Dean of Students orders new executive alliance election to be held this week

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The Student Government Supreme Court nullified the results of last weeks’ student body president and vice president elections and ordered a new election. In the original election, the Colton-Mehraz alliance, top, was announced the winner and the Guneez-Hannah alliance received second place.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles & Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Update (12:30 pm):

Guneez Ibrahim, whose executive alliance with Hannah McMorris garnered over 30 percent of the votes last week, said she feels validated by the decision to hold a new election. But, Ibrahim said none of it matters if students do not take this chance to make their voices heard by voting. In the past, SG elections have typically experienced a drop in voter turnout if a secondary election or runoff occurs.

“If you’ve ever felt ignored, or if you’ve ever felt unheard or silenced on this campus, this is the second chance,” said Ibrahim, a sociology and design senior. “If you’ve been frustrated, you have to vote…. It’s so imperative.”

Early Monday morning, the current SG executive board released a statement of support for holding a new executive alliance election. But, the executive board also recognized the need for a change to the “toxic” environment that has surrounded the election for the past few weeks.

“Candidates, particularly women of color, received racist harassment and violent threats,” the executive board wrote. “As students, we should be disturbed that fellow Longhorns experienced hateful and violent behavior. We must do better and hold ourselves and each other accountable. We should participate in the democratic process by engaging in discourse and activism, but hate speech and violence are abhorrent to who we are as Longhorns.”

The Daily Texan released two articles this morning regarding statements released by two of the executive alliances, Colton-Mehraz and Guneez-Hannah, on how the climate of the election affected them. 

Update (11:30 am):

Colton Becker, nutrition senior and student body presidential candidate, said in a text he and running mate Mehraz Rahman, a marketing and Plan II senior, are excited for another round of elections.

“We trust the ESB and Dean of Students made the right call, in respect to fairness for all parties involved with the election,” Becker said.

Guneez Ibrahim, whose executive alliance with Hannah McMorris garnered over 30 percent of the votes last week, has been reached out to for comment but has yet to respond.

Original story:

The Office of the Dean of Students announced that there will be a new Student Government executive alliance election starting Wednesday at 8 a.m. through Thursday at 5 p.m.

The decision comes two days after the SG Supreme Court nullified the results of last week’s executive alliance election, in which the Colton-Mehraz campaign won with 54 percent of the vote. Before a new election could be held, however, the Office of the Dean of Students had to review the SG election code and give approval.

“This Campus-Wide Election Season has been difficult for students across campus,” said Jennifer Valdez, chair of the Election Supervisory Board, which monitors the elections. “Our Executive Alliances as well as our Election Supervisory Board have been harassed and threatened throughout the duration of this election. We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, so please join me in practicing civility and self-care for the rest of this election period and all semester.”

The SG Supreme Court invalidated the results after they found that a Class B violation against the Guneez-Hannah executive alliance was issued wrongfully by the ESB and harmed their campaign by placing a moratorium, which prevented them from campaigning on the final day of voting last week.

In its decision Sunday, the SG Supreme Court ruled that the actions by the Guneez-Hannah campaign were not “knowingly deceptive” as declared by the ESB last week.

“Finding the certification of the results for the executive alliance race to be invalid due to the wrongful moratorium placed on the Guneez Ibrahim/Hannah McMorris campaign, this Court holds the certification of the results of the executive alliance race to be unconstitutional,” the ruling said. “With the authority granted to this Court in the Student Government Constitution, this Court declares the certification of the results for the executive alliance race to be null and void.”

ESB chair Jennifer Valdez said Friday the social media activity the Class B sanction was based off of is a single “like” by the official Guneez-Hannah campaign Twitter. Since the decision was issued, the account has unliked the tweet.

“Hey kids vote @GuneezHannah for UT pres and vp!” the post by @sassysamosa said. “These two genuine WoC have a mission to cater to marginalized and tokenized voices and we’re tired of straight white zionist men in power!!!”

The SG Supreme Court wrote that the tweet itself was simply a statement of support for the campaign by a UT student and liking the tweet does not necessarily mean that the campaign endorse every part of the message within.

“In showing gratitude for a voter’s support, a campaign need not adopt every part of the voter’s agenda as its own agenda,” the ruling said. “It is clear based on the wording of the tweet that the statement of the campaign’s platform is separate from the personal importance to the writer of reducing the number of straight white Zionist men in power.”

The court also said campaign activities on voting days contribute substantially to voter turnout and support.

“As such, the Guneez-Hannah campaign now has no opportunity to attempt to garner votes during the last day of voting, as it otherwise would have had without a campaigning moratorium,” the ruling said. “The campaign was wrongfully deprived of the right to campaign during the crucial last voting day and could not take any action to rally and motivate its supporters, agents, and workers to maximize its electoral turnout.”