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Accusations of injustice shroud SA election

Treasurer Neuwirt: President Nemmer unethically swaying voters

Editor in Chief

Published: Sunday, March 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2013 23:03


Alexa Strudler /// The Spectrum

Student Association Treasurer Justin Neuwirt (left) and President Travis Nemmer campaign during the 2012 SA elections. Though they ran in different parties, Neuwirt and Nemmer were both elected. Their relationship has gone downhill at the end of this school year.

Student Association Treasurer Justin Neuwirt almost sees this year’s election process as a bigger disgrace than last year’s $300,000 scandal. The source of the corruption, according to Neuwirt, is President Travis Nemmer.

“If someone gets elected because of [this year’s election procedure], it’s not $300,000; it’s now $3.8 million [the SA budget],” Neuwirt said.

Neuwirt’s reasons for frustration are many, and he said Nemmer has facilitated every sketchy modus operandi.

First, Elections and Credentials (E&C) Chair Raphew FahmNemmer’s friend and former assistant – originally appointed Meghan McMonagle, the 2011-12 SA vice president and one of the two chief components of last year’s fraudulent application scandal (the other being former Treasurer Sikander Khan, who resigned), to this year’s E&C committee. Nemmer said she has since stepped down.

When Neuwirt discovered McMonagle was on the committee, he was furious. Neuwirt sent an email on the topic to Fahm. Nemmer confirmed that a confrontation ensued between Fahm and Neuwirt in Neuwirt’s office.

“It’s election season,” Nemmer said. “Tempers run high.”

But Neuwirt’s complaints expand beyond McMonagle, including: debate questions being leaked by Nemmer to candidates, conflicts of interest Nemmer has established with his role in proxied meetings and someone secretly recording finance meetings and giving the files to clubs to sway their votes.

“I’m not about to sit back and let this happen,” said Neuwirt, who said every member of the E&C committee has ties to Nick Johns, the Spirit presidential candidate. “I haven’t slept in four days as I’m dreaming of pictures of Travis and all this s**t waking me up every five minutes. This is not for myself. This is for the students.”

After Nemmer and two other moderators came up with questions for Friday’s presidential debate, Nemmer called the Forward Party’s hotline and asked two of the questions.

“It was a lack of judgment on my part,” said Nemmer, who reached vice presidential candidate Christian Andzel on the hotline. “I asked to get a sense of whether to ask specific or general questions. I removed the offending questions, and I apologize for my error.”

Nemmer said the moderators’ debate questions were also stolen off his desk. He then sent an email to the candidates with a list of general topics but no specific questions.

Neuwirt also said Nemmer is facilitating severe conflicts of interest. Nemmer acted as a proxy on two separate occasions – People of Color (POC) and SA Assembly – last week, and he broke the tie for POC’s ticket endorsement by choosing candidates. He chose Johns (Spirit), treasurer candidate Josh Fromm (Forward) and a Forward delegate, whose specific identity was not disclosed.

“[It is] neither illegal nor unprecedented nor, in the scope of SA history, uncommon,” Nemmer said. “When I was asked to proxy and we did come up with the ties, I went out in the hall ... and called [POC Coordinator Anna Sheng, for whom he proxied] and asked who she would pick, and I respected that decision.”

Neuwirt said Nemmer routinely proxies for the SA Senate, too. Neuwirt believes a non-voting member of the Senate should not be proxying for a voting member, as the Senate makes decisions that affect the SA executive board.

“Everything I’ve done is within the scope of the rules,” Nemmer said.

Neuwirt said he knows Nemmer’s actions may not have been illegal, but he thinks they have been unethical.

The problems persist. Neuwirt, the chair of SA’s finance committee, decides who is allowed to enter the finance meetings, but they are not publicly accessible. He discovered last week that one of the attendees had been recording audio of the meetings and had taken the recordings to clubs, affecting whom they would support in the election.

For example, when Black Student Union (BSU) listened to the finance committee’s meeting regarding next year’s budget, BSU member and former Forward delegate candidate Robin Murray left his ticket and BSU withdrew its support from Forward.

Neuwirt was not willing to release the name of the person who secretly recorded the meeting, but during SA endorsements in The Spectrum’s office, Forward Party presidential candidate Carson Ciggia disclosed that he believes Alana Barricks – who was proxying for Johns – recorded the meeting and shared its contents.

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Tue Mar 26 2013 11:46
clearly he is biased hes in the union right now mingling with his spirit puppets
Tue Mar 26 2013 11:40
Travis is a sleeze ball if he was so innocent he would remove himself completely
Tue Mar 26 2013 01:14
I don't know why anyone is surprised here. This is Travis Nemmer we're talking about, who lives for SA elections and is aroused by playing puppet master - for what? The thrill of dysfunctional student government?

He is just as sleazy, gross and manipulative as Sikander Khan, remember the creep who lied and manipulated everyone to move $300,000 in an attempt to pay a fraudulent IT company linked to his buddy? You people are in college getting a quality education, but can't pull your heads out of your asses long enough to do your due diligence of conducting your own research, drawing your own conclusions and thinking for yourselves? Pitiful.

