Colton-Mehraz executive alliances dispels rumors on social media, address harmful campaign environment

Chase Karacostas

In a Facebook post Monday, Colton Becker, who won the Student Government executive alliance election last week, attempted to dispel the rumors of sending sexually harassing messages and nude SnapChat photos to multiple women last year.

The rumors, which Becker said were untrue, surfaced on several social media platforms during the SG campaign period and continued to circle after it ended.

“After the election results were announced, I couldn’t even celebrate,” Becker said. “There was just an explosion of tweets that were bringing up this information that was utterly false, but that people were latching onto because they needed to vent their frustration.”

On Sunday, the SG Supreme Court nullified the election results, pending approval from the Dean of Students.

Nutrition senior Becker, whose campaign platform included increasing support for survivors of sexual assault, wrote that online harassment made him feel like he had to address the rumors.

“I would like to apologize to anyone who has felt frustrated or confused by the lack of visible and accessible information surrounding this rumor. I was initially hesitant to make a post on social media for many reasons,” Becker said in the post. “But I’ve now realized that addressing people’s concerns on an individual basis is not enough.”

Becker denied sending any photos and filed a Title IX report in December to dispel the rumors. One individual, not multiple, did accuse Becker of sending nude photos, according to the Title IX report, which was viewed by The Daily Texan.

The case was resolved informally — instead of through a traditional Title IX investigation — between the two parties and was closed on Jan. 26, 2018, according to the report.

“Seeing that stuff is heartbreaking in general,” Becker told The Daily Texan in regard to reading rumors on social media. “I would be more attentive to the way people looked at me as I walked around campus …. You wonder, ‘Have they heard this rumor, do they think you’re an abuser?’ It’s just a very dark state of mind to be in.”

Rahman, a marketing and Plan II senior, requested students to stop attacking those involved in the election in a post Monday. In their respective posts, Rahman and Becker said the harassing messages directed at them and their opponents, design and sociology senior Guneez Ibrahim and journalism and African studies junior Hannah McMorris, were inexcusable.

“The hatred and harassment I have both experienced and witnessed in just two weeks is disgusting,” Rahman said in the post. “I am taken aback that Longhorns, no matter how few or many, can treat each other this way — not just on social media, hidden behind a screen, but to each other’s faces.”