Student Government Executive Alliance

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.    

Student Government Executive Alliance candidates

Student Government Executive Alliance candidates Braydon Jones, second from left, and Kimia Dargahi, far left, will compete against fellow candidates and Texas Travesty editors Xavier Rotnofsky, second from right, and Rohit Mandalapu, far right, in a runoff election next week as neither alliance received over 50 percent of the vote.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith and Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

March 6, 2015: On this week's episode of the Daily Texan NewsCast we discuss the Student Government Executive Alliance runoff, a Texas marijuana bill, the UT Austin presidential search, and the Graduate Student Assembly Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu compete in the executive alliance debate against candidates David Maly, Steven Svatek, Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi in the Union Ballroom on Monday night.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

With one day left of voting, Student Government Executive Alliance candidates spent Wednesday tabling in the rain and making final pushes on social media.

Braydon Jones, a government senior, said he and Kimia Dargahi, an international relations and global studies senior, will be listening to student opinions until the end of the race.

“We still believe in our platform,” Jones said. “We still believe we have a lot of listening to do. It’s not over yet.”

The campaign team for journalism and economics senior David Maly and civil engineering junior Stephen Svatek are working to talk to as many students as possible, according to Maly.  

“We’ve absolutely been busy, just working on last minute outreach efforts,” Maly said. “I feel like with any election, you have to give it all you’ve got, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Xavier Rotnofsky, a Plan II and linguistics junior, said he and Rohit Mandalapu, a Plan II and economics senior, read palms and traded secrets in the West Mall on Wednesday and said they will table again tomorrow, even in the case of bad weather.

“We’re not expecting a certain outcome. We’re just taking it a day at a time,” Rotnofsky said. “We’ll be out tabling [Thursday] on the West Mall regardless of inclement weather.”

The delay will have no affect on the campus-wide voting schedule, according to Election Supervisory Board chair Nick Molina. Voting will still end at 5 p.m., and winners will be announced at 6:30 p.m. In the event that the University cancels classes entirely, voting will be extended to Friday at noon, and the announcement will be made at 1:30 p.m., Molina said. 

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.

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Update: Since this story's original publication, Baylor Morrison and Matthew Normyle withdrew from the Executive Alliance election, citing competing time commitments. To read more about their decision, click here.

Campaigning began Wednesday morning for Student Government Executive Alliance, but the West Mall was void of flyers, yelling and promotional materials.

The candidates for president and vice president — Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi, David Maly and Stephen Svatek, Baylor Morrison and Matthew Normyle, and Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu — have instead expressed a desire to gather student opinion and include more student groups in conversation during the initial stages of the election. 

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

Jones, a government senior, and Dargahi, an international relations and global studies and Middle Eastern studies senior, said their platform will not be solidified until they sit down with students and hear what students want to be changed on campus. Jones, who currently serves as SG speaker of the assembly, said the campaign, called “Let’s Talk,” is focused on talking with students and not getting their names out just yet.  

“The big thing we want to do is listen,” Jones said. “We want to start a conversation, hear what students want and watch their platform become our platform.”

The duo’s platform points include working to strengthen tradition on campus, helping students “build bridges” for the future and increasing social advocacy and safety. 

Maly, an economics and journalism senior, and Svatek, a civil engineering junior, are focusing their campaign on transparency, which Maly said begins as early as the campaigning process.

“I feel like a lot of students don’t know how Student Government works, what it does, how to get involved [and] if they can get involved,” Maly said.

Their other platform points include easier transfers between colleges at the University, advocacy for lower tuition, easier transportation from Riverside to campus, and keeping the Perry-Castañeda Library open 24/7.

Rotnofsky, a Plan II and linguistics senior, and Mandalapu, a Plan II and economics senior — who are both involved in the satirical publication Texas Travesty — said their campaign will focus on reaching out to the smaller groups on campus. 

Their platform includes turning the UT Tower into premium student condominiums, promising that President William Powers Jr. will no longer be president by the end of the semester, and increasing transparency by mandating that all SG representatives wear cellophane instead of clothes. Mandalapu said the real point of the campaign is to make students realize that anyone can run for SG.

“We’re making a joke out of it, but we’re taking it very seriously,” Rotnofsky said. “We’re all about the campaign, and we’re all about Student Government. You have to love the thing you satirize.”

Morrison, an economics junior, and Normyle, an electrical engineering senior, said their campaign will focus more on spreading their names by word-of-mouth and social media. Both students are involved with Camp Texas.

“We’re funny, personal guys, [and] we’re lighthearted guys,” Morrison said. “We want to [make Student Government] more approachable, more accessible. Humor is something we’re going to use a lot in our campaign, but we’re in it to win it.”

Normyle said the campaign started as a joke, but now he said they are all in. Normyle said the team is going to use its “outsider” status to reach groups on campus.

The candidates will participate in a debate among their competitors March 2. Elections will take place March 4–5.

This article misstated the date of the debate and the dates of the election. It has since been updated.