In the final hours of runoff voting, the Election Supervisory Board dismissed allegations that Executive Alliance candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi failed to identify a student as a worker in their campaign.
Defeated presidential candidate David Maly sent a complaint to the board late Wednesday evening, claiming that an email from re-elected Liberal Arts Representative Tanner Long, urging newly elected representatives to vote for Jones and Dargahi in the executive alliance runoff election, was a “clear collaboration between Long and the Jones-Dargahi alliance.”
“The complainant could not prove that coordination between the Executive Alliance and Tanner Long existed prior to Tanner Long’s email being sent to new ‘Officers Elect,’” the resolution read.
In Long’s email to the representatives, he encouraged the newly elected representatives to vote for Jones-Dargahi.
“These positions require the political savvy that Braydon and Kimia have already demonstrated during their past SG positions,” Long wrote. “I’m not sure I can say the same for their opponents.”
Long said he hoped the representatives would vote for, and advocate for, Jones’ campaign.
“This runoff election is more important than ever because Student Government needs legitimacy to function properly,” Long wrote. “I ask that you support Braydon and Kimia in the runoff election …I also ask you for your direct support in their effort. As representatives, we can have a lot of credibility with our constituents. And with that comes the responsibility to ensure that Student Government is as legitimate as it can be.”
Long concluded the email by saying said it was “his understanding” that Jones would be contacting them later that day to invite them to a special campaign event. Although Long and Jones said they did not discuss the event together, Maly said he believes otherwise.
“I think it’s ridiculous to say that Tanner just assumed that Braydon would be inviting these people,” Maly said. “I don’t think he would send an email to all these people, saying that Braydon was going to be contacting you to invite you to this event, unless he knew that was going to happen. I think it’s clear that collaboration took place, which would make Mr. Long a worker.”
Long sent an affidavit to the board, stating he acted on behalf of no one but himself.
“I acted on my own accord,” Long said. “Others cannot know my own private actions unless I reveal them. I would also like to say I am flattered by Mr. Maly, who seems to believe a voice of support from me just would help to further a candidate.”
Jones said again he was not aware Long was planning to send an email advocating for his campaign.
“I have not once been in contact with Mr. Long regarding that night’s event, or I did not at any point encourage him to reach out to the reps and send an email,” Jones said. “That was all on his own will.”
Maly also said Long acted in association with Student Government, which is illegal by the Election Code. Long’s email signature read “Liberal arts representative.”
“A title does not mean I am speaking on behalf of that position,” Long said. “If that were the case, having the University of Texas on my signature line would imply I’m speaking on behalf of the University to support the candidates.”
The board ultimately ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove a connection between Long and Jones-Dargahi.
“Therefore, let it be resolved: That after holding a hearing on the morning of Thursday, March 12, 2015, the Election Supervisory Board has determined that the burden of proof has not been met, and the complaint is being dismissed,” the resolution read.
Voting continues until 5 p.m., and results for the Executive Alliance runoff will be announced on the Main Mall at 6 p.m.
Looking back on our earlier assessment, we realize it might have been premature to call this election season unusually quiet. We should have known that it would go out not with a whimper, but with a bang.
With the runoff for Student Government president and vice president wrapping up Thursday, an Election Supervisory Board hearing was held to consider a complaint by defeated candidate David Maly about a supposed breach of the election code.
At issue, Maly contended, was whether recently re-elected Liberal Arts Representative Tanner Long’s sending an email endorsing candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi should have required them to list him as a campaign worker.
Long was never registered as such.
And why should he have been?
Maly correctly cited the Student Government Election Code’s definition of a campaign worker in his complaint: “any person that contributes time, effort, or service for the purposes of supporting or furthering a candidacy in which they coordinate with a candidate or member of a candidate’s campaign staff.”
But there are two serious problems with his argument that Jones and Dargahi were skirting the rules.
First and foremost, he presented no evidence at Thursday’s hearing that Long coordinated with anyone on Jones and Dargahi’s staff to create the email. He instead repeatedly asserted that any such display of support must require collaboration.
That leads us to our second point: To arrive at such a sweeping conclusion requires a perversion of the normal meaning of “coordinate,” a perversion that could start future election seasons down a slippery slope. If every expression of support for a candidate triggered registration with the ESB, that could theoretically mean requiring campaigns to list thousands of campaign workers, an impossible task.
