• Lunchables, brownies and election fraud: Maly will ask administration to investigate Rotnofsky-Mandalapu

    In a hearing Wednesday night, the Election Supervisory Board penalized Executive Alliance candidates Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu for failing to disclose the purchase of roses, Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies and Lunchables on their campaign finance forms. Defeated presidential candidate David Maly said he now intends to ask Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly and the Student Government Judicial Court to investigate the possibility of election fraud.

    Although Rotnofsky and Mandalapu will not be required to pay a fine, their campaign spending limit will be reduced by 10 percent, or $102, from their original $1,020 limit.

    “The Election Supervisory Board has determined that the Rotnofsky-Mandalapu campaign did fail to disclose the cost of New Jersey pink roses, brownies, and lunchables given out to candidates at the candidate debate, and this failure to report shall result in a Class A violation and levy of a 10% fine,” the board’s resolution read.

    Maly, who filed the complaint, said he inquired about Rotnofsky and Mandalapu’s financial disclosures after the SG debate last week. During the debate, Rotnofsky and Mandalapu served snacks to the debate moderators and to the other candidates, including Maly, and also gifted each with a “New Jersey pink rose.”

    Maly said he was not satisfied with the ESB’s handling of the complaint. He alleges that Rotnofsky and Mandalapu originally disclosed the cost of the Lunchables, but not the roses or the Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies. Although the cost of the Lunchables was deleted from the disclosure documents after what a board member described as an "administrative error," Maly said he believes Rotnofsky and Mandalapu clearly understood that all three items, which add up to less than $30, should have been disclosed. Further, Maly said, he believes the Lunchables' removal from the document was "no accident."

    Maly said at the hearing, Rotnofsky and Mandalapu repeatedly claimed they didn't realize any of the purchases should be disclosed, and therefore did not disclose them, though records show they did originally include the Lunchables.

    “I think it’s clear that there’s fraud going on,” Maly said.

    Rotnofsky said he did not realize the under-$30 purchase would count as a campaign cost because he gave the brownies and flowers to the other candidates to be nice.

    “It was as a gesture of goodwill to the other candidates and moderators because it was going to be a long debate,” Rotnofsky said. “It was not to advance our campaign or our campaign prospects.”

    According to their campaign finance documents, Rotnofsky and Mandalapu have spent a total of $53.88 on their campaign  for two domain names and six bags of Hershey’s Kisses. Mandalapu said adding the New Jersey pink roses, Lunchables and brownies to their expenses would still put them at under one-fifteenth of the total allotted spending amount. 

    Maly is simultaneously pursuing a complaint against Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi, the other candidates in the runoff election. To read more about his second allegation of wrongdoing, click here.

    For a full recap of platform points, candidate descriptions and Texan coverage of the Rotnofsky-Mandalapu campaign, click here.

    Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional information since its original publication. The headline has been changed.

  • President of UT SAE chapter condemns OU fraternity video

    After a viral video showed Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members from the University of Oklahoma chanting racial slurs, the president of UT’s SAE chapter released a statement asserting the University's chapter is not associated with the chant.

    In video that surfaced Sunday, SAE members use multiple anti-black slurs and reference lynching, singing, “You can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me.”

    In the hours following the release of the video, OU President David Boren severed ties between OU and the SAE chapter and expelled two students who, he said, played a “leadership role” in singing the chant. Tuesday, President William Powers Jr. announced the dean of students would look into whether UT’s SAE chapter has traditionally used a similar chant.

    "Rumors also are circulating that a chant similar to the one at OU has been traditional in the UT chapter of SAE," Powers said in a statement. "Our dean of students said Monday she is looking into this matter as is standard practice in such cases."

    Luke Cone, UT’s SAE chapter president, said he neither, nor any active member of the fraternity, had heard of the chant prior to the release of the video.

    “Personally, I am deeply offended by the behavior, and I can speak on the behalf of my fraternity brothers that we are all profoundly distressed about the vindictive words that were used in it,” Cone said in the statement.

    Rumors on social media regarding UT’s SAE chapter began after an anonymous Reddit comment surfaced alleging the fraternity members often sang a chant with similar lyrics. The comment, posted last month, was not authenticated. Later, another user on Twitter sent a message addressed to Boren that read, “I was an SAE at a university in Texas from 2000-2004. The exact same chant was often used then. This is not isolated.” The tweet has since been deleted.

    Cone said he did not believe there was truth to the posts' claims.

    “Please note that the twitter post reads ‘at a university in Texas’ rather than ‘at The University of Texas,’” Cone said. “I believe that people assumed or misread that he was speaking directly about our chapter at UT.”

  • Complaint filed against Rotnofsky-Mandalapu for not disclosing purchase of snacks, fake roses

    Student Government Executive Alliance candidates Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu will attend an Election Supervisory Board hearing Wednesday night for failing to claim the purchases of brownies and fake roses on a financial disclosure form.

    The candidates performed a gag at the SG debate last week where they served the other candidates snacks and gifted each candidate a rose.

    Former SG presidential candidate David Maly filed the complaint, saying he inquired about Rotnofsky and Mandalapu’s financial disclosures, specifically regarding the snacks and roses they served at the debate.

    Maly said he also sent emails to ESB Chair Nick Molina, asking whether the alliance had filed receipts of the specific purchases with the ESB.

    “I then inquired about the receipts via email and received an email back Monday night saying they had just been posted,” Maly said in the complaint. “No receipts for brownies or fake roses were included.”

    Rotnofsky and Mandalapu are candidates in a runoff election against Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi. Voting takes place Wednesday and Thursday, and results will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Main Mall.