The results of the Student Government executive alliance candidates were delayed due to “unheard complaints.”
Dozens of students and candidates waited in front of the UT Tower on Thursday evening to hear the results of the SG elections. The Election Supervisory Board said the SG President and Vice President could not be announced because of complaints they have yet to review.
ESB Chair Jennifer Valdez said the results will be announced Friday at 3 p.m. in the SAC Auditorium.
The Daily Texan contacted government senior Valdez to ask about the nature of the complaints but did not receive a response. Colton Becker, nutrition senior, and Mehraz Rahman, marketing and Plan II junior, said they weren’t expecting the results to be postponed.
“When you put in so much work, you’re excited and there’s going to be that nervousness,” Becker said. “I’m not going to let this affect me, I know Mehraz isn’t going to let it affect her … I know the ESB is doing the best they can.”
Presidential candidate Guneez Ibrahim and vice presidential candidate Hannah McMorris said they were not aware of the complaints ESB received that led to the postponement.
Earlier in the day, ESB had sanctioned the Ibrahim-McMorris campaign for “deceptive campaigning” based on evidence of “discriminatory language upon a social media site,” according to the resolution. The “discriminatory language” refers to tweets from McMorris that some students called anti-white and anti-Greek life.
“I think a lot of the backlash is centered around my tweets,” McMorris said. “Although I would rethink some of the inflammatory nature of my tweets, I don’t regret the sentiment that they send, and I don’t regret how many students have reached out to both of us saying how we’re representing what they’ve always felt at this University … there’s been so many people who are afraid to speak out and this campaign is speaking for them.”
After the postponement, Rahman took to Facebook to say that complaints against the Ibrahim-McMorris campaign did not come from their team.
“As a woman of color, I understand the importance of representation and equality,” Rahman said in the Facebook post. “Every single Longhorn’s voice matters.”
After the postponement and the day’s events, Ibrahim said she was feeling frustrated with ESB.
“What does this say about free speech?” said Ibrahim, sociology and design senior. “I think this sets a bad precedent for future candidates in terms of what they’re allowed to say and not allowed to say.”
Earlier Thursday, several students in the West Mall protested and urged students not to vote for Becker. Students held signs that read “Student Gov Silences Women of Color.” “Free Palestine” and “Student Gov is too white.”
“We do not stand for the silencing of anyone’s voice,” Rahman said in the Facebook post. “I would like to apologize for how the events of this campaign season have turned this from a discussion about platform points and what’s best for our university into something that shuts down voices and opinions.”
McMorris, a political communications and African and African diaspora studies junior, said in order to make sure the University is equal for all, they have to raise up marginalized voices to the same level as privileged voices on campus.
“Even if we lose, we’ll win,” Ibrahim said. “The conversation has been sparked by this campaign. Currently UT has a mirror being held up to it that they need to address.”
Sanction Against Ibrahim-McMorris Campaign
Earlier Thursday, the ESB issued a Class B violation against the Ibrahim-McMorris campaign, issuing a moratorium on campaigning for the remainder of the campaigning period, which ended Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Screenshots from McMorris’ Twitter began circulating among students in the last two weeks.
“I really don’t have patience for white Greek life or people who want to be silent about how oppressive the system is,” reads one tweet from Sept. 8, 2017 from McMorris’ now-deactivated account, @ricecritic.
“(H)onestly if you’re white and you’re not part of the select few that I like, don’t talk to me today,” reads another from March 1, 2017.
In response, the campaign issued a video on its Facebook and Twitter pages, in which Ibrahim, running for president, labeled the allegations of anti-Greek life and anti-white sentiments in their campaign as rumors that are “absolutely false.”
The Board also referenced the campaign video in its brief, writing that the video does not align with statements on other social media platforms.
“The Election Supervisory Board has determined that the platform video released by the Guneez–Hannah Executive Alliance campaign does not align with official campaign activity on social media,” the board members wrote in the majority opinion. “Thus actions taken by the Guneez and Hannah campaign were interpreted as deceptive campaigning.”
Two board members wrote in dissent, arguing the campaign did not violate any election code regulations.
“While the social media publications in question were written in a crass manner, the content reflects the political and social views of the Guneez-Hannah campaign’s disadvantaged demographics, for which they would be responsible for representing, in keeping with their campaign platform of giving voices to any and all students, including those historically/institutionally marginalized groups,” the board members wrote in the dissenting opinion.
The dissenters also said the deletion of McMorris’ Twitter account was not a lack of transparency, according to the resolution.
“Additionally, the dissenters do not find the deletion of the McMorris Twitter account to be a lack of transparency, seeing that the deletion was a result of psychologically damaging harassment towards McMorris and associated individuals,” the resolution reads.