Nick Molina

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. 

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Baylor Morrison and Matthew Normyle, who were running as a Student Government Executive Alliance team, said Sunday they are planning to withdraw from the election, though their names will still appear on the ballot.

Morrison, who was running for SG president, said he and Normyle, who was running for vice president, mutually decided to withdraw from the race because of the time commitment of campaigning. Morrison said he and Normyle learned valuable lessons from the time they spent in the campaign process.

“This whole election process has been a lot of fun and a crazy learning experience for Matthew and me,” Morrison said in a statement to The Daily Texan. “But in the course of the campaign, a lot of things fell to the way side, like schoolwork and other organizations we’re a part of. As great as it’s been, we’ve got to honor our existing commitments and admit we’ve stretched ourselves too thin … We wish all the candidates good luck with the rest of their campaigns and hope for a big turnout on Wednesday.”

Click here to view our interactive database of all campus-wide candidates and their platforms.

Election Supervisory Board Chair Nick Molina said the two have not yet sent an official letter of withdrawal from the race. If Morrison and Normyle send in a signed letter, they will then be officially out of the Executive Alliance race. Even if they formally withdraw, their names will still appear on the ballot, because Friday to have names removed, Molina said. 

“As of right now, they’re still in the race,” Molina said. 

If they hope to endorse another Executive Alliance, Morrison and Normyle cannot formally do so until they officially send their withdrawal to the Election Supervisory Board. 

Morrison and Normyle’s platform centered around a “Happy Campus Initiative,” which pushed for therapy puppies, more eco-friendly water bottle fillers and more live music on campus. Their platform also included expanding Freshman Leadership Organization and Camp Texas, as well as implementing a service project after Round Up, an annual weekend of music and festivities hosted by the Greek community.

Morrison and Normyle’s Facebook page, Baylor Matthew 2015, had 404 likes at the time of publication. In an online poll hosted by the Daily Texan Opinion section, Morrison and Normyle totaled 3 percent of the roughly 5,000 votes. 

Kimia Dargahi, who is running for vice president, said she is not sure how the withdrawal will affect the race. 

“I can’t predict how it’s going to affect the race,” Dargahi said. “I honestly did not know how they were doing and how they were campaigning. Social media, and even The Daily Texan poll, can be misleading at times.”

David Maly, who is running for president, said he is also unsure how the withdrawal will affect the race. 

“I thought they were good guys,” Maly said. “I don’t know how much support they had; I don’t know how it’s going to play out.”

For Executive Alliance candidates Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu the withdrawal came out of left field. 

“It was a surprise, because we, Rohit and I, would cross paths with them at different speaking events, and they seemed very into the race,” Rotnofsky said. “It did come out of nowhere.”  

The three remaining executive alliances — Braydon Jones and Dargahi, Maly and Stephen Svatek, and Rotnofsky and Mandalapu — will participate in a debate The Daily Texan will host Monday at 7 p.m. in the Union Ballroom.