CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article misrepresented what Jane Tullis said in her statement about a comment on a Instagram post she made in 2015. Tullis emphasized in her statement that her age and hometown were not excuses for the comment she made. The story has been updated with the correct context of the statement. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
Junior Ashton Martin was elected student body president late Tuesday night after a contentious race where one candidate was disqualified and the other two faced accusations of inappropriate behavior.
Martin beat Jane Tullis with 51.8 percent of the vote, after Tarik Woods was removed from the race after earning the fewest first-choice ballots. According to Arunabha Debnath, chairperson for the Board of Elections, 3,516 students voted in the election.
In addition to being in favor of removing symbols of oppression on campus, supporting student activists and supporting underrepresented groups on campus, Martin also campaigned as an advocate of improving mental health.
“We’re looking to strengthen the mental health coalition,” Martin said. “We’re also looking to create student-based support networks because students help students better. We’re doing that by opening up mental health first-aid trainings; we’re also looking to bring on a third-party organization called JED that is proven to reduce suicidal attempts on college campuses.”
Over the course of the election, several offenses against Martin’s opponents were revealed.
On Monday, a day before the election, one of Martin’s opponents, junior Jack Noble, was disqualified after being found guilty of three counts of misrepresentation, one count of falsification and a location violation.
Four separate cases were brought against Noble by three students associated with the Martin campaign: sophomore Brady Creef, junior Nick Sengstaken and junior Carter Vilim.
The remaining candidates, juniors Jane Tullis and Tarik Woods, both faced accusations of inappropriate behavior during the course of the race, according to statements released by both candidates.
On Tuesday, former Speaker of the Undergraduate Senate Katharine Shriver released a statement on her personal Facebook page accusing Woods of misogynistic and demeaning behavior.
“There were several times that he challenged my qualifications, my abilities, my leadership both outwardly and implicitly on the grounds that I was a different gender,” Shriver said in the statement.
In a response posted on his since-deleted campaign Facebook page, Woods said his “aggressive leadership type” may have caused Shriver to feel lesser.
“My goal then, and now is to make Carolina a better University, and when the speaker was not doing her job I was the first to tell her,” Woods said in the statement. “I regret not being aware of how she was affected.”
Tullis released a statement last Friday on her personal Facebook page, saying she commented “Straight Outta Compton or straight out of prison?” under a 2015 Instagram photo of her and a friend wearing what Jane described as cornrows — a hairstyle predominantly worn by African-Americans.
In the statement, Tullis said she is more educated on cultural appropriation now than when she posted the photo, and that, although her actions were seen as acceptable in her hometown in Indiana, it is not an excuse for the comment.
“Seeing this post again was a powerful reminder of the fact that as much as I am proud of the work I’ve done on campus, I was vastly uninformed when I was younger,” Tullis said in a statement.
Responding to critiques circulating on social media about her campaign bringing charges against Noble at the last minute, Martin said she ran a clean campaign.
"We never intended to get anyone disqualified, and I’m incredibly sympathetic to what he feels right now, I couldn’t imagine," Martin said. "But I want to make it clear that we never had malicious intent."
Despite the tumultuous race, Martin said she is looking forward to bringing the campus together in the next year.
“I think we were all hoping that this election cycle wouldn’t be as contentious as it was, but unfortunately it came to that,” Martin said. “I’ve been proud that we’ve run a clean campaign, and I hope that the student body — now that I’ve won — can believe in me as really a viable candidate, as someone who can stand up for their voice.”
Winners of other races
Residence Hall Association President
Carolina Athletic Association President
Rising Senior Class President and Vice-President
Lenore Hango and Kevin Rodriguez, respectively
USG Senate, District 1
Hannah Baird, Jack Cicin, Jeet Galani, Amol Garg, Dede Gbikpi Benissan, Tanner Henson, Briana Marinoni, Caitlyn McKinney, Andrew Reiter, Elena Russert, Ahaj Shroff, Aneesha Sohi, Erin Staley, Wil Wiener
USG Senate, District 2
Hope Cary, Nathaniel Jacobs
USG Senate, District 3
Alfredo Ellzey, George Gildehaus, Joshua Greene, Connor Groce, Reeves Moseley, Braxton Nelson, Alayna Powell, Keshav Javvadi, Stephen Wright
USG Senate, District 4
Will Bower, Andres Forero
USG Senate, District 5
Erik Beene, John Morningstar
USG Senate, District 6
Rachel Augustine, Jack Purdie, Baxter Barrett, Corry Zuriel Dauderman
USG Senate, District 7
Thy Le, Jerrick Li, Holden Rogers
USG Senate, District 8
USG Senate, District 9
A runoff election for District 7's final seat will be held on Feb. 19. Valerie Calvo, Caleb Shuda and Charles Snyder will be on the ballot.
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