Presidential candidate criticized for offensive comments

Reporter: Giorgio Berbatiotis

Student Association Presidential candidate Mina Elseify was criticized on social media and at an open forum, for homophobic remarks that critics say raise questions about his ability to lead the Student Association, which runs an LGBTQ centre on campus. Elseify had made the comments in an online conversation a year ago. The vitriolic remarks aggressively criticized homosexuality, and mocked people who believe in evolution.

The comments were taken from a conversation Elseify had with former VP of university affairs Jesse Cullen in March 2013. Cullen shared the comments on social media to remind students of the incident, and questioned whether a candidate who had expressed such views should be considered a viable candidate for office. Cullen has been vocal on LGBTQ issues in the past and his long-time partner and friends are currently running in an slate opposed to Elseify’s “Team Change”.

“I said those unfortunate things because I was very offended by many individuals posting hate comments about my Christian faith, which are not displayed,” Elseify told the Chronicle, pointing the finger back at his accuser. “People have their own opinions and views on many things, but some wish to share them and some wish to not… how professional is it of somebody else to bring down a candidate with something he has regretfully said in the past? An individual changes throughout a night. Have you changed? I have changed through the year, and understand I did not handle the situation to its best. People make mistakes and the wise ones learn from it. I did.”

This latest controversy is only the most recent involving homophobia in SA politics, current SA president Peter Chinweuba was also criticized earlier in the year for sharing a homophobic status posted by a Nigerian national.