Follow The Temple News on Twitter @TheTempleNews as this story develops. This story was last updated at 6:32 p.m. on April 2.
A petition asking current Student Body President Aron Cowen to resign was released Sunday morning, two days before elections for TSG will begin.
An account called “@ResignTSG” posted the petition on Twitter Sunday morning. Before the account tweeted for the first time Sunday, it had one follower — Activate TU, one of the two teams running in the TSG elections. The Connecting TU and Activate TU campaigns have both criticized TSG’s Executive Branch for a lack of transparency and relationship with Parliament, the legislative branch of the student government that was established this year.
“I am doing everything I can to ensure the continuing success and growth of Temple Student Government and the Parliament,” Cowen wrote in a statement to The Temple News on Sunday afternoon. “I have upheld the highest levels of integrity in doing so, and look forward to continuing to serve Temple students.”
Activate TU wrote in a statement to The Temple News that the campaign was not aware of the resignation petition and that the account must have been followed accidentally.
“All of our social media accounts follow multiple people, and we believe this account slipped through the cracks during our online outreach,” the statement read. “None of the candidates, nor anyone on our campaign team, purposefully followed this account. Once we learned of the account, it was immediately unfollowed. We believe this is a distraction from the election and we plan to get everyone engaged in the real issues on campus.”
The petition criticizes Cowen’s participation in a March 20 Parliament meeting, where he offered feedback on resolutions before they were put up for a vote. TSG’s current constitution allows the president to serve as an ex-officio member of Parliament with “speaking and introducing rights on any and all Parliament meetings, be they full or committee.” Cowen was not on the agenda to appear at the meeting.
In an interview two days after the meeting, Cowen said he wanted to speak about “information and context” for the bills that were up for a vote, including one asking for the university administration to respond to a Faculty Senate letter asking for Temple to become a sanctuary university.
“I didn’t speak for it, I didn’t speak against it, I spoke to it,” Cowen said. “And all I spoke was ‘I spoke with Bill Bergman from the administration and he gave me this information about actions they have taken and he committed that they send a response.’”
Elections for the new TSG administration and Parliament are Tuesday and Wednesday.
Follow The Temple News on Twitter @TheTempleNews as this story develops.
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristieJules.