Ryan Lutz

Undeclared sophomore Wes Draper (right) shakes hands with government sophomore John Brown after winning the runoff election to become the University-wide representative Thursday afternoon. Draper won the election with 54.49 percent of the vote. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Wes Draper took the eighth position for University-wide representative in a runoff election Thursday, after an additional week of campaigning since last week’s campus-wide elections.

Draper, an undeclared sophomore, and government sophomore John Brown both received 2,080 votes last week. Draper won the runoff election with 54.49 percent of the vote. According to Election Supervisory Board chairman Ryan Lutz, 2,090 students voted Wednesday and Thursday. This is about four times greater than the 507 students who voted in the Graduate Student Assembly election.

“We didn’t expect this high of a voter turnout, but we’re absolutely pleased it was that high,” Lutz said. “That means a lot of students cared about that position.”

Lutz said he was surprised there was a runoff election for a representative position.

“If there are more than two executive alliances, it will almost always go into a runoff, but for a representative position, something like that has not happened for as long as I can remember,” Lutz said.

As an incoming University-wide representative, Draper said he plans to make transferring to colleges more accessible for current students at the University. As a student in the School of Undergraduate Studies, he said he has found it difficult to transfer into another college.

“Just because you’re at UT doesn’t mean as much as it used to, which is kind of silly in itself to keep enrolling large masses and just throw them into the feeder program — UGS,” Draper said.

Draper said he hopes to create a program that would make it easier for students to enroll in their first choice college after they’ve enrolled at the University.

“If I had one goal next year, it would be to really make those programs more accessible to students who are at UT,” Draper said. 

Draper, a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and Cru, a ministry for college students, said he also hopes to bring the student body together outside of student organizations.

“Because of the size of the University, it forces people into groups to find some sort of acceptance and unity,” Draper said.

Draper cited Student Government’s push for a campus-wide homecoming and tailgating in a specific location before athletic events as effective ways to increase student involvement. 

Brown, who is currently a representative for the College of Liberal Arts, said he was glad it was a close race and plans to do what he can to stay active in SG.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Brown said. “I can’t complain. I’d rather it be interesting than boring.”

Sara LeStrange, communications manager for the Office of the Dean of Students, said the department worked to make sure there were no problems with the voting website for the runoff election. During last week’s elections, the website crashed 15 minutes before polls closed, resulting in voting being extended for an hour and 45 minutes. 

“Technical difficulties happen,” LeStrange said. “There was a glitch. It was repaired and it was really an unfortunate issue of timing.”

 

Two U-Wide candidates forced into runoff, Villarreal-Wilkey to take GSA helm

Government and corporate communications senior Kori Rady embraces current Student Government president Horacio Villareal after being elected SG president Thursday night. Rady plans to deliver on platform points including an extended Thanksgiving break, creating a SafeRide program to taxi students home from downtown and creating an upperclassman shadowing day to pair freshmen with seniors.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

For a complete list of election results, scroll to the bottom.

After two days of voting and two hours of technical delays, Kori Rady and Taylor Strickland were elected Student Government president and vice president Thursday night.

Rady, a government and corporate communications senior, and Strickland, a corporate communications junior, defeated government senior Kenton Wilson and Caroline Carter, a marketing and international relations and global studies senior, with 51.9 percent of the vote. 

According to Election Supervisory Board chairman Ryan Lutz, 7,822 students voted in the election — a voter turnout rate of roughly 15.02 percent, using fall enrollment numbers. 

“We ran such a positive campaign,” Rady said. “I feel like we deserve all that has happened here tonight, and we can move forward and do great things for the University.”

In addition to the executive alliance election, students also cast ballots for University-wide representatives, representatives for each school and college, the president and vice president of the Graduate Student Assembly, Texas Student Media, the University Co-op and University Unions.

According to Lutz, the two-hour technical delay, which began when the voting website crashed 15 minutes before the polls closed, was caused by a third-party technical difficulty. Lutz said the board will resolve the issues before the runoff election for the eighth University-wide representative position, which will be held Wednesday and Thursday. The two candidates in the run-off, Wes Draper and John Brown, each received exactly 2,080 votes for the position. 

Rady continued campaigning on social media when it was announced that polls would close almost two hours later than expected. 

Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said approximately 50 additional students voted between 5 and 6:45 p.m., when polling hours were extended.

“Technology can be your best friend, it can be your worst enemy and something somewhere in the middle,” Reagins-Lilly said. “I think people just understand technology can be unpredictable.”

