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Two tickets prepare for student body president election

Spencer Mandzak and Patrick Houlihan (left) face off against Will Brinley and Babs Dwyer (right) in a newly contested student body president election.
Spencer Mandzak and Patrick Houlihan (left) face off against Will Brinley and Babs Dwyer (right) in a newly contested student body president election.

Spencer Mandzak, a junior public administration major, and Patrick Houlihan, a junior political science major, have officially announced their campaign for student body president and vice president following a review by both Associated Student Government’s (ASG) Judicial Council and Elections committee.

The pair will run against Will Brinley, a junior marketing major, and Babs Dwyer, a junior sports communication and media major, in an election on March 18-20. Students will be able to vote through The Hub.

The announcement came after Speaker of the Senate Tia Bakshi said that Mandzak and Houlihan may not be eligible for the ballot because of how they gathered their signatures.

“If both Spencer and Patrick had 150 signatures, the committee would have had to review some other information that we were given regarding a potential violation,” Bakshi said during a Judicial Council meeting.

Houlihan and Mandzak both denied the violations after the Judicial Council meeting. Mandzak said that their signature gathering was not the only one in question.

Houlihan confirmed the violations as level two violations as described in the ASG bylaws. Houlihan said that the violations were “clerical errors” within the signatures.

“We aren't aware of the violation,” Houlihan said.

“Not only that, but there's a couple different allegations against the other ticket’s violations,” Mandzak said after the Judicial Council meeting.

Current Student Body President Nyah Smith said that while she and Vice President Jules Jefferson are not involved with the review of violations in the current election, they have faith in the system put in place to conduct a fair election.

“We trust that [ASG’s Elections Committee] are following the bylaws and doing everything in their power to ensure that this is a fair and equitable process,” Smith wrote in an email statement.

Following the committee’s Feb. 26 meeting, Mandzak and Houlihan were barred from campaigning for 92 hours following violations found in their collected signatures.

The complete findings of the first committee meeting will be revealed on March 5.

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Mandzak and Houlihan

Mandzak and Houlihan announced their campaign for Student Body President and Student Body Vice President respectively through a joint Instagram account on Feb. 26 with their “better together plan.” The post states that they plan to improve student quality of life, foster civic engagement and support the Miami and Oxford community.

In addition to multiple students at Miami, the account has endorsements from Lucas Will, the student body president of the University of Toledo, and Shannon Brown, a student body president candidate at Kent State University.

Mandzak and Houlihan were unable to comment on their campaign due to the 92-hour ban following the Elections Committee’s findings.

Brinley and Dwyer

Brinley and Dwyer were announced as student body president-elect and student body vice president-elect on Feb. 19 before the meeting of ASG’s Judicial Council and Elections Committee ruled that Mandzak and Houlihan’s ticket was valid. Brinley and Dwyer officially announced their campaign on Feb. 20 on their Instagram account.

Their announcement included their four-person campaign team and endorsements from all 25 fraternities on campus and the Interfraternity Council, of which Brinley sits as the vice president of recruitment.

Brinley said that their “connecting our paths” campaign focuses on pulling different communities at Miami into student government to encapsulate the whole student body.

“The reason why we're running is that we feel that we can connect a lot of different students on campus,” Brinley said. “We are both in unique positions where we're involved in a lot of organizations on campus and being able to connect different student organizations is something that can be a very positive thing for us during our campaign and then during our tenure if we were to be elected.”

Although neither Brinley or Dwyer have experience in ASG, the pair are confident in their ability to work with the organization and learn while bringing an outside perspective that past student body presidents and vice presidents have brought.

Dwyer said that bringing student representation to the two positions was a strong suit for the pair and something they’ve shown in their respective student organizations so far at Miami.

“I'd like to just be someone who can be approachable but still be a leader on campus, and I think that we’re two people that have always been like that in most of our organizations,” Dwyer said. “Building between [their paths campaign] and getting everyone on campus involved and realizing that student government basically encompasses everything and everyone is the big thing we’re running on.”