An executive Guild member running for the Curtin University Council asked a competing candidate to withdraw from the election just days after the names of candidates were announced to voters.
Finlay Nolan, the Guild’s Representation Board Chair, is running for a spot on the University Council, and asked a fellow candidate, Ahmed Ademoglu, to withdraw from the race to help the Guild get one of its representatives on the council.
The University Council is Curtin’s executive governing body, and it is responsible for overseeing the management of the entire institution. Two of its members are elected by students.
Ms Nolan, who will stand for re-election at next year’s Guild poll, said having a Guild representative on the University Council was vital for students, so their voice could be heard by Curtin’s governing body.
“As student unionists, student welfare is always at the forefront of our minds; it’s literally our job to keep on top of the political, economic and social things happening in Australia that affect students,” she said.
“Having a student who is not involved in the Guild sitting on University Council means that the Guild misses out on vital information that helps us fight for students.
“Having one of us on University Council is almost like having every student on Council.
“Ahmed is completely within his right to continue to run and I have not further pursued this since my initial message to him. “
Ahmed Ademoglu, Council of International Students Australia National Vice President, said the Facebook message asking him to withdraw came as a surprise.
“It was a shock, because I’ve always had the feelings towards, you know, congratulating all of these people because they stepped up and they want to participate,” he said.
“Asking someone to withdraw, I think it’s not nice at all; wherever you go, no matter which country you go, it’s not nice, because it’s fair for anyone to nominate themselves or nominate their friends.”
Guild President Liam O’Neill indicated he did not believe that this was a breach of the elections rules made under Statute No.9.
Mr Ademoglu, who previously worked for the Guild as International Students Committee President, said he didn’t want to name the candidate who asked him to resign.
“I think it wouldn’t be nice because they are my friend,” he said.
Grok Magazine was able to identify Ms Nolan as the candidate in question through process of elimination—she then confirmed this in response to a series of questions via email.
Despite their differing views on who should represent the student body on the University Council, both candidates expressed concerns at the miniscule voter turnout in the election.
Only 309 undergraduate students enrolled to vote in the election, representing less than one per cent of eligible voters. Only four students nominated themselves as candidates, making every vote crucial.
The election is a postal vote with little campaigning undertaken on campus, unlike the Guild elections. Students are not automatically enrolled to vote in the election—they need to respond to an official communication through OASIS.
Mr Ademoglu said he knew of three students who didn’t receive a message in their Official Communications Channel inviting them to enrol in the election.
He said the university was investigating the matter.
Curtin University was contacted for comment, but has not responded. Grok Magazine will publish the university’s response if and when it arrives.