By LAURA PLACELLA
Go! has triumphed over incumbent ticket Forward, rebranded Students for Change in the wake of a racism row, in the Monash University Student Union (MONSU) election, winning 12 of the 13 contested positions.
The results, which were published today, declared Eric Lee and Nidzam Shah Hussain as the President and Vice President respectively for 2020.
Mr Hussain, an international student, was ruled out of contention due to Forward’s implementation of a minimum of 22 working hours to nine out of 13 MONSU portfolios, in the lead up to the September election.
The eleventh-hour policy meant all international students subject to student working visas were ineligible to hold office, due to restrictions on the number of hours per week they are permitted to perform paid work.
Forward received backlash for enacting racist policy, which led to crisis talks with Monash University's senior executives. The election was postponed until October and the policy was scrapped.
Mr Lee is a domestic student and was not affected by Forward's policy.
He said Go!'s win made him not just happy for himself but for the team.
"We just really hope that we can make everyone proud and do what we set out to do," Mr Lee said.
"I'm just really excited for next year and to start working on making Caulfield as great as it can be."
Only two members of Students for Change were elected.
Daniel Stonehouse will occupy the position of Queer Officer 1 next year and Kyle Howden will be one of three general representatives.
Independent Malachi Van Souphan was also elected as Queer Officer 2.
Mr Lee said he considers all three as friends and is "excited to work with them".
"They're people that we've known and are people that I've been talking with throughout this campaign, and even beforehand," Mr Lee said.
Caitlyn Dunne, Students for Change's nominee for President, was unavailable for comment.
A heated campaign
Queer Officer 1-elect Daniel Stonehouse said Students for Change was disappointed by the way some Go! candidates conducted themselves while campaigning.
"We don't have as many Mandarin speakers as [Go!] and...we've been approaching Chinese people and various international students and we've had [Go! candidates] jump in, speaking Mandarin, and forcing them away from the conversation," Mr Stonehouse said.
President-elect Eric Lee said the campaigners had been mostly "really nice and fair to each other".
"It hasn't been like previous elections where it's a lot more fierce.
"There are some heated situations here and there but in general, I blame the sun, its been very hot."
Students for Change candidate Qianhe (Natalie) Tian said she was on the receiving end of some hurtful comments.
"We had this whole conversation in Chinese and then the Go! ticket girl said 'you're not Chinese, if you are, why are you in their ticket supporting the other side instead of supporting us, the Chinese group?'," Ms Tian said.
"The number of times they said that during the three days...three different girls...the last day I couldn't hold it anymore, I had a mental breakdown."
Mr Lee heard about these incidents towards the end of the election.
"I had a chat with a few of them, but they denied that anything happened," Mr Lee said.
Returning Officer Glenn Donahoo said two-hour campaigning bans were imposed on Mr Lee and Mr Hussain from 10am-12pm on Wednesday.
"They had someone who wasn't a student come in and help them with submitting [nominations] and putting them together," Mr Donahoo said.
The election regulations state it is prohibited for an individual candidate or a ticket to be "under the direction, control or pervasive influence of any person who is not a student entitled to vote".
Other bans were imposed throughout the three days of polling but Mr Donahoo said they were "nothing major".
"A bunch of other two-hour bans...for small behavioural issues, such as campaigning over the line."
President-elect Eric Lee said one of his biggest focuses was clubs, the "heart and soul of our campus".
"I'll be personally working to try and get more support and funding for clubs.
"Just to emulate what we see at Clayton a little bit more, where clubs receive so much support."
Mr Lee said Go! would also lobby extensively for a 24/7 library at Caulfield campus.
"One of the best ways to do it is a good old fashioned sit out.
"Literally sitting outside the library, setting up some tables and studying there all through the night."
For more information on the MONSU election, click here.