Discrepancy between candidates fires week before ballots cast
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In the midst of campaign season for Suffolk University’s Student Government Association (SGA), discrepancy arose between vice presidential candidates Yasir Batalvi and Levi Smith on Monday night.
On whiteboards in the lobby of Suffolk’s Sawyer building, some candidates for the various SGA executive board positions have drawn messages in hopes to yield the votes of students. A notice about Smith’s campaign portrayed a bulleted list of his qualities, accompanied by checked off boxes. On Tuesday, Smith issued a public statement on his Facebook with a corresponding video that showed Batalvi’s personal Snapchat account; Batalvi posted to his story a clip of the whiteboard Monday night with an additional box checked off that read “copies Yasir.”
Batalvi, in an interview with The Suffolk Journal on Tuesday, said that he was not the one who wrote this on the whiteboard. Smith’s Facebook post said that he was disappointed in Batalvi’s actions.
“I am severely disappointed in Yasir, and betrayed as colleague, as I originally thought his character wasn’t capable of a decision like this,” said the statement.
Batalvi said to Journal reporters that his Snapchat account is personal, and added his Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are all being utilized along with his personal website as outlets for his campaign. Batalvi said photos and videos posted to his Snapchat are not an endorsement of what is pictured. He said that he realized this was not something he should have posted, and deleted it.
Batalvi said that this incident was a non-issue.
“It’s Levi making an issue on the election,” said Batalvi. He added “If anyone is making this campaign negative it’s Levi.”
SGA President Sean Walsh currently runs the election process for all executive board positions. While he did not defend or condemn either party in an interview with The Journal on Tuesday night, Walsh clarified the rules and procedures of the SGA elections.
“No one’s broken any rules whatsoever,” said Walsh of the campaign.
Editor’s Note: Due to a reporting error, in a previous version of this article the last name of the VP candidate was spelled “Botalvi.” The correct spelling is “Batalvi” as indicated in this version.