Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) has found itself at a crossroads after a fight between President Laura Harris and Vice President Jarred Griffiths.
Their divide has caused a wider degeneration throughout the whole of OUSA Executive, with reports of an internal coup by Griffiths and his faction.
Harris and Griffiths ran on the same ticket during the 2015 election, with six others also billed with them under the slogan “Real Change for OUSA.” They presented a united front against three other presidential candidates.
- SPONSORED -
Seven of the ticketed candidates were elected, with Harris having 35% favour.
Harris and Griffiths decided to run on the same ticket after being friends and reportedly flatting together, using their platform to emphasize their closeness and solidarity.
It is reported that during trimester one the two had a personal falling out which has led to a clean divide between the executive.
Supposedly the two have attempted mediation, but when asked about this Griffiths told Critic it was “unsuccessful.”
Now Harris or Griffiths will not work together, talk to each other, or sponsor each other’s initiatives.
The subsequent stagnancy and division of the executive board has resulted in reports of an attempted internal coup against President Harris.
The person most likely to replace Harris is Griffiths, although he maintains to the press and to Otago University that he supports Harris as president, and has no plans to oust her.
“Although we are no longer friends, Laura has my full support as OUSA President. It is my primary function to support and assist her in the performance of her duties.”
When approached for comment, Griffiths was initially willing to discuss the internal problems that faced the OUSA executive board, telling Salient that he was happy to comment on them. However when sent the questions he was quick to back down, saying it “would be unhelpful for me to comment at the time.”
Such a sudden change in demeanor indicates a problematic stance from Griffiths—if he were truly supportive of Harris wouldn’t he be quick to dispel any myths and clarify his stance on these issues?
The future of the 2016 OUSA Executive Board is still unknown, but the internal strife does not look to be resolved any time soon.