Muhammad Kara, Dominique Thomas win SGA presidential, vice presidential elections

Muhammad Kara, Dominique Thomas win SGA presidential, vice presidential elections

Muhammad Kara, Dominique Thomas win SGA presidential, vice presidential elections
April 16
20:36 2018

Infographic by Zaira Perez

Muhammad Kara and Dominique Thomas won the Student Government Association spring 2018 election for president and vice president with 53 percent of the vote, according to the SGA Election Certification Addendum. 

Students cast 1,897 votes during these elections compared to 2,809 votes cast in 2017.

Kara and Thomas are currently the SGA chief of staff and president of the Black Student Union respectively. Results were intended to be published Friday but were withheld pending a Supreme Court case appeal.

“We started this journey with the hopes of uniting students of every religion, color and creed to radically change our campus community,” Kara said. “Because of [students] casting [their] vote, our students are mobilized to create a more inclusive, equitable and engaged campus community.”

Kara and Thomas ran against SGA Senator Misaki Collins and Ipinowula “Ipi” Adedokun, the head manager for UNT’s Women’s Basketball team.

“I want to thank everyone for the chance to run to be their SGA president,” Collins said in a statement to the North Texas Daily. “Although the election didn’t go in our favor, we are so happy that students had their voice heard in this election. My work isn’t over and I’m excited to continue with my third year of serving students without an executive title.”

Supreme Court Appeal

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Kara and Thomas violated the Election Code by publicizing their campaign before the date approved by the Election Board. Collins filed the Supreme Court case on April 12.

The court ruled 5-1 that one vote would be removed from the Kara and Thomas ticket.

Giving Gatorade

Delaney Sell, an individual who tabled for Collins and Adedokun, filed a complaint against freshman Victoria Edwards for selling Gatorade at a tabling event for Kara and Thomas.

The Election Board unanimously decided no bylaws were violated because Kara and Thomas were approved by the appropriate university departments to give out Gatorade at their tabling. They said those departments “failed to realize that Gatorade is a Pepsi product,” as UNT is a Coca-Cola product school.

Campaigning began on April 3. Candidates campaigned using tabling, social media and other platforms.

Kara and Thomas’ platform focused on transparency, outreach and projects. They were supported by UNT’s chapter of the NAACP, UNT’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Black Out Alliance.

“This could not have happened without [UNT students], without a new spirit of inclusivity, a new spirit of unity,” Kara said.

Students voted yes by 88 percent to authorize SGA to update its constitution to include more gender inclusive language. Any changes to the SGA Constitution must be approved by students through a referendum.

The resolution was submitted to the SGA Senate by Collins and two SGA interns, Hanlyn Tyler and Taylor Diaz.

Voter participation in 2018 decreased from 2017. About 5 percent of the student population voted during 2018 elections compared to 8 percent in 2017. The 1,897 votes represent 6.6 percent of the undergraduate population.

“Together we can move our campus forward,” Kara said. “There will be setbacks, but [Thomas and I] promise to listen to you and always to be honest about the challenges we face. But most importantly, we ask that you join us in remaking our student government, re-engaging our fellow students and uniting under the promise, ‘Down the corridors of years, we’ll forget the joys and tears but North Texas, we love.’”

New senators will be sworn in April 18. Kara and Thomas’ term begins June 1.

Julian Esparza contributed to this report.

Featured Image: Graphic by Jake King. Photos by Sara Carpenter

About Author

Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

Senior News Writer

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