In another surprise announcement today, Kai Clark has announced his intention to run for Undergraduate Representative on the ANU Council. Clark, 2019 College of Asia and the Pacific Representative, is the second to Benjamin Chesler in announcing his intention to run for Undergraduate Council Representative without contesting the position of ANUSA President. Clark’s campaign is independent and officially politically unaligned, running on key themes of autonomy, transparency and democracy.

The autonomy of the role has become a key point of focus of Clark’s campaign, his election platform including several important reforms surrounding increases to student accessibility to the position. These included the establishment of an advisory board, where students from ANUSA and other student organisations can review relevant Council documents and proposals. Similarly, Clark has proposed the establishment of a SSAF watchdog as well as a formal investigative role for the Undergraduate Representative to address incidents of misconduct. All these proposals, Clark says, come in an effort to increase accountability to students.

In his statement to Woroni, Clark highlighted his concerns regarding the serious conflicts of interest that arise when the positions of President of ANUSA and the ANU Council’s Undergraduate Representative are filled by the same person. Similarly, Clark voiced his issue with the supposed secrecy and lack of transparency that surrounds the role. This includes the fact that Council minutes are ‘censored’ and, historically, representatives have refused to share information about the Council’s activities. As such, Clark has promised to increase accessibility to Council activities to students, including a pledge to release Council documents relating to students as well as providing regular updates about Council activities both at SRC meetings and on social media.

In an effort to enforce the increase of accountability, Clark has proposed several methods by which students could further democratise the role of Undergraduate Representative. These include increasing the breadth of consultation with students on major decisions by the Council as well as a plan to invite students and media into Council meetings when these decisions are being made. Students, historically, have been unfairly informed of serious matters relating to university life, Clark claims, and his campaign looks to make the university more accountable to students.