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(COVINGTON, La.) An investigation has been opened into newly-elected St. Paul’s Student Council President Josh Rovira for colluding with the Jesuit High School Student Council during the recent 2018 St. Paul’s Student Council election.
The investigation into Rovira and his campaign team was opened after it was discovered that the Jesuit Student Council attempted to influence the 2018 St. Paul’s Student Council presidential election between Josh Rovira and Josh Devier. Investigators proved Jesuit used computer hacking, the spread of fake news through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, troll farms, and other methods in an attempt to sow discord among the St. Paul’s student body and influence the election in Rovira’s favor.
The investigation, which is attempting to find out whether Rovira or anyone from his team conspired with any member of the Jesuit Student Council to influence the election, is being headed by an independent source, Youth and Government Club president Roger Molar.
“This attempt to undermine our democracy is egregious,” Molar said. “And any St. Paul’s Student Council member who is discovered to have conspired with Jesuit will be…well I’m not really sure if we have the authority to do anything. Um…they’ll be given a detention, maybe?”
Rovira has repeatedly denied any allegations of collusion, according to reports.
“These allegations are simply ridiculous,” Rovira said in a statement. “I don’t even know what a ‘Jesuit’ is.”
The St. Paul’s Student Council has been in a state of tumult since it was discovered last month that Jesuit tampered with the election.
One main tactic the Jesuits used was the dissemination of fake news to influence student voters. Fake news was put out that slandered both Devier and Rovira alike. The most notable instance of this was when a story came out claiming Josh Devier planned to change the color of St. Paul’s uniform shirts from royal blue to hot pink. The story was shared over 4,000 times before it was discovered to be fabricated.
Another tactic employed by Jesuit was the use of bots to breed conflict among the student body. Bots used by Jesuit included fake Twitter or Facebook accounts that appeared to be real St. Paul’s students, constantly posting inflammatory messages showing support for a specific side in order to cause conflict and strife among the students of St. Paul’s.
“One bot told me that if the main school building isn’t my favorite building on campus then I am a terrible person who doesn’t deserve to graduate,” freshman Jonas Manning said. “I don’t know what that had to do with Student Council, but it sure made me angry.”
According to sources, most of the fake news and bots came from troll farms. A troll farm is an organized operation consisting of real people whose primary goal is to use social media to affect student body opinion. According to a report, at least two Jesuit troll farms were discovered to be operating in New Orleans.
“This election meddling goes far beyond anything we initially thought,” Molar said. “This isn’t just Jesuit attacking our election process. They are attacking our school, our way of life, and our very existence.”
Some students are surprised by how much the school rivalry between St. Paul’s and Jesuit has escalated.
“Last year the rivalry was just cheering really loud during sports games,” junior Winston Payne said. “This year it’s using sophisticated technology and targeted strategies to assault our democracy and influence the outcome of our Student Council election. That is wild.”
Molar says he is unsure how long the investigation will last.
“The investigation will be done when justice is served or summer starts. Whichever comes first,” Molar said.