Rady said he plans to deliver on platform points including an extended Thanksgiving break, creating a SafeRide program to taxi students home from downtown and creating an upperclassmen shadowing day to pair freshmen with seniors.

Wilson said he was happy his campaign was able to increase involvement among students who did not have Student Government experience.

“It was close, and obviously we would have liked to come out on top, but overall [Rady and Strickland] are highly qualified and they’ll do a great job next year,” Wilson said. 

The Election Supervisory Board heard four complaints Wednesday night, with one resulting in Graduate Student Assembly candidates David Villarreal and Brian Wilkey being forced to cease campaigning until 5 p.m. Thursday because of a campaign worker sending unsolicited emails. 

Despite the board’s decision, Villarreal and Wilkey won the executive alliance race for GSA. There were 507 graduate students who voted in the GSA presidential election.

Student Election Results

Executive Alliance: Kori Rady (President) and Taylor Strickland (Vice President)

University-Wide Representatives: Braydon Jones, Andrew "Cowboy" Rindler, Piper Vaughn, Taral Patel, Conner Patrick, Chandler Foster, Shannon Geison

The eighth university-wide representative will be determined in a run-off election March 5 and 6. Candidates John Brown and Wes Draper each received 2080 votes.

Student Government Representatives:

Architecture Representative: Valentina Rodriguez

Business Representatives: Jackson Clifford, John Falke, Meredith Rotwein

Communication Representatives: Ruben Cardenas and Marisa Beyerlein

Education Representative: Melysa Barth

Engineering Representatives: Jamie Nalley, Edward Banner, TJ Egeland

Fine Arts Representative: Austin Ferguson

GeoScience Representative: Jessica Sherman

Liberal Arts Representatives: Annie Albrecht, Sergio Cavazos, Tanner Long, Adit Bior

Natural Science Representative: Caroline Starling, Anish Patel, Cameron Crane, Adam Sacks, Donald Egan

Social Work Representative: Alissa Osgood

Undergraduate Studies Representative: Will Smith

Graduate Student Assembly: David Villarreal (President) and Brian Wilkey (Vice President)

University Co-op Board of Directors: Alex Bryan and Jake Schwartz

University Unions Board of Directors: Matthew Ealy and Vicky Nguyen

Campus Events + Entertainment President: Christopher Nickelson

The Daily Texan Editor-in-Chief: Riley Brands

Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

Update: Three candidates for University-wide representative positions were found guilty of campaigning in association with each other, and have been banned from campaigning for two days, according to Ryan Lutz, chairman of the election supervisory board.

The three candidates, Chandler Foster, rhetoric and writing sophomore, Piper Vaughn, nursing sophomore, and Adrienne Gamez, corporate communications junior, were reprimanded by the supervisory board after an anonymous tipster filed a complaint the three students had been campaigning together. In addition to a two-day ban on campaigning, each student will also be fined ten percent of the total available expenditures for the University-wide representative candidates. Typically, each candidate can spend up to $612 campaigning.

In a statement issued by the board, each candidate was found guilty of campaigning in a way that did not distinguish the students from each other.

"The candidates made no attempt to distinguish themselves as individual candidates besides stating their individual names," the statement read. "There was no distiction between platform points offered during the event. The candidates admitted to visiting up to nine distinct organizations on [Feb. 17], all as a group."

Original story: An anonymous student filed the first complaint of the Student Government election season against three University-wide representative candidates, but did not show up to the resultant Election Supervisory Board hearing because he said he was “put up to” filing the charge.

In his allegation, filed Monday, the anonymous student alleged that University-wide representative candidates Chandler Foster, rhetoric and writing sophomore, nursing sophomore Piper Vaughn and corporate communications junior Adrienne Gamez appeared together at the Sigma Chi fraternity house to give a speech encouraging fraternity members to vote for all three candidates as a group.

“This gives them an unfair advantage over other candidates whom campaign on their own,” the anonymous student said in an email.

Student Government election code prohibits “joint, collaborative campaigning, planning or activities” and says “all non-executive alliance candidates in the election must campaign separately, without written or verbal endorsements, collaboration, financial or other tangible support from any fellow candidate in any campus-wide election.”

The student who originally filed the complaint did not show up to the meeting. In an email to the Election Supervisory Board and the three accused candidates, the student said he was not aware of the repercussions his complaint would have.

