Tantillo pulls out of presidential race to support Pat Mathewson in his bid for a second term

Union - Henry Legg
Union - Henry Legg
Photo: Henry Legg

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.


  1. This article is the journalistic equivalent of vapid high school gossip – unimportant and uninteresting with a clear disregard for the privacy of everyone involved. Unethical journalism MIGHT be necessary if your message was even a little bit significant. This is just petty and obnoxious.

  2. Great scoop. What a load of utter nonsense student politics is.

    I find it funny that the comments above have taken things so seriously. You should all just get a life.

  3. If this article has come about because of somebody breaching the confidence of a private Facebook conversation, than that person ought to be highly ashamed of themselves.

    I’m always sorry to see this kind of bitchy politics enter our Student’s Union. The Union should be about the work that gets done, not the personalities who run it, and these kinds of personal squabbles are not conducive to the efficient running of the union.

    Elections are not for months yet, so why is gossip about who will run for what relevant just now? A lot could change by March!

    (Also, I’m not criticising the Saint. You can’t exactly blame them for publishing an article about a bit of student gossip – that’s the only reason they exist. I just think it’s sad that somebody close to Joe Tantillo breached his trust.)

    • In the highly charged political atmosphere that these gentlemen surely aspire to enter this sort of thing is common place. The reaction from certain members of the student population is nothing short of childish.

  4. I am disappointed that the Saint would publish this. Clearly the message being dissected here was sent in private and not intent for journalism. The Saint is making itself out to be no better than the red headers with this article. Disgusting.

  5. You admitted this was a private correspondence and then directly quoted it. You even went so far as to ensure that you didn’t have permission from the quoted to make his comments public.

    You do realise that’s not exactly legal?

    Don’t pretend this is in any way important to anyone. You might as well have been reporting on some random guy in some tutorial declining to comment because Sheila was really rude to him but he likes her but actually it has not been since Tuesday that he has been on a date to Starbucks so just get the paparazzi out of his face ok.

    So, please, continue to stew in your BNOC tower, because I’m going to take my next copy of the Saint and put it right in the recycling bin. Maybe the seagulls will care.

    • I think that you may need to look up the definition of legal.

      Publishing a message that makes you look like a wanker isn’t illegal if it’s true.

      • i don’t think people realise that hardly anything you put online is legally private. ESPECIALLY on Facebook, they own your goddamn thoughts.


  6. Personally I think that the whistleblower should be commended for exposing the insidious insider politics that seem to dominate when our dear president Pat Mathewson is involved.

    • Excuse me? ‘Whistleblower’? ‘commended’? We’re not dealing with someone who uncovered a plot to take over the world. This person is a traitorous little swine with no regard for the trust placed in them. I can only imagine that whoever it was was included in these plans in the expectation that he or she was a friend who would keep confidence. Joe’s honesty with his team is testament to his belief in the character of its members. He should never have been betrayed in this way.

  7. student politics can be ridiculous, but this is just student journalism stooping to its lowest level. isn’t trash like this the problem with a lot of mainstream political dialogue? why should we be bringing that to a student election?

  8. The most disappointing thing to come out of this is the news that Mr Tantillo won’t be running. As a member of his team I was gutted to hear of his intention to pull out, whilst it’s a shame that it’s now in the public eye, the biggest shame is that he no longer intends to run.

  9. If journalists only published on information freely available, there would be a lot less journalism. This is fair game as far as I am concerned. Those annoyed should direct it at the person who passed this on to The Saint, no one else.

  10. I would like to take this opportunity to announce my intention to run for Student Union President. It’s on Pat Mathewson…


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