News, On Campus

As UGBC Voting Starts, Candidates Clash Online

On Monday night, a day before voting got underway for Undergraduate Government of Boston College president and executive vice president, Raymond Mancini and Matt Batsinelas, both CSOM ’19, released a video criticizing another team in the race, Akosua Achampong and Tt King, both MCAS ’18.

Shared in the BC Class of 2019 Facebook group and on their own personal pages, the video spliced together footage of Sunday night’s Elections Committee (EC) debate with criticisms of Achampong and King’s campaign.

“True leaders own up to their mistakes,” the video says against a black screen. “But it is clear that they don’t.”

At the debate on Sunday, Mancini said Achampong and King had endorsed hurtful comments against his campaign and demanded an apology. He was referring to comments posted on a live stream of last week’s diversity and inclusion debate, including one by Edward Byrne, MCAS ’18, who suggested Mancini did not have LGBTQ friends. The EC gave Achampong and King a warning, and the comments were deleted.

Achampong and King’s campaign submitted a formal complaint about the video to the EC, which decided late Wednesday night that it does not qualify as negative campaigning.

“The video does not directly harm or affect the character of Akosua and Tt,” the EC said in a statement. “Although it is very borderline, the EC has decided that it is strictly opinionated and does not defame the candidates.”

One comment on the video said Mancini and Batsinelas should stop complaining about being personally attacked and “[invest] your energy into real issues facing this community.”

The “Ray & Matt for UGBC 2017” Facebook page responded by saying, “Yeah real issues like gender neutral bathrooms right? Cause apparently that’s a real issue.” Both this comment and the initial comment have since been deleted.

The second comment apparently referred to King and Achampong’s campaign platform, which advocates for the University to create gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Mancini and Batsinelas denied posting the comment and said nobody on their campaign team had admitted to posting it. The Heights was able to obtain the original screenshot of the comment.

On Wednesday, Achampong and King posted a statement on their campaign page about the comment made under the “Ray & Matt” campaign page.

“It does not align with our Jesuit values that uphold the dignity and worth of all people, and above all, it does not answer the call to stand on the margins with those who are farthest removed,” they wrote.  

On Tuesday night, Batsinelas posted in the Class of 2019 Facebook group seeking to clear up, he said, some misconceptions about his and Mancini’s campaign and their records. He wrote that he and Mancini had been subject to unfair attacks on their character during the election, largely due to the perception, he said, that Mancini is homophobic because he voted against a Student Assembly resolution this fall calling on the University to establish an LGBTQ resource center. An abridged version was also published as a letter to the editor in today’s Heights issue.

“I am not homophobic, racist, or any of these other words coming from these attackers,” he wrote. “I pride myself in being an ally to these communities and being against discrimination of any kind.”

Mancini and Batsinelas posted a video on Wednesday that criticizes the allocation of UGBC’s budget. They highlighted the fact that 58 percent of the budget goes toward events for the GLBTQ Leadership Council, AHANA Leadership Council, and Diversity and Inclusion Programming. They also commented on UGBC’s spending on sweatshirts provided to its members, which cost a total of $6,287.  

“Other clubs pay for these accessories themselves, so why does UGBC use your money?” they wrote in the video.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

February 16, 2017