After a long wait, the election process for the University of Canberra Student Representative Council (UCSRC) has finally begun, five months after it usually occurs. Nominations for the student leaders of UC officially opened at the end of February, and are set to close at 5:00pm on Friday the 9th of March.
This year, there are some pretty big changes to the way that the council will run, as well as how students can nominate for a position on the council. Previously, students could nominate each other and themselves to the council and, if elected, would hold their position for a year-long tenure.
Under the new model, two elections will be held in 2018, with the first due to occur in late March. In this election, the elected Student Leaders will be responsible for getting the revamped SRC up and running, and will develop the necessary frameworks for its future operations. The second election will be held in October, and will be for those who wish to carry out the role in 2019.
According to Acting Returning Officer Ms. Helen Vooren, one of the major changes for this year are the changes to the electorates.
“Rather than having one very large electorate of the whole student body, it has been decided to align the electorates with the faculties, the College and the Ngunnawal Centre,” Ms. Vooren said.
“The Student Leaders will be elected to represent the student community within the faculty. They will have a role to communicate and work with the faculties to bring forward emerging issues and to share feedback. Their remit is to represent all their constituents.”
Within both elections, nominations for a position on the UCSRC must be endorsed by the Faculty Deans, the Director of the UCC or the Ngunnawal Centre, depending on which role the student is nominating for. Once nominated, students can then begin advertising their candidacy with a campaign.
The decision to switch to Faculty representatives rather than students self-nominating or nominating one another was made to ensure transparency to the nomination process.
“The move to adopting Faculty electorates was made to bring it closer to the model we use in Australia to elect our political leaders,” Ms. Vooren explained. “Very simply, our political electorates are based on geographic areas and numbers of people within them. UC has ‘electorates’ based on the faculties and the number of students within. In addition, we will also have electorates to represent the College and the Ngunnawal Centre ensuring that the SRC has the broadest possible base of support.”
“The new system adds a greater level of transparency to the nomination process and will lessen the likelihood that I, as the Returning Officer, will have to disqualify any candidate. Carrying the Australian political analogy further, just as candidates receive endorsement from their political parties to run for office, we are asking our nominees to seek the endorsement from the leadership of the Faculties, the Ngunnawal Centre and the UCC.”
Formerly, students could nominate for one or more specific roles on the UCSRC, such as President or Vice President. However, under the old system, not all vacant positions received nominations and were therefore left unfilled, which, according to Ms. Vooren, meant that the “mandate to be a representative body for all students was not being fulfilled.”
Ms. Vooren said that by appointing the best person to the roles available, all positions will be filled following the elections.
“Our Student Leaders will represent all of the students in their electorate, not just one section or group and as leaders they will bring their own skills and experience to the table and to carry out the roles within the Council.”
For more information about nominations and the election, students can visit http://www.canberra.edu.au/about-uc/governance/notice-of-elections. Alternatively, they can send any questions through to firstname.lastname@example.org