After several old tweets containing derogatory language from Speaker of the Senate of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada Noah Teixeira resurfaced earlier this month, Teixeira took the time to respond to the backlash from these tweets. The ASUN presidential hopeful posted a brief statement on Twitter addressing the old tweets, but students still had questions about his leadership as Speaker and campaign for presidency.
Last Wednesday, Teixeira sat among his fellow ASUN senators in front of a crowd of about 50 students at the weekly senate meeting.
Teixeira began the meeting by publicly apologizing to the student attendees. His comments were followed up by the reading of a letter from former ASUN President Caden Fabbi.
“To those hurtling insults at Noah, I’m sorry to tell you that your understanding of him is misguided. Noah is not only a friend of mine but someone I’ve mentored since his freshman year,” Fabbi said.
The meeting proceeded with public comment from students both in support and opposition to Teixeira.
Emmanuela Gore, a liberal arts student at UNR, voiced her opposition toward Teixeira by questioning why he and the other senators believed he was still qualified to serve in the ASUN and potentially as the ASUN president if such a large group of students feel marginalized and victimized by his past tweets.
When asked for his comment toward Gore’s question in a post-meeting interview, Teixeira said, “I want to continue to serve the students of this campus. I have served the students to date and I will continue to serve them. As an individual, I have been able to listen to others to ensure that their feelings and their emotions are taken into account in my everyday life. Since those tweets have been posted, I have been able to accept everyone.”
On social media, some students have been calling for Teixeira to drop out of the race, however, Teixeira did not make any indication as to whether he planned on suspending his campaign.
“One of my campaign goals as president is to make students feel safer with their identity,” Teixeira said. “In that, I want to give students a seat at the table; I don’t know how it would look but I want to create a board in which all student leaders from all different backgrounds and all different communities can come down and start the conversation.”
The next student after Gore to speak at the senate meeting was Conner Matthews, a student from CABNR.
“First of all, Noah lived with two African American men in a 20-foot by 20-foot room for an entire year as a sophomore in college,” Matthews said. “Secondly, many of Noah’s best friends, some of whom will speak here tonight, are homosexual or of a different race. He campaigned for Bernie Sanders and voted for Hillary Clinton and as a senator fought for gender neutral bathrooms on this campus.”
Matthew then said Teixeira could not be racist or homophobic because of the reasons he listed.
In Teixeira’s statement on Twitter, he said that, while there was no excuse for the language in the tweets, they no longer represent who he is today.
“I don’t want to make excuses for what happened and I hate that that’s the way it came off in my statement,” Teixeira said.
The tweets that surfaced were from 2013 and 2014 and included both the n-word and a slur derogatory to the LGBTQIA community.
“I would rather address it and take ownership because I understand that these words affect people… affect people in a way that I will never be able to understand,” Teixeira said.
In his statement, Teixeira said he grew up in a small town and has changed since he came to college. Teixeira lived in Carson City, Nevada, and graduated from Carson City High School before coming to the University of Nevada, Reno.
Teixeira is an active member of the fraternity Alpha Tau Omega, the Recruitment Director for St. Jude’s ‘Up ‘till Dawn’ and has been actively involved in ASUN since his freshman year.
Teixeira’s career with ASUN began his freshman year when he was an intern. He then became a Policy Analyst for the Department of Legislative Affairs and is currently serving as Speaker of the Senate, after being elected as a senator for the College of Business.
Throughout his time serving in ASUN, Teixeira said one of his biggest contributions was when he spoke in favor of a gender-neutral bathroom bill as an intern.
The bill passed, resulting in various gender-neutral bathrooms being placed on campus, including the most recent addition in the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center.
Teixeira recently launched his campaign for presidency with Sebastian Atienza running as his vice president. Their campaign launched just one day prior to the tweets surfacing on social media.
When asked about how he has been dealing with the backlash from his peers, Teixeira responded by explaining that it is a student’s right to have an opinion and he likes seeing how many students want to hold their ASUN officers accountable.
“I really want to serve these students and show these students that is not me,” Teixeira said.
Alex Crupi, the current senate’s Parliamentarian is the only other candidate running against Noah Teixeira in the 2017 ASUN presidential election. Crupi is running on a ticket with Trenton Jackson as his vice president. Jackson currently serves as one of the senators for the College of Business.
The ASUN Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates are on Tuesday, Mar. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the JCSU, Ballroom C. The polls open March 15 at 8 a.m. online via WebCampus.