On March 3 before the first day of elections for the University of Georgia Student Government Association executive ticket, a complaint on behalf of the Empower campaign was filed against the ACT campaign.
The complaint alleged ACT had violated the SGA Elections Code and SGA Code of Ethics, claiming Tarun Ramesh, Georgia Political Review editor-in-chief and communications director for student-run think tank Roosevelt @ UGA, had “participated in campaign activity” for ACT.
The hearing, held on the same day, did not find ACT in violation of any of the listed election codes. The case was voted on by a 3-2 margin in favor of ACT.
The complaint cited a text conversation between Ramesh and Roosevelt @ UGA Executive Director Jessica Ma. The complaint stated Ramesh and Ma said the following over text:
"Can asim cop a Roosevelt endorsement? (sic)," Ramesh said, regarding Asim Ahmed, presidential candidate for ACT.
"we can’t do that :((," Ma said.
"Can Roosevelt do a similar thing [to sharing an article as Ramesh claims Foundation Fellows/Ramsey did]," Ramesh said.
"sorry I just don’t think it would be in line with our org commitment to nonpartisanship," Ma said.
UGA SGA Elections Committee ruled Ramesh did not act as part of the ACT campaign and his conversation with Ma was not relevant to the allegation.
"As a member of the executive board of [redacted student organization], Ramesh is entitled to his ability to have a personal discussion with a fellow member of that executive board," the statement said.
Additionally, the complaint claimed a statement in the GPR’s debate review was "designed to impugn" Empower. On Feb, 27, Nia Harris and Ramesh co-moderated the SGA debate between Empower and ACT, which was hosted by GPR. The complaint cites Harris and Ramesh’s following statement from their debate review, posted on GPR:
"‘[Empower Presidential Candidate Rachel] Byers expressed that SGA would always act as a conduit for the majority of student voices … This mentality could be potentially dangerous for students of color at the University, who not only make up a minority of students but are also less active in Greek organizations," the debate review said.
"This statement insinuates that Empower’s election would put students of color in harm’s way, which is a false and hurtful assertion aimed only to scare communities of color on campus and to impugn the integrity of the Empower Executive Ticket," the complaint said.
Harris and Ramesh's debate review on GPR was in favor of ACT, writing, "Although both tickets offer bright futures for the University of Georgia, [ACT Treasurer] Tillman put it best when in his closing he voiced that ‘it was time to ACT.’" However, the review concluded with a disclaimer, stating: "The article does not represent GPR's role as the host of the SGA debate. This article should not be construed as an endorsement for either executive ticket."
Olivia Adams contributed to this article.