Former Student Association presidential candidate Tony Hart released a statement Wednesday explaining his abrupt withdrawal from this week’s election.
In a public Facebook note, Hart listed his personal mental health and attacks from other students as reasons why he decided to drop out of the race. The announcement of his withdrawal came during the Joint Elections Committee debate Monday night.
Hart said in the post that he never intended to run for political office, but that he thought his position as a nonwhite, non-Greek, non-affluent student would put him in place to make significant change as SA president.
“I thought I could put a spotlight on the issues facing our community,” Hart wrote. “I thought I could rally our student body to demand more from our university and more from ourselves. I thought I could profoundly change the way the Student Association is viewed by thousands upon thousands of students on this campus.”
Hart wrote that he was personally attacked by students who told him not to run because it could ruin plans for other candidates. He said after his official announcement, more hurtful comments began to emerge, including one student who said Hart was “too poor to run for SA president.”
These factors, Hart said, contributed to a week of minimal sleep and changes in health and study habits and culminated with his decision to not participate in Monday night’s debate and drop out of the race.
“Last night I put my suit on, walked to the steps of the Marvin Center, and simply did not have the strength to walk up the steps and enter the debate room,” Hart wrote. “I turned towards two of my closest friends and asked them to walk me home as tears began to run down my face. At that moment, I knew nothing in life was worth the way I was feeling.”
Erika Feinman and Christina Giordano are now competing for the top spot. Voting is open until 9 p.m. Thursday.