Today is the day that the SPU community votes to elect next year’s ASSP Officer Core.
Traditionally, The Falcon interviews each candidate for the six open positions, and after taking a look at public platforms and forums, it publishes endorsements. This year, several of the candidates chose not to be interviewed for a variety of reasons. Despite this set back, the candidates were given an equal amount of consideration for endorsements.
Members of The Falcon editorial board, made up of four current editors, analyze all the available information and then endorse candidates based on their responses and qualifications.
However, it is extremely important to note that SPU’s student government is established in such a way that a majority of The Falcon’s budget is provided by the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific. Thus, this relationship creates an unavoidable conflict of interest.
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) code of ethics states that “journalists should: avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived; remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.”
We acknowledge that the conflict of interest exists, but the decisions for candidate endorsements are in no way based on our interests alone. Our endorsement decisions are made with our community in mind. They are meant to keep ASSP candidates accountable to their positions by examining their strengths, weaknesses and positions on issues relevant to our campus.
Furthermore, due to lack of availability, response or perceived qualifications, not all positions will be endorsed.
Overall, this year’s candidates had several similar themes in their platforms. Some of these include intentionality, transparency, honesty and increased student communication. As a whole these ideas seem very significant to the development of our campus and student body and our hope is that, when elected, the candidates stay true to their platform and promises to the SPU community.
Endorsement: Nathan Samayo
For the position of President, the editorial board has chosen to endorse Nathan Samayo (he/him). Throughout his platform, interview and speech, Samayo showed a level of vulnerability and raw honesty that is rarely seen in public leaders. He openly and repeatedly advocates transparency from those in charge and is focused on providing spaces for voices that are not currently validated adequately. It is important to note that the candidate does not portray the highest level of professional presentation. Still, such characteristic has allowed him to be an approachable figure among his peers. In the end, Samayo depicts a clear passion that has its roots in his past experiences and personal story, and this drives his dedication for leadership.With his experience in cooperative leadership throughout various groups, it is clear that Samayo is equipped with the necessary skills needed to successfully fill this position.
Executive Vice President
Endorsement: Kaitlyn Payton
The position of Executive Vice President presented a difficult challenge for the board. Both candidates are clearly qualified and could successfully fill the role if elected. However, in the end the board has decided to endorse Kaitlyn Payton (she/her) for the position. She is highly involved in various leadership positions and has proved to be successful under extreme pressure. She has voiced for desire for more transperancy from those in ASSP and a dedication to make that happen within the role. She shows a commitment to use her position to further engage not only those directly under her, but also the student body as a whole. It is clear that she understands the significance and power the job holds, which is greatly important. The board would like to see a clearer and more focused action plan from the candidate, but because of her experience and vision as a whole, the board chooses to endorse her.
Vice President of Intercultural Affairs
Endorsement: Drew Cortez
In regard to the Vice President of Intercultural Affairs, Drew Cortez (he/they) is the board’s choice for endorsement. Although they are running unopposed, it is important to acknowledge Cortez’s qualifications for the job. This is why the board has decided to print an endorsement for him as well. Throughout his candidacy, Cortez has shown his willingness to raise challenging questions that others may be hesitant to ask. He is not afraid to step into the uncomfortable spaces and conversations that are needed to facilitate productive change within his community. He readily acknowledges areas he believes can be improved within the role. He focuses his energy on not only understanding, but also validating the experiences of students on campus. Although he is lacking in tangible policy, his ideals and determination make it clear to the board that he will be a good fit for a position that is so integrated in diverse and poorly represented communities.
Vice President of Ministries
Endorsement: Andy Spalletta
Andy Spalletta is the board’s choice for Vice President of Ministries in the upcoming election. We are aware that Spalletta (they/them) does not hold the most traditional view of the position and proposes a platform that is a step away from candidates in the past. However, their concern for inclusivity and raising voices far surpasses any need for traditionality. Their diverse background and experience with marginalized groups has allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of the representation needed on campus. It is clear that not only do they have a willingness to listen to those in the community, but also do their best to make a meaningful change to improve the situation. The board believes that change is much needed among campus’ leadership, and Spalletta is the candidate we believe encompasses that ideal for this specific role. Perhaps it is time we move away from the norm and begin to move in a new direction.