Joe Tantillo, Students’ Association chair, has ruled himself out of the Association presidential race to run Pat Mathewson’s campaign in the president’s bid for re-election, The Saint can reveal.
In a private Facebook post to his campaign team seen by The Saint and which has since been deleted, Mr Tantillo said: “I wanted to let you all know that over the past two weeks I have been in the process of making a very difficult decision. Let me preface this with a bit of information. Pat Mathewson has decided that he is going to stand again for the role of Association President.
“Right now I believe Pat Mathewson is what is best for the Student’s Association, and as a demonstration of my faith in him I will be managing his campaign.”
However, news that Mr Mathewson would be running again for the position had not actually reached the ears of the president himself. Mr Mathewson denied to The Saint any knowledge of discussing his plans with his campaign manager, laughing off any suggestion that he would rerun. He told The Saint that he had “nothing to say” on the matter and that “[the election] is months away”.
Mr Tantillo also suggested that Ondrej Hajda, director of representation (DoRep), may run for a second term. “I did carefully consider running for DoRep, but it seems that Ondrej is also going to stand again for that position,” Mr Tantillo said. Mr Hajda declined to comment.
In his Facebook post Mr Tantillo said that Mr Mathewson had not asked him to stand down and had in fact welcomed the competition. “The truth is I believe in Pat. He has been an excellent President, the best in my time at St Andrews, and he has a lot more that he wishes to accomplish. Most importantly he has already developed the relationships and connections to see his promises through,” he said.
Mr Tantillo revealed that Mr Mathewson had extended an invitation to Mr Tantillo’s supporters to join the president’s campaign team. He said: “If you believed in the values that I held dear then you will find that they are the same values that will drive Pat’s campaign.”
Mr Tantillo told his team that he had considered running for another sabbatical position but did not find the roles of director of student development and activities (DoSDA) or director of events and services (DoES) appealing and felt he would be no match for Mr Hajda.
When approached by The Saint, Mr Tantillo said: “My message was sent in confidence to a select group, and I don’t feel comfortable commenting at this time.”
Whether Mr Mathewson will rerun remains unclear. Not since Andrew Keenan, who served between 2008 and 2010, has a president served two terms.