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Sunday, September 19, 2021

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As SGA election heats up, candidates’ pasts take center stage


As the Student Government Association election season heats up, complaints from opposing parties resurface past tweets of candidates running in 2021.

The two parties, Student Action and #RiseUp both have their fair share of complaints go through the election commission, some of these complaints noting violation of election codes and having merit.

The Student Action party candidate Yazen Hamoudah was held by a complaint violating the SGA election code with recent tweets expressing insensitive things, according to the statement.

“I never meant to offend anyone, but that is not an excuse for my tweets. There is no excuse for the use of the N-word in any context, and I believe it to be a racial slur that is unacceptable in today’s society,” Hamoudah said in an apology. “These tweets do not reflect who I am as a person.”

Other tweets from Hamoudah mention offense in regards to sexual assault and the LGBTQ community, all written before he was a student at UH, he said.

The complaint had merit and the sanction was a 48-hour ban on campaigning originally, but Student Action decided to drop Hamoudah from the party.

“The Student Action party categorically denounces racism, homophobia and any and all forms of hate speech,” according to the statement released on the party’s Instagram. “We have decided to part ways with Yazen Hamoudah. What was revealed was shocking and disappointing to all of us and does not in any way represent our values.”

Elliot Carter, a candidate for #RiseUp, filed the complaint against Hamoudah and has a complaint against himself for similar violations.

The complaint against Carter said he retweeted hateful speech that satisfies instances of discrimination, but #RiseUp did not drop him as a candidate.

“Those dearest to me, as well as members of my party, know that I would never seek to
berate or belittle individuals that are members of the LGBTQ+ community in any way,” Carter said in his statement. “Even if I disagree with certain cultural events due to the guidelines established by my religion, that does not in a million years mean that I view LGBTQ+ individuals as lesser than myself.”

In the statement, Carter said he would be proud to represent the LGBTQ community at UH regardless of what is deduced from the screenshots presented in the complaint.

He will continue running with #RiseUp with the sanction of a 48-hour campaigning ban
on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“If you cannot vote for me, I understand, but that should not take your vote from #RiseUp itself, as once again, my thoughts are completely my own,” Carter said.

#RiseUp’s presidential candidate Quentin Edmiston released a statement and apology in regards to tweets he wrote in 2013 using a racial slur and prejudice against the LGBTQ community. The party as a whole also released a statement to their Instagram page.

In the defense against the complaint filed against him, Edmiston used Chief Election Commissioner Chiamaka Chukwu’s case from a past election to compare similarities. This piece of evidence was dismissed in the complaint.

The complaint against Edmiston did not end up having merit due to his age when the tweets were published.

“We did not judge Quentin for who he used to be, but rather for the person he rose up to be,” said a statement on the #RiseUp party’s Instagram.

Including a party statement, Edmiston releases an apology video from #RiseUp’s Instagram page addressing the 2013 tweets.

“As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I’ve learned a lot about the difficulties and obstacles marginalized people have dealt with for generations and continue to face to this day, including hateful speech and microaggressions amongst other heinous treatment,” Edmiston said in his apology.

“I am running for the honor of representing individuals of all creeds, backgrounds and sexual orientations, and this is an opportunity I hold dear to my heart,” he added.

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