AUSA President Anand Rama has handed in notice of his resignation.
His resignation comes just nine weeks into his first semester as head of the organisation. Rama and AUSA both cite “personal reasons” for his departure. In a Facebook post released shortly after the decision was announced, Rama said he was not “in a good headspace” during his tenure. “Being in the role was taking a toll on my wellbeing and my life,” he wrote, “Today I put myself and my own health first, for the first time in what’s felt like a long time”.
Rama is set to depart the AUSA house on the 27th of May. In his stead, current Education Vice-President George Barton will take the helm. Barton is perhaps best known for organising the Zero Tolerance Hui. He also helped implement a new policy which means the university will have to record all lectures from the beginning of next semester. “This is not how I ever wanted or expected the year to progress and definitely not how I ever wanted to come into the role,” says Barton, “My job now is to continue to enable our Executive to deliver on the work that we were elected to deliver on”. Barton says he plans to focus on following through with the AUSA’s promise of free exam seminars for big first year papers, to push for more engagement in local body elections, to strengthen the student council, to continue to develop working relationships with faculty associations, and to deliver a mental health report to the university.
An election will be held to determine who will take the now-vacant Education Vice-President seat. At time of writing, no-one has officially announced their intention to run, but Craccum is aware of several potential candidates. Candidates will be expected to put their nominations forward between the 20th and 27th of May. Votes will be counted between the 3rd and 7th of June.
AUSA have expressed gratitude for Rama’s work on the executive. “We would like to thank Anand for the incredible leadership and service he has given AUSA,” a post on their Facebook page reads, “This place is a much better organisation for our students because of you. We wish you all the very best”. Barton echoes the comments of the rest of the team. “Anand has stepped down in order to look after his mental health and to finally put himself first. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult a decision this would have been for Anand both personally and professionally. On behalf of our Executive, I would like to thank Anand for the incredible leadership and service that he has given AUSA both as Administrative Vice-President last year and as President this year,” he told Craccum.
Craccum sincerely wishes Rama all the best in future. For his part, Rama says he hopes other students will learn from his mistake. “Learn to be open to those around [you],” Rama told Craccum, “Talk to your family, talk to your friends, talk to a counsellor, talk to anyone, because that’s the first step”.