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Friday, September 18, 2020

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SGA VP candidate dropped from Students Unite ticket after saying he wants to ‘quash’ Greek life


 

Matthew Lair and Jasmine Khademakbari prior to parting ways in the upcoming SGA election. | Photo courtsey of Matthew Lair

Matthew Lair and Jasmine Khademakbari prior to parting ways in the upcoming SGA election. | Photo courtsey of Matthew Lair

A former Student Government Association vice presidential candidate separated from the Students Unite party on Monday after saying he hoped to eliminate Greek life if he and his former party were to win the upcoming election.

Matthew Lair, who ran with presidential candidate Jasmine Khademakbari, said he planned to wipe out all fraternities and sororities on campus, in an effort to reduce sexual assault and other incidents he believes shines a bad light on the University.

“When I say kicked off campus, I don’t mean we kick them out of their housing,” Lair said. “I mean we quash the institution.”

Khademakbari was not aware of her former vice president’s stance and clarified that his views are not a reflection of the Students Unite platform.

“I had no idea that these were his views on Greek life whatsoever,” Khademakbari said. “That’s something that I just didn’t agree with. I didn’t believe our party agreed with this statement. We made a mutual decision that I would find a new vice-presidential candidate.”

While Lair no longer has any ties to the Students Unite party, he still plans on participating in the vice presidential debate as an independent candidate. 

“I was kicked off the ballot and replaced,” Lair said. “However, I will be in the debate tomorrow … I’ll be running as an independent.”

When asked if Lair’s election status updates have been made official, he responded saying that he is currently in the process of updating his status.

“I’m telling you I’m running, as a matter of fact, while we’re speaking I’m sending an email changing my status,” Lair said. “I’m on the ballot right now, everything is the same right now, but I do need to clear things up with what’s going on.” 

Lair says that the reason for cutting ties with Students Unite is the disagreement on Greek life funding and policy.

“The president and I have fundamental differences based on Greek life and the issue of sexual assault altogether,” Lair. “I clearly should not have vocalized (differences of opinion) without consulting her or anyone.”

The first-year political science major justified his beliefs by citing Ohio University’s crackdown on Greek organizations after an 18-year-old freshman was killed in an alleged hazing incident.

“They got rid of all Greek life, but that’s because of deaths,” Lair said. “So, are we waiting for some deaths to happen?”

In regards to threats of sexual assault and hazing, Khademakbari believes that all of Greek life should not be associated with isolated incidents Lair may be referring to. 

“In my opinion, he generalized an entire group of students on campus, and I didn’t agree with that blanket generalization that he used,” Khademakbari said. “I had to part ways.”

The former candidate, who, if elected, would’ve advised the president on SGA representative nominations to the Student Fees Advisory Committee, said student-fee funding should be cut from Greek life organizations.

“Our student fees should not be funding support staff for institutions perpetuating, supporting, fostering sexual assault,” Lair said. “The cons far outweigh the pros.”

Khademakbari disagrees with his stance on eliminating Greek life and her organization directly.

“I’m in Chi Omega and was (involved with Panhellenic Council) last year,” Khademakbari said in a text. “We do not want to eliminate Greek life, and that is not on our platform.”

The College of Natural Science and Mathematics senator clarified the Students Unite platform includes affordable housing, inclusive student support, green campus initiatives, academic support and campus safety. 

Lair believes all positive initiatives taken by Greek life can be completed by other organizations.

“There’s not one good thing a fraternity or sorority does,” Lair said, “that can’t be done at some other organization or association.” 

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