Vice-Presidents, Head to Head
By Samuel Wright and Adelle Millhouse
Content warning: discussion of sexual assault, sexual harassment
Annabelle Nshuti from “Turn Over a New Leaf”, Georga Nonnenmacher from “You!”, and independent Madhumitha Janagaraja are competing for the position of Vice-President this election. Janagaraji’s platform covers a variety of issues from mental health reform to SASH, Nshuti wants to focus primarily on accessibility for off-campus students, and Nonnenmacher’s platform includes mental health reform and increased support for working students.
The Vice-President of ANUSA is heavily involved with student advocacy and pastoral care. They play a key role in the representation of undergraduate students, support ANUSA’s autonomous departments, and manage the Bryan Kenyon Student Space.
Madhumitha Janagaraja, “Madhu for ANU”
Madhumitha Janagaraja is the current ANUSA Disabilities Officer, a role which involves advocating for student services, including academic advocacy, lodging appeals, and liaising with Access and Inclusion. On her Facebook page, Janagaraja says that she also “helped to write university policy”, and that she has experience in the bureaucratic process. Janagaraja has also stated that she is “experienced in advocacy and has done prominent work in that space,” including involvement in work done to replace the Number 3 bus with a campus shuttle.
Annabelle Nshuti, “Turn Over a New Leaf”
Annabelle Nshuti is a current ANUSA Gen Rep, a role she has held since 2018. In this role, she has been heavily involved in advocacy for off-campus students, including establishing the Off-Campus Collective. Previously, Nshuti has also been involved in the Ethnocultural Department, where she served as Deputy Officer during her second year. In this role, Nshuti says that she was able to “dip [her] toes into student advocacy” and gain the experience necessary for the Vice-Presidential role.
Georga Nonnenmacher, “You!”
Nonnennacher has no previous experience within ANUSA, but says that she nonetheless has an understanding of the inner workings of ANUSA. She states that she has developed diplomatic skills from “over 5 years of political experience”, and at her current role at a government relations firm. Nonnenmacher says that, if elected, she will “be a champion for advocacy”. Her experience includes advocacy for Type 1 Diabetes and SASH. She has also been active in the Women’s Department.
Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment
Janagaraja hopes to implement an online reporting system for SASH issues by O-Week 2020, and to convince the ANU to publicly commit to a timeline for the development of a Code of Conduct. She also hopes to consult with students about progress made on SASH issues, and to give them the training about how to manage incidences of SASH. In a statement to Observer, Janagaraja notes that her SASH policy is based upon the One Step Forward, Two Steps Back report compiled by ANUSA, PARSA, and the Women’s Department.
SASH does not feature prominently in Nshuti’s policy proposals. Nshuti mentioned at the Vice-Presidential debate that she would support the Womens’ Department and other related bodies in this space.
Nonnenmacher’s policy focuses on the AHRC “Change the Course Report” and the NOUS survey. Nonnenmacher looks to ensure that more progress is made by the ANU to meet the report’s recommendations. She also hopes to improve the accessibility of the results of the NOUS survey, and to ensure that the “Change the Course Report” is taken more seriously by ANU Chancelry and Council.
Janagaraja plans to institute a Mental Health Strategic Plan, which will improve the functioning of ANU Counselling by committing to more counsellors and increased funding. The mental wellbeing of Senior Residents and Residential Advisors and “revival” of the Mental Health Committee are also mentioned in her policy.
Although Nshuti does not explicitly mention mental health reform in her policy, she does advocate for increased social events for off campus students, which she believes will improve their general health and wellbeing.
The You! Website does not list any mental health policy. However, their Facebook page has the ticket commit to “mental health support groups” and mental health training programs for students.
Janagaraja wants to ensure that Access and Inclusion is equipped sufficiently to support those in need and that students unable to attend lectures are not disadvantaged. She is also an advocate for ‘flexible learning environments’, which would allow for multimodal course delivery such as transcribed lectures. This would also include creating a standardised process for allowing priority tutorial slots to increase accessibility.
Nshuti has advocated for better accessibility for off-campus students in her position as a General Representative, and hopes to continue that work in the position of Vice-President. In addition to off-campus students, she also hopes to increase engagement for mature-aged students, and any other student who feels disconnected. She writes in her policy that “ANUSA’s social calendar is essential [for] promoting its services”, and goes on to explain that it is an area that could be improved upon. Finally, she also hopes to improve access to public transport for all students.
Nonnenmacher does not include specific student accessibility policy in her platform.
Both Janagaraja and Nonnenmacher have student employment as an area of concern within their policy. Janagaraja writes that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) needs to be “more regularly revised and assisted” to ensure that they have enough staff and funding to support students. She also hopes to expand the ANUSA Skill Up program, and to ensure that ANUSA supports ANU Careers and Academic Skills.
Nonnenmacher hopes to make study more compatible with work for students by holding at least one tutorial for each course outside working hours and making alternative assessments to compulsory attendance available. She also wants to create a scheme similar to the Elite Athlete program for students that have employment commitments.
Janagaraja looks to ensure that the Campus Master Plan receives effective student feedback and collaboration. If elected, she would also ensure the delivery of the internal shuttle replacement for the Number 3 bus, and updating both the ANU OK app and campus lighting.
Nonnenmacher, meanwhile, hopes to make Kambri more affordable for students. You! also looks to implement a way for students to know where available parking is located on campus.
Nshuti believes that the role of General Representatives is “not well understood” by the student population, despite possessing the majority of votes within the SRC. She also advocates for increased independence for General Representatives, by placing them into specific portfolios. She believes this will help them to be more efficient and effective in their roles.
Neither Nonnenmacher nor Janagaraja have plans for Gen Rep reform.
Polls are open until 12pm this Thursday, 22 August.
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