Offensive tweets cast shadow over MU student body president election

9 months 1 week 4 days ago Tuesday, March 06 2018 Mar 6, 2018 Tuesday, March 06, 2018 3:50:00 PM CST March 06, 2018 in News
By: Kristen Harris, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - A story that would typically be about a student election has served as an example of an even bigger lesson. Monday night, KCOU's Brett Stover, found offensive old tweets from current Missouri Students Association presidential candidates and slates. This lead one candidate to drop out of the race.

Stover re-posted tweets from Blaine Thomas from the BlaineandChad slate, Claire Jacobs from the JacobsandCarter slate and Caius Gillen from the JuliaandCauis slate that all exhibited offensive language.

On Tuesday night both Thomas, Jacobs and Gillen withdrew their candidacies for MSA President and Vice President.

The tweets used terms like a slur referring to a gay person, the n-word and other offensive terminology.

Former MSA President Sean Earl said, "It is truly disappointing to see potential leaders of our student body have a history of insensitive and racist comments. There has been an immense amount of progress over the last several years to make MU a more diverse and inclusive campus, and this work must not be undone by ignorant tweets made by candidates. I trust students and MSA leadership will hold candidates accountable and continue to push our university forward."

MSA Board of Elections Commissioner Chair Joseph Sell said,  “As of right now the election is continuing as it is.These comments fall out of the statute of limitation, so it’s not really much course of action that can be taken because these were so long before the election started.”

Sell said he temporarily suspended the campaign today so he could " look into the tweets, look at all of the governing documents, the election handbook and university rules and regulations to make sure we took the right course of action regarding the comments made by the candidates.”

The campaign will resume Wednesday.

Amy Simons, associate professor at Missouri School of Journalism and social media expert, said people underestimate the power and life span of a tweet.

“It’s really important to remember that when you’re putting something out on social media, if it’s Twitter if it’s Facebook, you’re publishing it to the internet. You may not necessarily think so, but when you do that you’re creating an online archive that’s going to live forever,” Simons said. “The internet has a very long memory.”

Simons said old tweets have the potential to harm someone's credibility. She referenced Cam Newton and Jourdan Rodrigue as another example of older tweets resurfacing and doing damage. Newton was accused of making a sexist comment to reporter Rodrigue. She had a lot of people on her side supporting her after the incident, but then some of her older racist tweets resurfaced and damaged the momentum she'd built up.

Sell said no punishment will come out of this incident.

Simons advised the students to, “Own it. You did it. You said it. Explain where you were coming from at the time. If you’re looking to represent people or for the support of people for whatever that might be, you need to be authentic,” Simons said.

Earl provided his advice as well.

"I would advise the candidates to apologize to the Mizzou community and make things right. If they feel they can not dutifully represent the vast student population at Mizzou, then it might be best to step aside and let others lead," Earl said.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the most recent information.]

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri sent out an MU Alert just before 6 p.m. Sunday to warn people about... More >>
48 minutes ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:45:00 PM CST December 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- From model trains to decorated window panes, there was fun for all ages at the Boone County History and... More >>
1 hour ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:12:00 PM CST December 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – After a life-threatening accident 17 years ago, a Columbia man is proving you never have to give up... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 12:46:00 PM CST December 16, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA - A University of Missouri assistant football coach was arrested Saturday on a warrant from Miller County after failing... More >>
9 hours ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 10:12:00 AM CST December 16, 2018 in Sports
FULTON - Two people were arrested on various drug charges Sunday morning. According to a release, Police stopped a... More >>
12 hours ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 7:08:00 AM CST December 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Symphony will play holiday music Sunday for the Symphony of Toys concert. Students in the Missouri... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:45:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - People gathered at Hickman High School on Saturday to celebrate holidays from several cultures. KOPN Community Radio... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:10:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia College had a special moment during the graduation ceremony Saturday to honor a student who died in... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:15:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Diocese confirmed Saturday three people were added to its list of clergy accused of... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:31:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police made an arrest in connection to Saturday afternoon's shooting in the 3800 block of Aspen Heights... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 4:40:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Capitol has recently completed an effort to restore and conserve the building's... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 3:26:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Anyone walking around Boonville might be able to play a game of "I spy" now that painted rocks... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 10:50:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- High school football teams from around the state will travel to Memorial Stadium for the next five years to... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:41:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in Sports
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke , who's facing federal investigations into his travel, political... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:53:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
ASHLAND - The Southern Boone Area YMCA will build a new 15,714 square-foot facility in the next two years, if... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:48:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
ALTON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities are looking for a man who is suspected of fleeing to Missouri after officers shot... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:12:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
PERRYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A former county official from southeast Missouri already in prison on a conviction of exploiting the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:09:52 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - The Holts Summit Police Department has offered to include New Bloomfield in its coverage area for the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 14 2018 Dec 14, 2018 Friday, December 14, 2018 9:47:00 PM CST December 14, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 45°
8pm 40°
9pm 38°
10pm 36°
11pm 34°