Anika Agarwal

Editor’s Note: There are eight University-wide representative positions, for which 15 candidates are running. Eighty percent of University-wide representative candidates responded to the Daily Texan Candidate Questionnaire, and we judged the candidates based on the quality of their written responses as well as their performance at Monday’s candidate debate. All photos were provided by the candidates. Voting takes place Wednesday and Thursday at utexasvote.org.

 

Kallen Dimitroff, history and government junior

Kallen Dimitroff has been involved in numerous school organizations in her three years at UT. She previously worked as a first-year representative and a Liberal Arts representative in Student Government. With this experience, she is inspired to create a yearly conference sponsored by SG in which leaders from every major student group discuss issues of importance. She’s devoted to increasing unity on campus and helping students get connected. We strongly recommend Dimitroff.

 

John Falke, BHP, finance and government sophomore

John Falke is committed to student participation in the University. With ideas involving larger and more involved student organization fairs and an increased emphasis on student organizations at freshman orientation, Falke wants students to recognize all their options. As a current member of the Assembly, Falke has the experience needed to be an effective representative of all UT students and a desire to improve the internal culture of SG. We strongly recommend Falke.

 

Anika Agarwal, biomedical engineering freshman

Anika Agarwal does not believe that Student Government cannot effect real change. By “getting the student body more involved in the process of student government and by making the process of enacting legislation more transparent, SG can effectively mitigate this misconception,” Agarwal believes. This freshman’s solutions to campus issues like hours of operation in dining halls and bus route timing are practical and appeal to all ages and types of students. We endorse Agarwal.

 

Hayley Cook, advertising junior

Hayley Cook believes firmly in a “commitment to excellence” and strives to be a good leader. We were impressed to see that she has a specific goal targeting the availability of online recording of lectures to students on campus, and using technology to document SG progress. We liked her idea that by engaging and informing students, SG has an opportunity to empower the student population at UT. We recommend Cook.

 

Alejandrina Guzman, psychology sophomore

Alejandrina Guzman is dedicated to improving handicap accessibility around campus because she does not believe the amenities in place are enough. Guzman displays an initiative to speak on behalf of a group not always represented in Student Government. For her interests in student safety and updated accessibility, we recommend Guzman.

 

Kevin Helgren, psychology and neuroscience senior

As a newcomer to SG, Kevin Helgren makes up for his lack of experience with passion. Helgren believes in transparency and plans to implement an open-door policy — complete with monthly assemblies open to the student body —  if elected. Helgren has the drive and unique perspective to turn this campus around. We recommend Helgren.

 

Santiago Rosales, finance and economics freshman

Santiago Rosales is well aware of the necessary improvements that need to be made within SG and the University as whole. A first-year representative, he cited outreach as a major source of improvement, as well as internal communication. His long term goal is to “see a stronger UT challenge the Ivy League and lead the nation in research and alumni notoriety. That begins with a firm investment in the student life of my peers and a dedication to opening more doors for all students at UT.” We recommend Rosales.

 

Spencer Schredder, economics and international relations & global studies junior

Spencer Schredder understands the problems that exist within Student Government. For him, accountability and ethics play a large role in his life and will surely transfer over if elected. He plans on opening clear lines of communication between SG and the student population as well as increasing cross-cultural understanding and eliminating wasteful spending that could easily be more responsibly allocated to deserving groups and causes. We recommend Schredder.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Anika Agarwal and Sammy Minkowitz | Daily Texan Staff

The Election Supervisory Board suspended two Student Government candidates, University-wide representative candidate Anika Agarwal and Liberal Arts representative candidate Sammy Minkowitz, from campaigning for two days.

In a majority opinion, the Board concluded that Agarwal and Minkowitz violated the election code of “prohibited association” by showing support for other candidates. 

Graduate school representative candidate Katherine Jensen submitted a complaint to the Board, saying Agarwal solicited votes on behalf of Minkowitz via social media. In the complaint, Jensen said Agarwal’s support of Minkowitz on Facebook showed a clear collaboration between the two campaigns because Minkowitz did not “untag” herself in Agarwal’s endorsement photo in the two days following the original post.

“Sammy and Anika were kind of confused on whether they were associated,” Molina said. 

Agarwal said Minkowitz asked her to make her campaign photo Agarwal’s profile picture on Facebook, and Agarwal instead shared the photo on her Facebook wall. Agarwal said she did not consider her actions to be co-campaigning because she did not share the photo within her campaign page. 

“I didn’t really see it as co-campaigning,” Agarwal said. “It was a miscommunication and forgetting how open Facebook can be.”

Minkowitz said she had similar misunderstandings as to what co-campaigning meant. 

“I thought of co-campaigning as putting two candidates’ names on the same poster, two candidates speaking together or two candidates posting a campaign photo with both faces,” Minkowitz said. “I didn’t think I was co-campaigning, and nobody told me what I was doing wrong.”

Jensen also said Minkowitz showed public support for University-wide representative candidate Jonathan Dror. On Facebook, Minkowitz clicked that she was going to the event “Vote for Jonathan Dror,” and she also liked his Facebook page. The Board found that Dror was not in violation of the code.

According to the election code, candidates can not support other candidates unless the candidates are running together in an Executive Alliance campaign for Student Government president and vice president.  

“We take the prohibited association clause very seriously,” Board chair Nick Molina said. “We don’t want any students to get the idea that two candidates can run together.”

In their resolution, the Board said Agarwal was in direct violation of the election Code and Minkowitz received undue benefits from the prohibited association. Both candidates are suspended from campaigning between 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Monday. 

“Except in cases of a bona fide executive alliance as provided for in this code, no candidate is allowed to contribute financially or provide any other form of tangible support, including but not limited to campaign materials, to another candidate’s campaign,” the code says.

In addition to a temporary ban from campaigning, the Board required that Agarwal and Minkowitz no longer spend 10 percent of their total available campaign funds for their respective campaign races. University-wide representative candidates are allowed to spend $612, and college representative candidates may spend up to $408. 

“The way that I see it, it’s meant to not necessarily hurt the candidates. It’s meant to level the playing field,” Molina said. 

The two will be able to campaign again Monday night in time for the University-wide representative debate.