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Saturday, December 7, 2019

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Diaz drops from SGA election, Smith becomes president-elect


WEB-Justin-Tijerina-IMG_9060

Former “The We Party II” candidate Elisha Diaz, center, waits for the results of the SGA election along with president-elect and REDvolution member Shaun Smith, left, and former independent candidate Sam Perez. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The Student Government Association runoff election, originally scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday, has been cancelled. Elisha Diaz, “The We Party II” presidential candidate, announced on Facebook today that he and his running mate are dropping out of the race.

REDvolution member Shaun Smith has been elected president of the Student Government Association’s 52nd administration, with his running mate, Chowdhury, as vice president.

“We’re both distinctly excited about serving the students in this next administration, I think that SGA had had a lot of ups and downs in the last year or so and we’re looking to bring a fresh perspective and a fresh approach to how student advocacy is done on campus.” Smith said.

“Hopefully this means people understand that all I ever wanted to do was be myself and be the most genuine person I can be, nothing more,” Diaz said in an Facebook post. “There will be people that will use this as an excuse to say that what I did was wrong, and that’s okay, they can say what they want.”

His decision was made after a private conversation between himself Chowdhury in Cougar Village II was published on YouTube early Sunday morning and circulated on social media throughout the day.

After the recording was published, some accused Chowdhury of coercing Diaz to drop out of the runoff race in exchange for an SGA senatorial position. Diaz admitted to recording Chowdhury without his knowledge “to protect himself.”

But both candidates have been blasted with criticism — Chowdhury for coercion and Diaz for violating the Student Code of Conduct Section 3.21, which prohibits “photographing, videotaping, filming, digitally recording… another person without that person’s consent in any location where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, or in a manner that violates a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

“I want to make it clear that I will not be accepting the offer made to me by Tanzeem, and will instead work to make the differences needed on this campus without any leadership titles, even if it means changing the lives of the students, one person at a time,” Diaz said in the post.

Smith and Chowdhury will be sworn in at the SGA banquet on March 31.

-Additional reporting by Cara Smith

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