SGA race causes tension among candidates

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A series of accusations and violations have been alleged against both parties currently running for SGA president and vice president.

Eric Taylor, presidential candidate and current chief financial officer, said he and his campaign team will be working to resolve a violation of campaign guidelines after a report was filed by Riley Owens, presidential candidate and current chief of staff, and Dustin Thibideau, vice presidential candidate and current CHESS senator for Hammond.

“My campaign has been very enthusiastic with getting the word out. Unfortunately, they got carried away. I have been in contact with the elections committee regarding this violation and we are working together to resolve the issue,” Taylor said.

Owens said Taylor and Victoria Von Uhl, vice presidential candidate and current Honors College senator for Hammond, intentionally posted flyers in excess.

The report included evidence of entire posting areas being covering in Taylor and Von Uhl’s campaign flyers, flyers posted in unapproved university posting areas and some covering the Owens and Thibideau campaign flyers.

Owens also said that Taylor accused him of adding a person in Taylor’s GroupMe, a group texting app, for his campaign. Owens claims Taylor told him that the person was impersonating Taylor. Owens said he did not have anyone impersonate Taylor. Taylor said there was an incident that occurred in which his campaign has reason to believe it was orchestrated by his opponents.

“My team and I have been inclined to be less trustful of Riley’s campaign given the conflict of interest which arose when he was serving as the chair of the elections committee, received all of my election paperwork and flyers and then decided to step down in order to run against me,” Taylor said.

Owens said he only decided to run after he found out in mid-February that Daquan Williams, current SGA president, would not be running. That was when he chose to step down as elections committee chair.

“I think Daquan has done an outstanding job as our first fully-unified president, and I would not want to run against him after he demonstrated that he is a more than capable leader. Once I got the official word from Daquan himself is when I became fully committed to run for president of the student body,” Owens said.

Owens said that his role as elections chair only involved updating the elections rules and combining them into a packet for students to see for transparency purposes. This process was overseen by Anna Duley, current SGA vice president.

Duley declined to comment.

“As for Eric’s blasphemous comments that I somehow rigged the elections campaign rules in my favor, I would like to say that most of the rules were written well before I became a member of the Student Government Association. They actually come from 2010-11,” Owens said.