SGA vice presidential candidate’s tweets containing racial slurs resurface

Originally Posted on The Daily Cougar via UWIRE

A series of tweets from a vice presidential candidate in the Student Government Association election that contain racial slurs resurfaced Monday afternoon when several were sent to The Cougar.

Four times between June 2015 and June 2017, political science junior Nader Irsan, vice presidential candidate for the Coogs Unite Party, tweeted using the N-word. He did this twice in his comments while retweeting other posts — in one case the original tweet to which he responded was deleted at some point after being posted — and in two original tweets from his account.

“Looking back now, I’m ashamed of what I did tweet,” Irsan said when called about the matter. “I don’t think I was in the right to say that, but people have to understand that I was younger.”

Alongside those four tweets was one between Irsan and another user from January 2015. In this tweet, he responds to a user referring to him as their “gay friend” by tweeting, “don’t play games with me u know id rather die then be gay but you have your mom don’t u.”

Irsan is neither African American nor does he say he identifies as gay.

Irsan said despite his tweets he does not have nor has ever had any problem with homosexuality and supports LGBT rights.

“My views have never changed. I am a firm believer that you can do whatever you want with your body and that doesn’t concern me,” he said.

Before being brought to the attention of The Cougar, the tweets had not been discovered by the UH community at large nor had they gone viral by any means. Monday evening, none held more than a single like, comment or retweet.

“I don’t believe in dirty politics in this campaign, but apparently my opponents don’t share those same values,” Irsan said.

With the SGA vice presidential debate happening Feb. 16, Irsan said he worries these tweets will be used against him by his opponents during the debates in the lead up to voting, which lasts from Feb. 28 to March 2.

“They’re gonna say it wasn’t a joke even if it was and go after my party, who has worked hard and has great ideas and enthusiasm for this University,” Irsan said. “I know my opponents will bring this up that those are my stances when they’re not and prey on people’s fears and prejudices.”

In a written statement delivered to The Cougar Monday, Irsan followed up on his tweets, saying he attributes his use of the N-word to having spent several years as an adolescent living with an African American family and alongside many African American teens because of Child Protective Services. According to him, he never said these words in conversation but he became acclimated to the word and at the time did not recognize the harm in using it as he did on Twitter.

“In hindsight that was a wrong assumption,” Irsan wrote. “But it is the one I humbly present to you, the students of the University of Houston in hopes of seeking your forgiveness.”

Irsan also went on in the letter to apologize for his comments regarding homosexuality, writing that he has gradually learned since then about the impact of statements like that.

“I believe that everyone is equally deserving of respect for their choices and would go as far as to say those who have come out deserve even more respect for standing up to societal norms and truly being themselves with no regard to how others see them,” Irsan said, closing the letter. “I see their bravery and courage as a standard we should all aspire to be like, myself included.”

Since he spoke with The Cougar Monday, all five of Irsan’s tweets have been erased from his Twitter account, which was also set to private.

Irsan said Coogs Unite was not aware of the tweets before being contacted by The Cougar.

SGA vice presidential candidate’s tweets containing racial slurs resurface” was originally posted on The Daily Cougar

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