After several derogatory tweets from Speaker of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada senate Noah Teixeira surfaced last week, students have been calling for him to pull out of the race for ASUN president.
Teixeira recently launched a campaign for president with Sebastian Atienza running as his vice president. Despite calls to pull out of the race, Teixeira’s statement about the tweets, released shortly after the controversy arose last Thursday, did not have any information about potentially dropping out of the race.
Teixeira’s tweets ranged from 2013 and 2014 and included both the n-word and a homosexual slur. The tweets have been circling Twitter with the hashtag #NEVERNOAH since they surfaced last week.
In his statement released late Thursday, Teixeira apologized for the tweets and called the language immature and embarrassing.
“Growing up in a small town, I never had the opportunity to learn and understand diversity the way others did,” Teixeira said. “As I have learned from my experience at an institution of higher education, a person is a product of their surroundings. I said and tweeted things without thinking, and felt social pressures to talk and act a certain way.”
Teixeira also said he had changed since starting college and would never think to repeat the language used in his former tweets.
“Last year at this time I was running into meadow wood yelling “n—-r Friday yeah I’m a bad person…” Teixeira tweeted.
ASUN President Brandon Boone said he originally saw the tweets as a personal issue instead of an ASUN issue, but it has since become an ASUN issue because Teixeira serves as the Speaker of the Senate.
“The ASUN is dedicated to all students that call the University of Nevada, Reno home,” Boone wrote in a statement. “This institution is a place where people learn, grow and develop every day. We look forward to creating more opportunities for people of all backgrounds to improve their university experience and set the foundation for the rest of their lives.”
Sandra Rodriguez, Director of the ASUN Center for Student Engagement, said there has to be an open channel of communication between the undergraduate students and ASUN.
“It was a reminder of the power of social media and a reconciliation of the fact that everybody is really young at some point and then they come here and their social media follows them,” Rodriguez said. “I think for the body it has been a wake-up call about how one should handle their social media.”
Rodriguez also said she laments that students of color and the LGBTQIA population were the focus of the tweets because those students likely deal with the language in the tweets on a regular basis.
Rodriguez said Teixeira should understand the burden the tweets present to students of color and LGBTQIA students.
“Everybody has to react in their own right, I don’t believe that there is an overreaction because I have not walked in your shoes,” Rodriguez said. “With some empathy and some patience, I am hoping that the association and those students that have been impacted can move forward together.”
Teixeira’s opponent for president, Alex Crupi, released a statement from his campaign last Friday that said they did not think Teixeira’s apology excuses the existence of the tweets.
“During an annual training session put on by the Center for Student Engagement for the newly elected and appointed officials of ASUN, there is a specific section that serves to express that as public servants our personal statements and actions are a direct representation of ASUN,” the Crupi campaign statement said.
Rodriguez said she separates ASUN from Teixeira and that ASUN did not send out those tweets four years ago, he did.