SUPRA Reps Elect all Decided by Coin Toss
WORDS BY ANGELA PRADHAM
On Thursday night, the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association's council election ended in a game of chance to decide winning candidates: a coin toss. After the twenty-three general counselors and equity officers were elected, they then voted in the 'Representatives Elect', or, Reps Elect, which resulted in a 14/14 split. The disability officer themeslves was not able to vote or atend the meeting due to emergency reasons, and no proxy was assigned for them.
The 14/14 split resulted in each Reps Elect position decided with a coin toss.
“It may sound ridiculous that it all happened by lottery system, but I’ve been told that that’s the Australian federal government practice as well,” said recently elected SUPRA Co-President Kiriti Mortha. He mentions that a coin toss was chosen to not waste the votes that were already polled.
Mortha, who also served SUPRA last year, describes the room as very tense and nerve wracking during the coin tosses.
Co-president Mariam Mohammed described the meeting as very tense and felt psychologically and emotionally taxed.
"Once the meeting began there was an in-depth discussion with the RO who was allowing one extra vote from the opposing team. He had his reasons: He was appointed Arbiter for an equity election, the result of which was being contested. His understanding of the Constitution was that even though the result was being contested, because a decision had not been made on the arbitration, he would allow the candidate to vote. He is the RO and his word is final so the decision was respected. This brought opposition up to 14 seats for the night of reps elect, splitting the meeting at 14-14. The arbitration has not yet ended," Mohammed explained.
Ten people were elected to council from the Change and Impact ticket along with three equity officers. While Mortha thinks the votes were split due to how polar the tickets seem, he hopes to find common ground with the winners from the other tickets to best serve postgraduate students.
The final results are as follows:
President(s) - Mariam Mohammed & Kiriti Mortha
Vice President - Gayatri Kotnala
Education Officer - Rachel Evans
Secretary - Oliver Moore
Treasurer - Luoning Dong
Director of Student Publications - Zushan Ahmed Hashmi