Non-elected and unopposed candidates have greater responsibility to serve well
ASSP is responsible for managing large amounts of money and making important decisions regarding our university.
Because of the responsibility and power held by ASSP, it makes sense that the student body would have to vote to fill the positions every year.
Last year, shortly after elections took place, Keana Aquino, the winning ASSP presidential candidate, was relieved from her position, and Mary Liu, the losing candidate, took her place.
One would think that after losing the election and then getting the opportunity to serve anyways, Liu would have taken a graceful approach that would demonstrate her qualifications and prove that her appointment to the position was deserved.
This year, however, while serving as president, Liu was accused of being unaffirming of the LGBTQIA+ community and even of using some questionable language towards then Vice President of Finance Spencer O’Hara.
This type of behavior in leaders makes others more comfortable with openly expressing prejudice against minority groups.
Sadly, some people believe that because we are a Christian campus, and these prejudiced sentiments are considered Christian by some, it is acceptable to act this way.
Seeing prominent campus leaders do as such only serves to reinforce their perspective.
Liu’s appointment was not an isolated event.
Due to Andy Spalletta’s removal as the vice president of ministries elect, the losing candidate, Madison Fulcher, will be taking over next year, facing the same situation Liu was in this year.
Still, even before Fulcher’s term has begun, fears of her stances on LGBTQIA+ and non-Christians on campus have been voiced.
SPU Confessions, an anonymous submissions page on Facebook, has featured many posts questioning Fulcher’s stance on LGBTQ+ issues and non-Christian groups.
We cannot disregard the fact that neither of these candidates were elected, and actually lost by a significant number of votes.
Due to unforeseen circumstances though, they were given an opportunity to serve.
People are bound to take sides whenever controversy arises, but regardless of where one falls, we all need to remember the responsibility held by these positions and how easily they lend themselves to criticism.
Fulcher, like Liu before her, has to serve a community that did not choose her.
The truth is that much of the school will not readily cheer for her or trust her, unlike they will the candidates who were voted in.
Her goals and actions in office will hopefully serve to demonstrate she deserves to fill the position and is qualified to do so.
This goes beyond just these two candidates, even beyond replaced candidates.
Unopposed candidates face a similar battle, as votes don’t really matter if there is no one to compete against.
There is no minimum number of votes needed to get in.
Sarah Kirschner, vice president of finance elect, joked on the matter during her candidate speech at the forum, commenting that since she had run unopposed, students’ votes would have minimal say in her appointment.
Candidates like Liu, Fulcher and Kirschner have to work harder, and rightfully so, to understand and be of service to all here at SPU.
They should ask themselves why the majority of voters did not chose them, and how they can improve in order to better aid their community.
ASSP is one of the highest forms of leadership here on campus, and those serving need to step up and act like it.
It’s time people show a little bit of respect for the process, the position, and their significance.
It’s easy to pretend one belongs in leadership and disregard the importance of the people one serves.
However, those who are not placed in power by the people need to prove themselves as leaders and role models before they can demand any respect.
These leaders need to learn to get off their high-horses and start acting like people that deserve to serve.
Saya is a junior studying psychology and political science