Tomorrow’s ANUSA Ordinary General Meeting appears set to be anything but ordinary as rumours swirl about plans for a motion to dismiss President Cam Wilson. Over the last 48 hours multiple sources have alleged that there are plans to move a motion to dismiss Wilson. Any motion would require at least 80 votes in order to succeed.
Wilson has told Woroni that he has “heard that [a] few students, who do not necessarily represent the broader student body, are considering putting a vote of no-confidence at the OGM without any notice. Our constitution (sic) places emphasis on giving notice for motions like these so that all students… make an informed opinion and participate in decision making.”
Woroni has obtained an email written by senior members of the ANUSA Environment Collective that allege that the motion is being planned by members of various ANUSA Departments and outline the basis for the motion. This email explicitly stated that it was not a statement of an official view of the motion.*
According to the email, the complaints that have led to the planned motion include grievances with how ANUSA Departments are funded. They also alleged that Wilson has undermined the relationship between the Departments and the Executive through a lack of consultation and communication.
When asked about his commitment to the changing Department funding models, Wilson stated that his changes have “provided more funding than ever for departments who have submitted budgets.”
The email detailed that the planned motion is driven by opposition to the process of the dissolution of the Communications Officer position and according to the motion’s proposer, a “culture of endemic bullying within the ANUSA office.”* Wilson told Woroni that “ANUSA has received no reports of bullying from staff, from the Union or any other source” and that they “have actively informed staff about avenues to solve any office issues.”
The email also detailed concerns that Wilson is not meeting his Constitutional obligation to represent undergraduate students on the University Council as a contributing factor to the motion. When questioned, Wilson said that he has “presented the views of ANUSA and undergraduate students in Council discussions on issues such as fee deregulation, the strategic direction of ANU and a variety of other issues.”
According to section 4(e) of the Constitution a General Meeting can pass a motion to dismiss any Officer of the Association provided that 120 or more members are present and the motion receives the support of two-thirds of members voting.
This would mean that, if organised effectively, less than 1% of the undergraduate population at ANU could remove Wilson from his position.
If this were to occur then Vice President Annika Humphreys would become the acting President and Education Officer Laura Wey would become the acting Vice President. General Secretary Gowrie Varma must then call for presidential nominations within two days and a meeting of the Student Representative Council (SRC) must be called within seven days. Any undergraduate student would be eligible to nominate. The SRC would then be tasked with electing the next President of ANUSA who would serve the rest of Wilson’s term.
Woroni asked Wilson if he believed that he had the confidence of the student body to finish his term as ANUSA President. His response was that “as we will see at the OGM, students at [the] ANU are confident that my team and I are capable of doing the job we were elected to do.”
Tomorrow’s OGM looks set to be an interesting one with Fossil Free ANU also planning to move a motion that would allow referendums to be called by students.
The OGM will be held on Wednesday 13th August in Union Court at 12pm. Don’t forget to bring your popcorn. It won’t be wasted.
Photo by Janis Lejins.
* Editor’s Note (13th August): An earlier version of this article did not state that the email received explicitly stated that it was not an official view of the motion by the ANUSA Environment Collective. The article also did not explicitly state that the allegations of “a culture of endemic bullying” referenced in the email came from the proposer of the motion, and not the authors of the email. In order to ensure factual clarity in the article, amendments have been made to the article.