ANUSA logo on coffee cup

I Read the ANUSA Constitution So You Don’t Have To

An ANUSA Explainer

The Australian National University Students’ Association, or ANUSA as it is more commonly known, is the representative body for all undergraduate students at ANU and for those enrolled in an ANU Pathway Program. However, this membership excludes those enrolled in the Bachelor of Medicine and those who have formally requested not to be members.

If you are one of these students you are automatically an ANUSA member. This means that you can vote in the upcoming annual ANUSA elections in Week Four of this semester.

Structure

ANUSA itself consists four main parts: the Executive, Departments, College Representatives and General Representatives.

The Executive consists of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, General Secretary, Social Officer and Education Officer.

The departments of the association are the Women’s Department, Queer* Department, Environment Department, Indigenous Department, International Students’ Department, Disabilities Student Association and Ethnocultural Department. Each of these departments has their own internally elected officer who represents them within ANUSA.

Two elected representatives also represent each academic college within ANUSA. The exceptions to this are the College of Physical Sciences and the College of Medicine, Biology and Environment who share two representatives between them.

ANUSA also comprises of 14 general representatives who will also be elected during the upcoming elections.

Meetings

The three central types of meetings held by ANUSA are the Student Representative Council (SRC), College Representative Council (CRC), and General Meetings.

SRC

The SRC is held each calendar month of the academic year, unless that month contains less than seven teaching days.  The executive, the department officers and the general representatives at a minimum are required to attend each meeting.

During these meetings the SRC may pass resolutions regarding ANUSA policy. This excludes any policy that relates to ANU or its colleges. Currently, any ANUSA member may attend these meetings.

CRC

The CRC is also held each calendar month of the year that contains more than seven teaching days. During these meetings the council will consider issues relating to the academic colleges and make sure that the academic interests of their students are protected.  

The College Representatives, President, Vice President, General Secretary and Education Officer will, at a minimum, be in attendance at these meetings. Any class or department representatives called on by the college representatives will also be in attendance at these meetings. As with SRC, any member is currently allowed to attend these meetings.

General Meetings

There are two main types of General Meetings: Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and Ordinary General Meetings (OGMs).

AGMs

As their name suggests, AGMs are held once per academic year. They are held no later than six months after the end of the financial year or as the ANUSA Constitution suggests the “Financial Rear”. These meetings largely focus on reviewing ANUSA’s financial business for the previous financial year.

OGMs

OGMs are held at least once each teaching period, excluding the teaching period in which the AGM is held. OGMs deal broadly with ANUSA policy and can pass two types of resolutions: those relating to ANUSA’s organisational aims and those that will direct the Executive as to how they should give effect to the association’s policies.

Student Clubs Council

Separate from the SRC and CRC the Student Clubs Council supports, funds and governs student clubs.

This council consists of one delegate from each affiliated club and the Council Executive who are elected once a year. Additionally, a member of the ANUSA Executive and a member of the Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association (PARSA) are supposed to be members of the Council Executive. Reports from the Council’s Chair are received by the SRC.

Additional Committees

ANUSA also contains additional committees to address education issues, disputes and financial review respectively.

Upcoming ANUSA Elections

Once a year ANUSA holds elections for its Executive, College Representatives, National Union of Students (NUS) Delegates and General Representatives. This year those elections will take place during week four of semester two. The active members of the departments generally elect department officers internally, independent of these elections.

Polling, using a preferential voting system, takes place online. Any ANUSA member is eligible to stand for and vote in these elections. The election is overseen by a Returning Officer to ensure strict adherence to the election regulations outlined in ANUSA’s constitution and regulations. These regulations exist to ensure a fair and equitable election occurs. For the past two years ANUSA’s Returning Officer has been University Chief Librarian Roxanne Missingham.

Candidates are generally sorted into two groups: independent candidates and those affiliated with a registered ticket. Registered tickets may include independent groups or be affiliated with a political party.

In the lead up to the elections these candidates and their campaigners will canvass votes on campus. However, as in previous years there will be exclusion zones where canvassing will explicitly not be permitted. This year those zones are: The Pop Up Village, the ANUSA and PARSA Spaces, the Melville Hall Student Space, the Copland Precinct, the Tjabal Centre and the Chifley Library and its associated walkway.

It is also possible to opt-out of the student elections. The Returning Officer will ensure that a lanyard or similarly recognisable “opt-out item” is available to students throughout the election process. Canvassers cannot approach students displaying the “opt-out item”.

As it stands, the 2018 ANUSA elections are expected to provide a robust opportunity for undergraduate students to make their voices heard by the association that represents them.