The peaceful morning silence around campus was interrupted by a series of debates and speeches coming from underneath the glass bridge. It was day two of the MUSA Annual Elections debate, therefore presenting a new chance of redemption for students from both contesting parties to step up and speak out (literally) regarding their manifestos, as well as the promises they wished to fulfill towards the student body upon being elected.
The debate schedule for Day Two was initially for both parties, The Vox and The Spero, to send out their contesting candidates who were running for the MUISS (Monash University International Students Service) Heads, as well as the position for Clubs and Societies, which was squeezed in at the very end of the schedule. Due to the unforeseen circumstances, The Spero was unable to garner enough members to contest for both the MUISS and C&S positions, therefore The Vox went after the official posts uncontested.
I know what you are thinking, since the contesting participants were going in unopposed, everything should have felt like a walk in the park, right? That was certainly not the case. The fact that there were no contesting candidates from Spero did not in the slightest bit ease the nerves of the representatives from The Vox, as the sense of anxiousness was clearly lingering around them. The debates were carried out in a traditional “town-hall” style manner whereby candidates were to first deliver their opening speeches, after which they would either enquire or answer the questions coming from the opposing teams. Since there was no opposing team for these round of debates, interactions were mainly occurring between the candidates from The Vox and members of the audience, as well as current MUSA members.
The first candidates to present themselves, Charlotte and Samiul Khan, who were running for the position of Heads of MUISS were able to deliver their speech in a rather stable and confident manner. They stated that their main objective after being elected as Heads of MUISS was to increase participation of students hailing from the minority countries. They explained that MUISS, under their supervision, would hopefully be more engaging with the international students, opting for a higher participation rate from them in terms of events.
The following candidate contesting for the position of MUISS secretary, Humaira Islam, earned praises from several current MUISS members through her speech. She mentioned the importance of unity to exist between MUSA and MUISS, which would ensure work efficiency and satisfaction. She highlighted that she hoped to establish a minimum quota for international students to attend Monash Cultural Night, for her reason behind that was to foster a strong, international community on campus.
Several highlights of Day 2 are detailed as follow:
Muhammad Bilaal Rishad (The Vox)
- Emphasized on the importance of transparency and fairness
- Financial Statements involving MUISS would be constantly uploaded and updated on Facebook page
- Close collaboration between student departments and the university management to minimize work delays
MUISS Country Representatives
Dua Fatimah Basheer (The Vox)
- Vouches that each country’s needs are heard
- Will cater to countries with smaller student populations to encourage overall participation
- International Students will be given opportunities to express their country’s heritage
- Encourage students to know more about the other international students’ countries
Although it was a relatively important day for international students to show up and lend an ear to the manifestos provided by the running MUISS candidates, attendance for the Day 2 debates was relatively lukewarm. There were only a handful of students and current MUSA members who were present to throw in questions for the participants.
Most of the candidates were unable to directly answer the enquires thrown at them, often giving “beating around the bush” solutions. Since there were only a handful of students present, it was also relatively hard to get the entire setting in a “debate-ful” mood.
Perhaps it really was high time for MUISS to come down with a firm solution to pull up the participation of international students in such events. Do check out both The Vox and The Spero’s Facebook pages to know more about the running candidates. Good luck to the rest with upcoming debates!
Disclaimer: The above piece was purely written based on views of the writer meant for commentary purposes.
Article by Lee Kah Hoe (Charles)