It's this attitude and the puppet masters like Khan and Nemmer who have transformed SA into a black hole of toxic energy for those involved and distaste from the rests of the student body. If you've been to a Senate meeting in recent years, then you know SA is just a group of arrogant 20 year olds competing for who can yell the loudest, have the last word, and make the most unintelligent comments about things they are uninformed about while making jabs at each other and trying to ruin the lives of their peers. It's embarrassing that they attend the same school as me. SA is literally just a collection of dumb, petty and arrogant people who think they are better than the average student, but in reality they are the ones giving students a bad name. I looked forward to the day when they are all knocked off their extremely high horse. All they do is prove they aren't adults and can't handle the responsibility given to them. Lets do some math 8 semester of college, 94.75 a semester, so I've only wasted about 758 dollars in my four years here toward SA, but for what? So a handful of idiots can feel important and powerful for most likely the only time in their lives? Or is it so they can hire all their friends to do nothing waste my mandatory fee and basically sit in their third floor kingdom and print their homework for free while I'm stuck waiting in line at lockwood stuck to a quota. It's sickening.

Maybe the students who don't vote or aren't involved in SA are the smart ones? They most likely use their time productively by excelling academically doing research or have an enriching internship. Meaning the students left to run SA are the ones at the bottom of the heap, lowest of the low, black sheep of UB who weren't smart enough to do anything else. Why is it that we entrust the dumbest kids at UB with the most power?

Realistically, it doesn't matter who wins or loses the election. Those who lose will be disappointed for a few weeks then move on with their lives and the newly elected eboard, despite their greatest efforts won't make any real change. Does being an SA officer really matter, maybe after college if you do something really stupid like Sikander Khan and Meghan McMonagle?

My advice, vote no to the referendum next chance you get and spare future students from wasting their 94.75 and all this nonsense.

Mon Mar 25 2013 02:41
JUSTIN IS A GOOD MAN, just want to start of by saying that. this entire article stems soley from the fact that Justin just wants to do whats right. be ethical. something that alot of us understaduate students lack, the ability to consistently make an ethical decision is truly a part of justin that makes him the great man that he is. those who believe that justin made these remarks to simply get back at the spirt party in hopes to gain some votes for the Forward party are just plain dumb and ignorant, and i pity the fool that believes that. Just because justin is able too stand up for what he believes in doesn't give you tthe right to ridiculed the man.
Mon Mar 25 2013 01:05
Wow, this is not responsible journalism in the slightest. Where are the additional sources corroborating Neuwirt's accusations against Nemmer? Without them, this entire article is a "he said, she said" situation and is utterly unfit for print. Neuwirt has ties to the Forward Party - but I guess that's not useful contextual information for readers.
Mon Mar 25 2013 00:37
This is why people vote No on the Mandatory Student Activity Fee. The SA insiders band together to blast the student body with propaganda on why their money should be confiscated and redistributed every two years. Shortly after the referendum passes, usually during an election cycle, they begin fighting in an effort to boost the resumes of their friends (best case) or try to steal the money (worst case).

What do the students get out of it? A few concerts they can walk to and periodic activities through a club if they find one that doesn't have the typical SA drama (a rarity). Maybe a better use of time and money would be exploring the things Buffalo has to offer. Or perhaps just drink your face off until you can finally get out of UB. Or maybe it's all worth it as this provides some comic relief during study breaks.

But some food for thought for the SA insiders...if you keep up this drama someone is going to organize an effort to get the overwhelmingly apathetic Student Body to actually show up and vote No on the next referendum and effectively shut your whole operation down. Remember: there are more people at UB who dislike and distrust the SA than people who love it. Their apathy will turn into votes if you push them far enough.

Mon Mar 25 2013 00:21
Great job Justin. All you're doing is giving another reason to ppl to argue for disbanding the SA and turning it over to student life. Way to fire yourself.
Ohhhh, and I never outwardly supported any party because I'm not here next year and don't have a vested interest in this election. Unlike Justin who broke his own office door because his poor ticket lost support from BSU for backstabbing them.
Mon Mar 25 2013 00:02
This is annoying and childish. Once again, the undergrad students have proven they can't bear this responsibility. I think it's time the grown-ups take over.
Sun Mar 24 2013 23:57
Of course Alana Barricks is going to deny such an action.
Sun Mar 24 2013 23:44
This is what happens when a team gets nervous. They get scared. Watch, we will see Grunin make slanderous remarks soon as well as others who supporters of Spirit. They are in a frenzy, It'll be war and can't always believe what you hear.
Sun Mar 24 2013 23:29
Alana, is it true? That's all we care about.
Alana Barricks
Sun Mar 24 2013 23:17
Wouldn't it be relevant to add that Justin Neuwirt is running the Forward campaign? Or that he is the frat brother of the treasurer candidate on Forward's ticket and clearly has a conflict of interest? Also, to Carson Ciggia, call me out to my face why are you droppin my name to the Spectrum? That accusation is heresay and just ridiculous.

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