested the Education Officer role in 2015; and Daniel Wang, one of two current Science Representative on ANUSA who ran on the Let’s ticket, of which a majority of the 2016 ANUSA also ran on.
The Education Officer, as a member of the ANUSA Executive, is paid a salary of approximately $12,500 per annum.
The role of the Officer mainly involves a concentration on Higher Education policy, such as organising tertiary education campaigns and preparing submissions for relevant government bodies. Leigh’s interim term, however, mainly centred on the organisation of first year camps along with the respective ANUSA college representatives, the first of which – Science and CECS – took place over the past weekend.
For the newly appointed Education Officer, the immediate role will now focus on the upcoming National Days of Action organised in association with National Union of Students (NUS).
Campbell’s resignation from the ANUSA Executive was not without precedent. The original elected 2015 General Secretary Megan Lane resigned halfway through her term. In 2014 there were two resignations, with the original elected Gen Sec Ellen Trevanion resigning early in her term, as well as original Social Officer Lachlan McDermott also resigning before his term commenced.
When asked about his qualifications for the role, James Connolly pointed towards an extensive policy document he had written for the election last year and the fact that he was the runner up for the position after Campbell. Connolly was also a candidate for the interim position Education Officer position. He then referred to his prior experience with the Queer* Department and Education Committee.
Emma Henke, referenced her communication skills and the consultative approach she would bring to the role. She also described her work with the Women’s Department, the Refugee Action Committee, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and ANU Debating, as examples of experiences that had equipped her with “a crucial insight into educational policy and strong organisational skills”.
Daniel Wang focused on his advocacy skills and his desire to “make our voices heard in the territory and federal election” as well as his support for smaller classes, high quality teaching and ensuring accessibility to education. He pointed to his experience as a current ANUSA college representative and his past history of being on executives of other associations.
The role is especially important in 2016 due to the upcoming federal election, as the Education Officer is expected to have a significant input in lobbying all sides of politics in relation to higher education policy in association with the NUS.
NUS, whom the Education Officer also works heavily with throughout the year has been a recurrent topic of discussion within the University and ANUSA, as the ANU considered disaffiliating from the national representative body in 2015.
Woroni will reveal the outcome of the Education Officer election at ANUSA’s SRC on our Facebook page facebook.com/woroni/ as soon as it is announced.