Current University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) At-Large Representative Anthony Mitchell announced Wednesday at the close of the final UPUA meeting of year that he and Zico Khayat are launching a write-in campaign for President and Vice President of UPUA’s 11th assembly.
This announcement comes after leaked GroupMe messages exposing possible misconduct from both the Divy-Fleming and Ford-Jordan campaigns were released.
Mitchell told The Underground in a joint interview with Onward State Tuesday night that he had prior plans to run for the presidency, but decided to “gracefully bow out”, citing personal reasons.
However, with the recent UPUA election controversy, Mitchell felt that he needed to pursue the presidency.
Although Mitchell originally endorsed the Terry-Ford ticket, the leaked messages caused him to rescind the endorsement, and ultimately run a campaign of his own.
“I think that it’s needed. More so because I as well as a lot of students don’t feel comfortable leaving student government in the hands of either Divy or Terry, ” Mitchell said. “The things that surfaced are of concern.”
The leaked GroupMe messages exposed alleged plans that the Divy-Fleming campaign had to distract Mitchell from running becuase they considered him his biggest roadblock.
“It’s interesting because these are folks I’ve worked along side with for a year and a half, two years and these are the folks I consider my colleagues, my peers, and in some cases my friends,” Mitchell told The Underground.
Since the GroupMe messages were leaked, Mitchell claimed that he has not had much interaction with either side.
“That’s why I say that it’s disheartening because to know that people were actively trying to get rid of me, it’s just bad form, it’s very distasteful. There’s a way to go about an election process without losing your sense of character and integrity and being respectful about the transition of power and things like that. You don’t have to lose your sense of morality in an election and I was really disappointed by that.”
What makes the Mitchell-Khayat campaign a bit tougher in this election is that their name won’t actually be on the ballot. Those interested in voting for the pair must write in their names when they vote.
Mitchell believes that since he had prior plans to run for presidency and because of his connections with various organizations such as the Penn State Lion Ambassadors, BLUEprint and New Student orientation, getting votes is possible.
“I know that it will be a bit tougher, but everyone likes a good challenge now and then,” Mitchell said. “I’m excited.”
Regardless of the results of the campaign, many students are pursuing write-ins becuase they want to offer students an alternative to what’s on the current ballot. Along with the Mitchell – Khayat ticket, it was also announced that Patrick Cines and Michael Straw would also run a write-in campaign.
“Win or lose it speaks volumes that students are taking an active stance because this is our student government and we deserve better, we want better and I think that they should have better candidates than the folks that are being represented,” Mitchell said.
UPUA elections begin next Wednesday, March 30. Those interested in voting can do so at vote.psu.edu starting at 6 a.m.
You can check out the Mitchell-Khayat campaign here.
Photo credit: Anthony Mitchell