Interfraternity Council agrees not to endorse candidates

Nicole Cobler

The Interfraternity Council decided not to endorse candidates this year after receiving criticism last year for an email sent to the leaders of the council’s 24 fraternities endorsing current Student Government President Horacio Villarreal and Vice President Ugeo Williams’ executive alliance campaign.

“We got backlash from [last year’s email]. People’s biggest concerns were his use of the word ‘endorse,’” said Edwin Qian, Interfraternity Council president and management information systems and economics senior. “What [the council] meant was for it to be an informational email, not an endorsement.”

The council held a meeting Wednesday to allow all candidates running for SG positions to discuss their platforms to the leaders of the council’s fraternities. After the meeting, the council sent an email informing council fraternities about the candidates who spoke at the meeting, but did not endorse any of them, Qian said.

“While the IFC is not endorsing any candidates in this SG election, we appraise these candidates for showing strong pro-Greek interest and thank them for taking the time to speak to IFC leaders,” the email said.  

According to Qian, the council’s role in SG elections has been inconsistent in the past. Qian said he will urge candidates running for the executive alliance, Texas Student Media, University-wide representative positions and the Co-op Board of Directors to discuss their platforms with fraternity leaders.

“This year we’re still trying to promote the election because our ultimate goal is to get more students involved and informed about the election,” Qian said. “The only thing that’s really changed is that last year’s email didn’t really include any platforms, but this year we want people to know why they’re running and what their plans are.”

Villarreal, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Williams were endorsed in last year’s email and won with more than 53 percent of the vote.

Villarreal said he did not see last year’s email as a big issue and would expect other organizations to endorse candidates who are members of their organization.

“It’s a tricky thing for someone that is involved in the community such as myself,” Villarreal said. “I didn’t see it as an incredibly big issue, especially if whoever was running was involved in another organization.”

According to Qian, if a member of the council chooses to endorse a candidate, the endorsement would be personal and not a council endorsement. He said individual fraternities are still entitled to endorse anyone they want.

The candidates for the executive alliance are not a part of a fraternity. Caroline Carter, the vice presidential candidate running with presidential candidate Kenton Wilson, is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a sorority in the University Panhellenic Council.

Wilson said he thought it was great the council would not be sending out an email endorsing a particular candidate.

“It will keep us on our game to make sure we reach out to all students instead of just relying on some electronic form of communication,” Wilson said. “We’re getting more of a chance to explain ourselves because [Greek members] know the email is not coming out, so they can’t just sit back and wait on it.”

Taylor Strickland, the vice presidential candidate running alongside presidential candidate Kornel “Kori” Rady, said the change would give students an opportunity to learn about each platform. 

“I don’t think it affects the turnout as much, as it will really urge people to go out and be informed voters, which is all we can really hope for as candidates,” Strickland said.