Separately, in his complaint, Maly alleged that Long abused his power as an SG representative by sending out an endorsement email with his SG signature. Maly explained that he saw this flourish as tantamount to an endorsement in Long's official capacity as an SG representative.
That argument is absurd on its face. Long used his normal email signature to identify himself, and it takes a quantum leap of logic to proceed from there to Maly’s interpretation.
Given that there are no grounds for his complaint, we urge the ESB to dismiss all charges.
With less than a day left in the Student Government runoff election, defeated presidential candidate David Maly filed a complaint against Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi, alleging they failed to declare one of their campaign workers to the Election Supervisory Board.
Tanner Long, who was re-elected as Liberal Arts Representative last week, sent an email to newly elected Assembly members Saturday and urged them to vote for Jones and Dargahi in the Executive Alliance runoff election. Maly said he believes Long’s action is tantamount to acting as an official campaign worker, although Long was never registered as such.
In the complaint, Maly said failing to list Long as a worker was a clear violation of the Election Code.
“The email indicates a clear and obvious coordinated connection between Long and the Jones campaign, as Long issued a formal invitation to a campaign-specific function on behalf of the candidates,” Maly said.
Long, a government senior, told The Daily Texan that he asked the SG Judicial Court whether newly elected representatives could endorse Executive Alliance candidates before he sent the email. The court told him endorsements were allowed, as long as he made it clear he did not speak on behalf of SG.
Long said he sent the email on his own accord and said he is not a campaign worker for Jones-Dargahi.
“I wasn’t endorsing them on behalf of Student Government,” Long said. “I think that might have been misunderstood. It was an individual endorsement, [but] it was an unintentional consequence of it.”
The board will conduct a hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday to resolve the complaint. Voting for Executive Alliance runoffs continues Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Results will be announced at approximately 6 p.m. on the Main Mall.
While most students want to work less on Fridays, three Student Government members are pushing to work more.
SG representatives Cameron Crane, Adam Sacks and Tanner Long have composed an SG resolution asking the University to create more upper division Monday-Wednesday courses. Crane said this would give students Fridays off to work, intern or apply to graduate and professional schools.
“This isn’t [necessarily] adding more classes, because that creates an added cost,” Crane said. “This is just restructuring and shifting courses so that more Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes are offered on a Monday-Wednesday sequence.”
According to Crane, the resolution is being presented for academic purposes, not just as a way for students to have a free Friday. He said the free day would, ideally, increase graduation rates.
“[Students] can pick and choose, so they can still work and still maintain full-time status,” Crane said. “Versus if they had to cram all of their classes on to Tuesday and Thursday, and not all of their classes for their major are offered that day, well then they might have to stay here an extra semester.”
Monday-Wednesday courses are currently offered in departments across campus, but, according to Crane, they are especially present in the McCombs School
Leah Miller, director of academic services for McCombs, said that Monday-Wednesday courses are popular with students and faculty, but they limit the availability of a class and reduce the number of classes that can be scheduled on those days. She said they also create conflicts with Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes.
Marketing lecturer Bill Peterson has been teaching Monday-Wednesday classes for about seven years and said he prefers to do so because they allow the class to be more in-depth.
“I find that in Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes, typically they would be for 50 minutes each of those three days,” Peterson said. “It really isn’t enough time to get into any meaty discussions or exercises or even into a rhythm, in my experience.”
Currently, most Monday-Wednesday and Tuesday-Thursday classes meet for 75 minutes.
After meeting with an official from the Office of the Registrar, Sacks said, for the sequence change to be made, the students would need to talk with faculty members, do extensive research and come up with a detailed plan of action.
“My current curiosity with this issue is how it would affect very specific programs, like upper-division engineering classes, Plan II and [Business Honors Program],” Sacks said. “Programs of this type are very specific in how they like to structure their classes.”
The proposition will be presented at an SG meeting Monday, according to Crane. If the proposal is approved by the SG assembly, Crane said the next step in implementing it would be to continue research and present the idea to Faculty Council.
“If this passes, then we now know this is the official voice of students and this is what students want,” Crane said. “Now we’ll take it to the next phase of having discussion with faculty and seeing what their input is.”