Emeritus student body president Xavier Rotnofsky and vice president Rohit Mandalapu presented a primarily satirical campaign last year, but they worked to address serious issues during their time in office.
Rotnofsky and Mandalapu, Plan II seniors collectively known as “RotMan,” were two candidates from the Texas Travesty who campaigned using comedy to win the Student Government (SG) executive alliance election last year. Platform points included humorous items such as requesting SG officers wear cellophane outfits — to increase transparency — but also mentioned real issues including finding sustainable funding for the FAC.
Mandalapu said he is happy with the actions of their administration over the past year.
“The big accomplishments are the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue, the passing of medical amnesty here at UT, the extension of dining hall hours and bringing back SUREWalk,” Mandalapu said.
Rotnofsky said he was proud of their administration’s ability to work quickly.
“What I learned is that we could work on the fly because we had each other and a really solid team to tackle any initiative that came up,” Rotnofsky said.
Rotnofsky said he thinks people gained more trust in SG because of the way he and Mandalapu conducted themselves.
“In our little part of our SG, people trusted us and felt that we brought a positive SG presence on campus,” Rotnofsky said. “It wasn’t just me and Rohit, it was the effort of many people. What I’m most proud of is that we tackled small tiny issues that affected pockets of campus, in addition to large issues that reverberated across the nation.”
Mandalapu and Rotnofsky advocated against the passage of campus carry during their time in office, but the law, SB 11, passed on June 1, 2015. Mandalapu said he does not think the passage of campus carry during their administration was a shortcoming on their part, but said it was unfortunate to witness the law pass.
“It was frustrating because we pushed against it pretty heavily,” Mandalapu said. “It felt like we as students were the main stakeholders, and it felt like our words were falling on deaf ears.”
Taral Patel, emeritus chief of staff and government senior, said he thinks the RotMan administration set themselves apart through their humor and tangible change.
“Many have argued that our administration is the only one in recent memory to have made such a difference in the day-to-day lives of students by entertaining them and providing incredible, meaningful successes for the student body that will impact future Longhorns for decades to come,” Patel said.
Mandalapu said he thinks it will be important for the incoming administration to represent the UT student body during the Texas legislative session in January.
“There was an increase in tuition this year because of reduced funding from the state,” Mandalapu said. “It will be the responsibility of the incoming administration as well as the administration after them, so as student leaders they will have to advocate for higher education issues including funding.”
According to Rotnofsky, he will pursue a doctorate in oceanography from a man named Bob who works at a fish shack in Corpus Christi after graduation.
Mandalapu, who graduates in May, said he will be working as a management consultant in Houston.
Rotnofsky said he hopes UT will construct a building in their honor and name it “RotMan,” while Mandalapu said he wants UT to create statues of him and Rotnofsky.
“That’s the ultimate goal and probably the biggest task of the next administration — finding the funds to build these statues,” Mandalapu said.