Ski Club “Coup” Nearly Sweeps Exec Elections

Ski Club “Coup” Nearly Sweeps Exec Elections

Exec voted in by less than 10% of students

Your student leaders for 2023 have been voted in. Less than 10% of the student population bothered to cast their ballot. Ski Club members, who had heard that many roles were uncontested, stacked the ballot with their club. They took home five positions, and ousted the returning Vice President.

Last week, the Otago Uni Students’ Association (OUSA) held its annual elections, to decide who runs the show next year. Up for grabs was control over an organisation which is meant to represent around 20,000 Otago Uni students, and rakes in a cool couple million in cold, hard moolah every single year. Pretty much everyone who studies at Otago Uni is a member, whether you know it or not. Oh, and they also own Critic Te Ārohi. Despite the power at stake, though, OUSA elections seem to be quite a low-key affair. 

After two weeks of campaigning, including some very artistically-designed (and several more artistically-challenged) posters being placed around campus, students began voting last Monday. The results were announced to a very quiet Main Common Room, around 45 minutes after voting closed at 4pm last Wednesday. 

Hopes of a Ski Club-led whiteout of the 2023 OUSA Exec were dashed, but five of the nine OUSSC-linked candidates standing still managed to snag Exec positions (Reid, Keegan, Kaia, Imogen and Mia). That is still a plurality, so hopefully the dream of a campus piss tree is not quite dead - yet. Approached for comment shortly after the results were announced, new Clubs & Socs Rep Reid said it was a close race, telling Critic Te Ārohi that “I thought Mr. No-Confidence had it for a moment there,” before adding that he would have “no further comments until the end of next year”. 

Despite reminders to vote being sent to student emails, stuck on posters around campus and popping up across social media, as well as Sal’s vouchers being offered up for voters, it still wasn’t enough to stop voter turnout from collapsing this year. From the heady heights of 2021, where a whopping 15% of students (2,700 people) decided to cast their online ballot, only around 9% ended up voting this year – around 1,000 fewer voters. This seems to track reasonably consistently with historic OUSA election turnouts, although trusting the nerdiest and most politics-studenty 10% of students to decide on the future of your OUSA doesn’t seem like a particularly great long-term strategy. 

In the OUSA candidate forums two weeks ago (which we reported on in Issue 24), most OUSA Exec candidates agreed that improving student engagement was going to be a big priority for them in 2023. Based on how many students could actually be bothered to vote for them, the Exec will have a big job on their hands next year.

OUSA’s 2023 Executive team, and their election results, are below:
Residential Representative: Lilly Baird (59.3%, 1,001 votes)
Political Representative: Tessa Campbell (55.06%, 935 votes)
International Students’ Rep: Cyrus Yam (51.67%, 31 votes)
Clubs & Societies Rep: Reid Eberwein (100%, 1,620 votes)
Postgrad Rep: Keegan Wells (100%, 248 votes)
Welfare & Equity Rep: Kaia Kahurangi-Jamieson (51.97%, 895 votes)
Academic Rep: Mia Heaphy Butts (68.70%, 1,174 votes)
Finance & Strategy Officer: Emily Fau-Goodwin (67.73%, 1,171 votes)
Admin Vice-President: Imogen Macalister (50.50%, 859 votes)
President: Quintin Jane (58.4%, 1,006 votes)

This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2022.
Posted 2:20pm Sunday 2nd October 2022 by Denzel Chung.