Haden Gomez and Chris Hanner win MSA presidential election
Gomez/Hanner won with 46 percent of the student vote.
Nov. 19, 2015
This story has been updated to include social media responses from the other slates.
Haden Gomez and Christopher Hanner are the new Missouri Students Association president and vice president.
The Board of Elections Commissioners announced the election results at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night at Traditions Plaza.
A total of 5,620 students casted their vote with 2,590 votes for Gomez/Hanner, 1,985 votes for Syed Ejaz/Heather Parrie and 1,045 votes going toward Jordan McFarland/Jonathan Segers.
The election was delayed a week due to the resignation of former UM System President Tim Wolfe and former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Polling began at 5 p.m. Nov. 16 and ended 5 p.m. Nov. 18. MSA Senate then passed an act to postpone the election results 24 hours to give the BEC adequate time to make a ruling on infractions against the Gomez/Hanner slate. The act passed with 26 votes in affirmation, seven in negation and seven in abstention.
Gomez/Hanner were given a major infraction for violating the mass email policy for the use of Pocket Points to advertise their campaign and a minor infraction for text messages sent by campaign manager Natalie Edelstein.
The BEC handbook’s email policy reads “if a mass email is sent on behalf of a slate with a slate’s knowledge, it will be considered a major infraction even if the email did not originate from a University account.”
Normally, a major infraction would suspend campaigning for three days. However, since voting ended at 5 p.m. Nov. 18, BEC chairwoman Emma Henderson allowed the slates to pay $300, the penalty for a third minor infraction, to allow the slates to continue campaigning.
The MSA Student Court announced Nov. 19 that they denied two petitions from the Ejaz/Parrie campaign to reassess the BEC’s decision of the Gomez/Hanner slate for using Pocket Points and Edelstein’s text messages.
“No tangible evidence that the use of the Pocket Points App demonstrated a clear incentive to vote for any one slate in particular,” the writ of the petition said. “Furthermore, there is a lack of proof that Pocket Points determined the outcome or vote-count of the election. The petition only speculates to that end, and the Court must rely on hard, tangible evidence/facts and not mere speculation.”
The Student Court also denied a petition from junior Nick Benham, an Ejaz/Parrie campaign supporter, for Edelstein’s text messages to friends encouraging them to vote for the Gomez/Hanner slate.
Gomez and Hanner were charged with a minor infraction for the text messages. The Ejaz/Parrie slate petitioned the BEC to reassess their decision and charge a major infraction.
The petition said that under Chapter V. I. 2 of the MSA Senate bylaws, the term slate refers to “both members of a slate.” The court ruled that “both” means two, referring to the presidential and vice presidential candidate. Since Edelstein is not a member of the slate and there was “insufficient evidence to show either Gomez or Hanner had actual knowledge of the texts,” the writ was denied.
If a slate receives two major infractions, they would have been eliminated from the race.
Gomez and Hanner said that they were eager to start working.
“I’m just so excited to see what we can do in the next year,” Hanner said. “My fear was not losing, my fear was losing everything on our platform and what we can do for students.”
Gomez and Hanner both have substantial MSA experience. They were both in the Senate Budget Committee as freshman, and Hanner eventually became chairman of that committee. Gomez was the deputy chief of staff and director of student communications on the Schara/Haberberger executive cabinet. Hanner was secretary of auxiliaries on the Head/Smith-Lezama executive cabinet.
They said their first steps going forward would be to have meetings with the people they would be working with in the next year.
“We are proud to have run in this election, and I am happy with the outcome,” Gomez said. “We played it as clean as we could on our side. That is all we asked for, and that’s what we did ourselves.”
Ejaz congratulated Gomez and Hanner on their victory in an interview after the announcement.
“All I have to say is congrats to Haden and Chris,” Ejaz said. “Well played.”
McFarland and Segers declined to comment to The Maneater after the announcement but were the first to speak out against the winning slate at 10:16 p.m. Nov. 19 via Facebook.
“Sadly, today Mizzou lost,” McFarland said in the post. “The marginalized were forgotten. Those with ‘broken minds’ were attacked and those who actually know what the Title IX office is for were shut out. I speak now, not as a candidate, but as a concerned student. Our president elect cheated to win, exploited minorities to win and acted in vigorous vengeance to win. You may cheat us of our vote, but you shall never cheat of us of our voice. Mr. Gomez, know this, on behalf of all those you basically told to f-off this election, we will not rest.”
The other candidates were quick to follow McFarland’s post.
“I think Jordan's Facebook post last night echoed the sentiments of many people (if you haven't seen it, check it out)," Ejaz said in a Nov. 20 Facebook post. “As the final presidential candidate to comment, all I have to say is that I fully recognize that I'm now the Al Gore of Mizzou.”
Parrie was next to comment and took the opportunity to explain why she ran for MSA vice president.
“I ran for the student that calls the Counseling Center for help and has to wait 30 days to be seen,” Parrie said in the post. “I ran for the wheelchair-bound student who hears about the Memorial archway on tour but cannot access it and be a part of the tradition every other student can. I ran for the 25% of Mizzou women who will be sexually assaulted, and for the 90% that go unreported because they're scared of the system. I ran for the students who don't understand MSA or what it can do for them. I ran because I believed so fiercely that Mizzou could be better than society, if they had people who were leading fairly, passionately, and for all the right reasons.”
Parrie continued the post, saying McFarland said most of what she’d wanted to.
“I'll only add this: when I have a sexual assault survivor sobbing in the student center because she's an executive in an MSA auxiliary who has to work closely with a new administration that is so triggering for her that she doesn't know if she can do it, we know what kind of leadership we'll have for the next year,” Parrie said in the post. “But know this: you haven't seen the last of Syed and me. We will not stop fighting for the students that have no voice. We will not stop fighting for Mizzou. All eyes are on Mizzou right now. I wonder what they'll see.”
Segers was the last among the candidates to comment. He started his post by quoting President Barack Obama.
“To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you,” Segers quoted Obama after the GOP won control of Senate in 2014. “To…the voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you too.”
Segers’ post then details a list of issues he has with Hanner and Gomez:
“Mizzou, Your voice is worth more than: 1) Selling your vote for Pocket Points. 2) Playing dirty just to win. 3) Voting for someone that thinks VICTIM BLAMING is the answer to being accused of SEXUAL ASSAULT. 4) Voting for people that critique social justice movements, rather than picking up a sign and joining peers in the fight. 5) Allowing people accused of sexual assault to share the same sanctuary as survivors. 6) Someone that refers to people with mental illnesses as ‘BROKEN.’ 7) Someone that does not have a plan to keep a balanced MSA Budget if there is a recession in funding. 8) Viewing name dropping as experience. 9) Leadership that says ‘Black Lives Matter,’ but behind closed doors believes ‘All Lives Matter.’ 10) #MoveMizzouBackwards”
“ ... Whether you supported ‘Back to Basics’ with Jordan McFarland and myself or ‘Mizzou Together’ with Syed Ejaz and Heather Parrie, the fight WILL NOT end here. We must ACTIVATE to ELEVATE!”
MSA Senator Timothy Davis created a petition to nullify the 2016 MSA presidential election on Nov. 20. As of 4 p.m., it has 30 signatures of its goal of 3,000, which include MSA senators Jeremy Wiggins, Kimberly Taylor and Saad Malik.
Follow The Maneater for updates on this story. Hailey Stolze contributed to this report.