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Published June 12, 2024

Stalking allegations come out against USG president candidate

Undergraduate Student Government leaders said Student Unions and Activities refused to remove Romello Lloyd from the ballot for student body president.
Image by David Monterroso
The University of Minnesota campus gates on East Bank, Nov. 12, 2022.

This story has been updated since its original publication. 

Romello Lloyd, a 2023-24 University of Minnesota Undergraduate Student Government (USG) presidential candidate, was arrested on March 12 on a felony stalking charge. 

Voting for campus elections opened for eligible students on Monday and closes on Friday. Open positions include USG president and vice president and student senators; Lloyd, 26, is listed on the USG president and College of Liberal Arts (CLA) student senator ballots.

Salman Linjawi is listed as Lloyd’s USG running mate. One other pair, Shashank Murali as president and Sara Davis as vice president, is running. 

Linjawi said in an email statement to the Minnesota Daily on Thursday that he did not agree or sign up to run for USG vice president alongside Lloyd.

An online petition was started on Saturday to remove Lloyd from the ballot as a candidate for USG president. 

On the Student Senate website, Lloyd is listed as a current CLA student senator.

“The Student Senate leadership is taking these concerning allegations seriously. Due to the sensitivity of this matter, we are limited in what we are able to share at this time,” Student Senate leadership said in an email statement to the Minnesota Daily. 

Lloyd was released from custody on conditional release on March 13.

“I have not been convicted of any crime, so I am innocent until proven guilty, but this generation loves to cancel people,” Lloyd said in an email statement to the Daily. 

University Public Relations Director Jake Ricker said in an email statement to the Daily the University is aware of these recent charges and the latest public information about the case and “will continue to watch that process through its conclusion.”

“Federal and state privacy laws prevent the University from sharing details on any specific misconduct allegations we may receive or our response to them,” he said. “Any time the University receives allegations of stalking, sexual harassment or other forms of sexual misconduct, we closely follow our policies.”

Lloyd charged with stalking, violation of restraining order

A criminal complaint filed March 10 for the felony stalking charge states Lloyd showed up to the plaintiff’s place of work in July 2022 after harassing her for about six years.

She did not know how Lloyd found out where she works and said he had been harassing her and sending her explicit texts on social media dating back to 2015 or 2016, according to the complaint.

The messages sent by Lloyd are reported in the complaint as “sexually explicit and vulgar, with references to rape.” In one message sent to the plaintiff, Lloyd said he “likes to force women to c**,” according to the complaint. 

A search warrant of Lloyd’s “home and devices” revealed “attempts to identify and locate” the plaintiff, 300 searches for the word “stalker,” including stalker fantasy pornography, and video and journal entries referencing the plaintiff, according to the complaint.

The search also uncovered a journal entry from July 2022 “outlining how to win a court case by feigning mental health issues,” the complaint stated.

The plaintiff said fear for her safety due to Lloyd’s behavior caused her to consider finding a new job. She also reported “mental anguish, having a hard time sleeping, losing focus on tasks and being diagnosed with PTSD,” according to the complaint. 

The next hearing on the case is scheduled for April 14. If convicted, the maximum penalty for the charge, engaging in stalking, is  10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine. 

In a separate civil case, Lloyd was served a restraining order on Feb. 27. The restraining order alleges Lloyd harassed the petitioner by repeatedly attempting to contact them from 2015 to 2021 to the point of causing the petitioner to feel “frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted or intimated.”

The restraining order’s petitioner filed an affidavit on March 3 that Lloyd violated this restraining order. A court hearing for Lloyd to explain why he did not violate the order is scheduled for April 18. 

Lloyd was previously charged in 2022 with two counts of gross misdemeanor stalking that took place from March 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020, according to a criminal complaint.

In the complaint, the plaintiff stated Lloyd emailed her “excessively.” In these emails, she said Lloyd stated he knew where she lived and sent sexually explicit messages. She stated in the complaint that the messages made her feel “uncomfortable and fearful.”

In July 2022, Lloyd underwent a court-ordered evaluation to assess his competency to proceed in the case. Following the evaluation, Lloyd was found incompetent to stand trial on Dec. 6, 2022, and the case was dismissed on Feb. 16. 

Lloyd stays on ballot for student government positions

Lloyd was released from jail for the felony stalking charge on the same day as the deadline for candidates to withdraw from campus elections. 

The All-Campus Elections Team (ACEC), which includes a student activities advisor from Student Unions and Activities (SUA) and three students in student leader positions, certifies all candidates. 

SUA establishes the rules that govern the process and regulation of campus elections. The 23 All-Campus Election rules for candidates include adhering to University policies and campaign ethics.

“USG, as a recognized student government association, sets its own requirements for candidate eligibility. SUA assists with facilitating the logistics of the election based on the requirements determined by USG,” SUA said in an email statement to the Minnesota Daily in response to concerns about Lloyd not being taken off the ballot.

In an updated statement to the Minnesota Daily on Thursday, USG leadership contradicted SUA’s statement, saying “this is inaccurate and does not reflect the position that SUA posited to hold when student leaders reached out about this issue last week.” 

“Effectively, USG is unable to set any rules without SUA’s approval,” USG stated. “When members of our executive board asked if ACEC would consider removing the candidate’s name from the ballot or reviewing their eligibility, administrators within SUA told us they would not.”

According to Chapter 8 in the campus elections rulebook, changes to All-Campus Elections rules made before candidate filing opens will go into effect immediately; any changes after that date will be implemented the following year. Any proposals to amend the rules must be approved by SUA in consultation with ACEC.

USG stated they have plans to be involved with ACEC and SUA on reviewing and potentially amending the rulebook’s policy on candidate eligibility as soon as possible. 

“Due to the ongoing and sensitive nature of this issue, USG is limited in our ability to act as swiftly as we would otherwise like to, and we are thus unable to provide further comment other than to say that we take this issue seriously and are committed to protecting victims, supporting students and ensuring that University systems are improved to prevent problems like this in the future,” according to USG’s statement.

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