“I will not be there tonight at 10:30 [p.m.],” Vaughn said, reading aloud from the email. “I was put up to this. I had no idea what it would mean for these girls or for me.”

Ryan Lutz, chairman of the Election Supervisory Board and aerospace engineering senior, said the original complainant did not want to pursue his allegations but said the board will investigate the charges anyway.

“Since the complaint has been submitted we have a duty to follow up with it,” Lutz said.

According to Lutz, the board will change the way future complaints are handled to prevent accused candidates from harassing those who report them.

“We’re going to change some of the ways we contact people when a complaint comes in,” Lutz said. “[Candidates] know the name of the person who does the complaint but they’re not going to know any email addresses or phone numbers because we don’t want any harassing or anything going on.”

John Brown, government sophomore and a candidate for University-wide representative, was asked to speak on behalf of the complainant.

Vaughn said the group did not go to the house with the intent of campaigning together and emphasized they had separate platform points and social media pages.

Foster said it would not benefit the group to campaign together.

“We all know we’re running against each other,” Foster said. “It doesn’t add to our benefit to run as a group.”

The board will make its decision within 24 hours.

Sandra Ogenche and Justin Shank will no longer be on the Student Government executive alliance ballot.

Election Supervisory Board vice chairman Ryan Lutz said Ogenche was notified of an eligibility problem with her filing before the candidate seminar Jan. 12, though the board and the dean of students gave an extension to resolve the issue. Lutz said the board decided to remove Ogenche and Shank’s names from the ballot Tuesday after the alliance failed to solve the problem during the extension period.

Ogenche is a government and pre-entry public health junior and Shank is a biology senior.

“There was evidence to suggest that it was an administrative error and that it would be corrected quickly,” Lutz said. “With that knowledge in mind, the ESB and [Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly] gave her almost a day-by-day extension for her to go ahead and straighten out any issues she had.”

Because the alliances file was pending the Dean of Students asked them to stop campaigning Monday night. Lutz said the alliance was aware they were not allowed to campaign until the issue was resolved, though they chose to disregard that request.

“She was not considered a candidate at all during that time. She was in a pending status and therefore was not eligible to campaign,” Lutz said. “Unfortunately she has just run out of time, we have to release the ballot tomorrow and it just came down to not having all the ducks in a row.”

After a closed meeting Tuesday night, the board issued a resolution stating that the alliance had not met the requirements outlined in the Student Government Constitution to participate in the election. The resolution also states the issue involves information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, so the board could not disclose specific details. 

Reagins-Lilly said the decision was finalized Tuesday because election ballot must be available a week before elections, according to the election code. She said it is not possible for the alliance to reenter the ballot because of that time constraint along with the unresolved filing problem. The alliance cannot appeal the decision because they are not current candidates.

“What we didn’t want to do was penalize a student if it was an administrative error and keep them from an incredible leadership opportunity,” Reagins-Lilly said.

Reagins-Lilly said with current information, she does not believe the filing problem to be an administrative error on behalf of the University.

Ogenche and Shank did not return multiple requests for comment.

Published on February 20, 2013 as "Student government candidates removed". 

Sandra+Shank campaign will not be on the Student Government ballot

Sandra Ogenche and Justin Shank will no longer be on the Student Government executive alliance ballot.

Election Supervisory Board vice-chairman Ryan Lutz said Ogenche was notified of an ineligibility problem with her filing before the candidate seminar Jan. 12, though the board and the Dean of Students gave an extension to resolve the issue. Lutz said the board decided to remove their names from the ballot Tuesday, after the alliance failed to solve the problem during the extension period.

Ogenche is a government and pre-entry public health junior and Shank is a biology senior.

“There was evidence to suggest that it was an administrative error and that it would be corrected quickly,” Lutz said. “With that knowledge in mind, the ESB and [Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly] gave her almost a day-by-day extension for her to go ahead and straighten out any issues she had.”

Because the alliance's file was pending they were asked by the Dean of Students to stop campaigning Monday night.

“She was not considered a candidate at all during that time. She was in a pending status and therefore was not eligible to campaign,” Lutz said. “Unfortunately she has just run out of time, we have to release the ballot tomorrow and it just came down to not having all the ducks in a row.”

After a closed meeting Tuesday night, the board issued a resolution stating that the alliance had not met the requirements outlined in the Student Government Constitution to participate in the election. The resolution also states the issue involves information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy, so the board could not disclose specific details.