The Firing Line: Election season

Editor’s note: From current candidates to observing students, the following firing lines represent the many reactions to the Student Government (SG) election and the role of the Election Supervisory Board (ESB). All executive alliance candidates were asked to contribute.

DQ the ESB

Yet again, the ESB unnecessarily disqualified Madison Gardner and Antonio Guevara, candidates for SG president and vice president. The most recent disqualification truly illuminates the ESB’s feelings toward the pair; the ESB completely disregarded any formal procedures.

The ESB is designed to supervise any formal complaints from students during the election process, so the members give up their right to make formal complaints. In violation of the election code, a member of the ESB brought forth a complaint during the Tuesday night hearing. Additionally, complaints that are not dismissed must then be discussed in a hearing as stated in 4.03 of the Election Code. The ESB failed to follow such procedure.

There is an obvious issue with the ESB this year, which reflects poorly on the election, candidates and student government. The ESB needs to think before acting so drastically in an already fragile race that will decide who will lead our student body. Madison and Antonio fought to maintain their spot on the ballot, and for the ESB to be so careless about procedure is ludicrous. Accordingly, the ESB’s actions display blatant hypocrisy, seeing as its complaint focuses on procedure in the first place. If we continue to have students overseeing the election process, then the ESB should be well-versed and precise in its rulings. There is no reason for Madison and Antonio to be disqualified, but the ESB, on the other hand, needs a DQ.

Samantha Smith
Middle Eastern studies and Arabic sophomore

Igniting a movement

Terrence and I are resolved to continue focusing on the overarching goals of our campaign — raising awareness and advocating for our platform and the communities it aims to represent.

Other candidates’ disqualifications don’t change much for us — our goals haven’t changed, our platform is solid and our list of supporters keeps growing. We’re stepping up our speaker circuiting now more than ever, and we’re deeply appreciative of the many new students who have heard our pitch, expressed their support and spread our message grassroots style.

We believe in students and we believe in the sleeping potential of SG. If we’re elected, we hope to induce a major perception shift and work to mend the relationship between the two. For now, we soldier on, and we abide in the dream of an empowered student body. This is about igniting a movement and it starts right now.

John Lawler
Candidate for SG President

A fresh perspective

These past two months have been an experience to say the least. With all that has occurred there is no saying what could happen in the next couple of days; however, we want the students to know that we are still here for them. We have kept their best interests in mind from the very beginning and will continue to do just that.

The election process has brought a lot of exposure to SG and we understand many students have lost trust in the organization. As SG outsiders, we bring a fresh perspective. We are confident that, if elected, we can restore faith that SG is here to serve the people who matter most — the students.

Thor Lund and Wills Brown
Candidates for SG President and Vice President

Managing egos

Recent controversies surrounding SG elections have drawn attention away from the real issue — representing the voice of the student body. Every spring, we go through a dog and pony show to elect our new student leaders, and invariably violations occur. Yes, this year’s controversies are several orders in magnitude higher than in years past, but every election’s issues boil down to managing egos.

It’s beyond time for everyone involved in this year’s election — from the individual candidates to the ESB to, yes, The Daily Texan — to put their egos aside and allow the University to move on. No matter the outcome of this election, it’s time for everyone involved to recognize the best interest of the University and settle these disputes in an honest, civilized manner. This is the only way that SG can get beyond this immediate turmoil and get back to working for students — which is what SG does best.

Michael Redding
President-elect of the Graduate Student Assembly, Texas Student Media contract employee

A mockery of the University

SG likes to contend that it represents the student population at UT. Last year, only about 8,000 of those students voted in SG elections, hardly a majority of more than 51,000 total UT students. Toward that end, we propose that if less than a quarter of the student body votes in this year’s SG presidential election, then SG should be considered without a mandate and disband. A university organization cannot represent an entire student body if it does not even represent a quarter of that same body.

Furthermore, this year’s candidates have made a mockery of both this University’s laws, honor and integrity. SG should be about democracy and integrity, not childlike mock heroics. The time has come for the silent majority to stand up and demand that the University end this ridiculous display of idiocy. We cannot continue to allow ourselves to be represented by students who are elected by the few and disgrace the many.

Garrett Hopper and Grant Smith
Supply chain management and economics senior and history senior

The human element

I couldn’t have written a script with more twists and turns than those I’ve seen play out over the past five weeks during this election cycle. I have many friends who worked hard on other campaigns for weeks now, and at the end of the day, it hurts to see them struggle through adversity.

I wish we were more attuned to our human element. We all tend to get a little cold during campaign season; it’s easy to lose some of our sensitivity toward others and some of our discernment.

Looking back on the year and a half I spent in SG, I have, at different times, been disingenuous, too headstrong, unwise and just generally imperfect. But the truth that eventually impressed itself onto me is that we can’t let the past dictate our present. We’re all a little imperfect.

My exhortation to all of us SG junkies is this: Don’t hold grudges, don’t take SG personally and don’t be afraid to grow from mistakes. Get back in the fight and do something great. We’re all on the same side. When we truly believe that, our community will be an even better place.

Matt Portillo
Music and rhetoric and writing senior
John Lawler campaign volunteer

Printed on Friday, March 23, 2012 as: The trials and tribulations of election season