Woroni’s Comprehensive Guide to the 2020 ANUSA Executive Candidates: UMAC

Grace Sixsmith ran for a General Representative position in 2018

Who are the candidates?

James Eveille: ‘Refocus your ANUSA’. Current CASS Representative

Ben Wicks: ‘Proud! of our ANUSA’. Current General Representative

Madhumitha Janagaraja: ‘Brighter Together ANUSA’. Current Vice President

Brad Saines: ‘A New Way Forward’.  

Skanda Panditharatne: ‘Go the Distance with ANUSA’. Current Education Officer.

Benjamin Chesler:‘Undergraduate Voice for ANU Council’

Kai Clark: ‘Kai for Council’

 

The presidential candidates on if they could do both roles:

Wicks believes that the President is the best student representative. He acknowledges that there are conflicts of interest but the president has their finger on the pulse of the student body. 

Janagaraja agrees that there is a conflict of interest in every organisation. The president is best equipped to manage this conflict of interest.

Eveille says that the benefits of the President as UMAC outweigh the costs. It’s important that UMAC should have the most vocal and responsive voice.

Panditharatne agrees that there are conflicts of interests. Last year, he advocated his ticket ‘Turn Over a New Leaf’ for an independent UMAC. However, he also claims  the President is able to ensure that students’ interests are being represented. 

Saines says that it is strategic for the ANUSA President to know what is going on. It is necessary to have an informed president to make decisions necessary for student representation.

Chesler, despite not running for President, notes that the roles should be separate. An individual acting as both the UMAC and Pres wouldn’t have the time and commitment necessary to dedicate to the role.

 

The UMAC candidates on why they are running independently:

 Clark argues that the president is already so busy and they wouldn’t have enough time to dedicate fully to the role or the Council. He also says that having a separate UMAC will mean that the representative will be held accountable by ANUSA, something that is not currently happening with the president in the role. 

Chesler notes that a dedicated UMAC will mean someone is focused solely on the role. Chesler says it is more important to build trust between UMAC and the President. He also highlights that both he and Clark have large policy documents for the Council, whereas the presidential candidates are light on policy.

 

On their approach to the role:

 Wicks says that he would be accountable in the role, and push the council towards designing a University that benefits students.

Eveille discusses his proven track record of engaging well with internal committees. He notes that there is the capacity to split your mind within the role. However, he concedes that this is only possible when the UMAC and the President are the same person. 

Janagaraja will be pushing for a student driven system. The most beneficial way to implement change, as there’s no point in advocating for change if you don’t do anything.

Panditharatne would focus on reporting back to students. He highlights that he has sat on many boards and has experience in the university system.

Saines says that it was a mistake to approach the Council with hostility and that he would take a diplomatic approach.

Clark emphasises that the council is open to working with students but the UMAC would need to build a relationship with them.

Chesler’s approach would be to consult with the executive and then take their recommendations and thoughts to the Council.

 

On balancing confidentiality with informing students: 

Clark says that when you sit on the Council, you sign an indemnity form, meaning that the Council has scope for declassification.

Chesler would approach the role by building relationships based on trust and partnership.

Saines also emphasised that he wants to build a relationship based on trust and transparency.

Panditharatne wants to declassify things from the Council. He acknowledges that springing things on student bodies creates a bad response from students. He argues that policies from the council need to be shared to students as soon as possible. 

Janagaraja highlights that the average student does care about the changes of the bigger things that impact their lives.

Wicks would be transparent and consult with the wider student body about the strategic direction of the University.

Eveille says that ANUSA needs to make ANU council something that students are aware of and know their responsibilities.