Funding Approved for May By-Election
Wednesday, April 18 2012
Students’ Council has approved funding for a by-election to be held this semester for various positions in the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) Indigenous Department, the Victorian College of the Arts and Music Student Associate (VCAMSA), and the Burnley Student Association Department (BSAD).
Student Union President Mark Kettle indicated that the funding would pay for expenses such as polling, materials, advertisements, information sessions and the hiring of a Returning Officer who would ensure that electoral regulations are followed.
The by-election will be held as these positions were not filled at the 2011 Student Union elections. The reintroduction of the Student Services and Amenities Fee is also a factor, particularly in the re-establishment of the BSAD.
Jacob Battista, the VCAMSA representative on Students’ Council, welcomed the by-elections.
“We hope that through the election process those appointed to the roles will provide great support and backing for students and help us develop the department to provide a larger range of services and events to students.”
Despite approximately 200 Indigenous students studying at The University of Melbourne, the Student Union has not had an Indigenous Officer since early 2011. The seven positions available for voting Representatives on the Indigenous Committee are also vacant.
Kettle said the Student Union had been unable to fill the Indigenous Officer and voting Representative roles: “The Student Union hasn’t necessarily sought out candidates…Maybe there is a bit of disconnect between the Student Union and the Indigenous students on this campus and that is something we look to rectify through the by-election process.”
He also said the low Indigenous student population at The University of Melbourne may be a contributing factor.
Meg Roche, however, the Recruitment and Engagement Officer at Murrup Barak—the Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development, told Farrago that there was a handful of students that are interested in running for the Indigenous Officer position. “I think the Indigenous Officer position is really good because it [has] the capacity to run events that get Indigenous people who are studying here together and a community happening,” she said.
According to Kettle, the Indigenous Officer’s role is “to represent Indigenous students on campus … and the direction of their committee. They may run events, social events, information sessions and forums, liaise with the University to form a student perspective on how the University runs its Indigenous programs and also run campaigns on issues that affect Indigenous students.”
For more information on the positions available in the elections please contact the Returning Officer Justin Baré on 8344 9988 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.