Editor’s Note: Think Magazine is in a peculiar position for this election cycle. Both candidates for President, Moiz Khan and Mark Maloof, have ties to Think. Moiz was a former executive editor for the publication, while Mark’s campaign manager Katie Watt is our current executive editor, a position with no editorial oversight yet one that is nonetheless troublesome when it comes to our coverage. We will do our best to ensure the information we bring you throughout this process is fair and unbiased, but if you the reader think we overstep in one direction or another, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or add your voice to our comment section below.
The two parties in Stony Brook University’s Undergraduate Student Government elections are complaining about each other’s campaign tactics in what appears to be a close race.
The election pits Student Polity, with presidential candidate Moiz Khan, against the United Students Party and Mark Maloof.
Halfway through a week of campaigning and voting, evidence of a close race can be found on the two parties’ Facebook pages. Though both parties invited thousands of students to vote for them, few have responded. The USP has about 200 (281 vs. 454 as of this post) more members in their group, but they also have many more outstanding invitations to join.
Student Polity has placed more focus on traditional campaigning, having dotted campus billboards with posters that include pictures of Aziz Ansari and Bruno Mars. Until the voting closes this Friday at noon, it will be unclear which strategy is more effective.
But with the closeness of the race has come accusations of unfair practices directed at both sides. Khan believes that the USP has been running too negative of a campaign. Meanwhile, the USP claims that supporters of the other party have vandalized both their posters and Facebook walls.
Maloof disagrees with Khan’s assessment of his campaign. “We’re criticizing the way things are run because we want to improve them,” he said, pointing to specific plans that would increase transparency and student involvement. The USP’s platform includes outdoor Senate meetings and lunches with representatives as ways of getting more students involved.
Yet the campaign has taken a few positions that distinctly criticize Khan. Maloof and Katie Watt, the campaign manager for the USP, both mentioned the closing of SBU-TV as an example of how Khan preferred doing things his way to involving others. “It matters how you do things,” said Watt, “and we don’t feel that the ends always justify the means.”
SBU-TV, Stony Brook’s student-run TV channel, was closed earlier this year. Proponents of the plan say the technology was outdated and that closing it would save money, while its critics say that SBU-TV members should have been consulted rather than pushed out.
As for the USP’s accusations, the disparaging comments on the Vote USP Facebook wall don’t seem to have any direct connection to the opposing campaign. But two of the USP’s most active critics, Alex Dimitriyadi and Tahir Amhad, are graduating seniors who were involved in the USG with Khan this year.
Some of the USP’s harshest criticisms have come from Khan himself. “I don’t understand why so many leftists and progressives have gotten involved with the USP,” Khan said referring to Maloof’s interview with the Press. “That’s third-rate progressivism.”
As the deadline to vote approaches, both parties are turning to personal appeals. Many candidates are spending time in dining halls or crowded lobbies handing out fliers with their name and party on them, and they will likely do so until the polls close on Friday.