By Jack Begbie & Kiên Lê Board
Accusations flew during the second day of polling with the building 11 polling station at the centre of a hot mess. After Vertigo sifted through a barrage of ‘he said, she said, they said, we said’ (which admittedly, we did go looking for), only one conclusion is clear; tensions are high, and there are at least 40 people at UTS who care about the outcome of this SRC Election.
In one instance, Stand Up SRC candidate Gabby Brackenbury-Soldenhoff has accused a Connect SRC candidate of being “overly aggressive” whilst handing out how-to-vote forms at the Building 11 polling station on Thursday morning.
The candidate “was harassing Heba until the point where Heba broke down,” said Gabby who also accused Connect of instructing their volunteers to shadow Stand Up candidates and tell voters that their Stand Up’s candidates “are communists” and wasted “$20k on protesting”.
Spokesperson for Connect, Taylor Ficarra, said that whilst a lot of Stand Up’s candidates “do identify as communist” they are “not aware of anyone from Connect who would have said that whilst campaigning.”
Ficarra said that the dispute in Building 11 was as a result of a heated discussion on gender and identity politics between the Connect candidate and a Stand Up volunteer, saying “We (Connect) could throw around identity politics for years, but people should be voting on policies.” According to Ficarra, Stand Up’s Presidential Candidate Heba Niem was not involved as suggested, but was a witness.
Throughout the day, Vertigo contributors also witnessed numerous Connect and Stand Up candidates arguing in clear view of the voting public.
Polling officials, who have been witnesses to all that unfolded throughout the day, are unwilling to comment on events whilst the election is ongoing.
Claims and counterclaims such as these are as ever, hard to verify without descending into further mindless back and forth. One can only hope that this year’s incoming crop of student politicians will stumble upon a mutual desire for decorum after the election. But then again, this is student politics, so who are we kidding.
The final day of voting for the SRC and Vertigo elections is Friday.
Polling stations are in Buildings 1, 5, 6, 10 & 11. Polling is open between 10:30am-1:30am and 3:30pm – 6:30pm. Voters must hold a valid UTS ID card.