UPDATE: The BEC announced in a press release that suspension on campaigning has been lifted. The statement from BEC chair Joseph Sell clarified that there were no enforceable infractions.
Following the incident last night that released tweets from candidates within each of the slates, the BEC made the decision to suspend all campaigning for Tuesday, March 6th. This suspension was to ensure that due diligence was given in investigating a course of action moving forward regarding the remarks that were shared. That suspension is now lifted, and campaigning is open. Due to concerns with the suspension of campaigning being unnecessary, there will be no infractions due to campaigning during this suspension.”
“There are no infractions enforceable by the BEC due to the statute of limitations for the BEC being limited to remarks made during the election process.”
All campaigning was suspended in this year’s Missouri Students Association presidential election, the MSA Board of Elections announced early Tuesday morning. This one-day hold was attributed to concern over remarks candidates made on social media. Screenshots of many of these tweets are included in this article.
In a statement on Twitter, the BEC wrote: “All campaigning Tuesday, March 6th will be suspended. This is due to concerns with remarks from candidates within each of the slates. The BEC will be available from 1:50pm – 5pm or by appointment via email at BEC@missouri.edu.”
Several tweets from presidential candidate Blaine Thomas, who is running alongside Chad Johnson, contained various homophobic slurs, an ableist comment and racially insensitive statements. The tweets were made from 2012-2014. Thomas made his account private on Monday evening. His campaign has not yet issued a statement.
Claire Jacobs, a presidential candidate running with Thomas Cater, tweeted iterations of the n-word in 2013. Jacobs made her account private on Monday evening and now appears to have deleted it. Jacobs’ campaign tweeted a statement which was then deleted soon after.
The deleted tweet read, “It has come to my attention that some of my old tweets have become a topic of discussion. The views expressed do not reflect my views or those of the Jacobs/Cater campaign. I sincerely apologize to all those affected by my offensive comments.”
Vice presidential candidate Caius Gillen, on the ticket with Julia Wopata, made a tweet that included a racist stereotype of black people. On Jan. 1, 2016, he tweeted, “About to watch a black man swim for the first time. College truly is the best place for new experiences.” He also had tweets containing language some would find offensive to women.
Gillen tweeted a statement on Monday evening apologizing for his insensitive comments.
“It’s come to my attention that some of my old tweets have resurfaced,” Gillen tweeted. “I deeply apologize for my offensive comments. These do not reflect my views or the views of More to Roar. I hope to re-gain your trust and prove I’m committed to creating an inclusive environment on campus.”
Gillen released another statement later, which is included below. The Maneater rescheduled the election’s first debate from this Wednesday to this Thursday, March 8. The debate will be held from 6-9 p.m. in The Shack, inside Mizzou’s Student Center.
KCOU will broadcast the debate live, with coverage starting at 5 p.m. on 88.1 FM. For listeners outside the Columbia area, a stream of the coverage can be found online.
Additional reporting by Cassie Florido, Josh Neighbors and Annie Marion.