Farewell to The Falcon

Reflections on lessons learned, expectations moving forward

Angela Ide, Opinions Editor

Angela Ide has been the Opinions editor for The Falcon for the past year. (Marissa Lordahl)

Dear students, faculty, and readers,

As a year of being the Opinions Editor for The Falcon comes to an end for me, I am left with so many great memories and countless lessons learned. As I transition out of this role, I want to share just a few important notes that I have for this campus and The Falcon.

First and foremost, I want to highlight the continued need for accountability institutionally and within this student organization’s actions.

As a newspaper, we have strived to hold every member of the Seattle Pacific University family accountable because of the shared desire to make this campus a better place for students to come. As an editor and writer, I have always been held responsible for what is published in the Opinions section every week and the quality of work that goes into every article, because that will be my mark on SPU.

As an institution, SPU needs to be held accountable for the promises they make. If The Falcon is not being a voice of critique for this university, we are not doing our jobs fully, as journalists and representatives of the student body. So, I expect to see my fellow journalists, students, and leaders continue to push for justice and equality.

However, maintaining this platform goes beyond just taking on the big campus issues and pushing back on those in positions of authority and power. It also means recognizing the places where our shortcomings are. As a student group, The Falcon has not created an inclusive leadership space for students in minority groups.

Some of this is a reflection on the campus’ demographics, but that still does not excuse The Falcon for the majority of its editors being white students. As much as we struggle to be a voice for this campus, the voices that we find within our own body are of the privileged majority.

Although I do not know the experiences of my colleagues of color and do not wish to speak on their behalf, I can speak on the sheer numbers. The Falcon is not discriminatory to students of color looking to become editors, but I do not think that we have done a good enough job at showing people of color can and should be editors.

Last year, The Falcon staffed one editor of color, Chloe Guillot, and she was my co-Layout Editor and has now moved on to running for ASSP Vice President of Campus Ministries. She trained me, she was in the position that she applied for, and she was an amazing illustrator who loved her job. This year, we have progressed to two editors of color, Alaysia Clark in Multimedia, and Bonnie Tran in Business. They are both skilled editors, Clark, along with her own staff, creates beautiful content that helps us directly interact with the campus, and Tran helps find ways of financially providing for the needs of the newspaper and building connections to the community around SPU. However, two editors of color are still not enough.

These women are doing great things, they are in positions that they love and they are making a difference on this campus, but as I look across my screen during editor meetings, I see mostly white faces and hear mostly white voices.

For the university, accountability for their claims of diversity means taking a deeper look into the systems around admissions. For The Falcon, it means being more intentional in reaching prospective editors, highlighting leadership positions, and better publicizing the opportunity to become an editor (which is currently available!). People of color have been taught that they need someone else to tell their stories for them to be heard. If we want to change what the student leadership looks like, we need to make these openings visible to more people.

To the discomfort of many, reaching for this diversity of perspectives extends to the realm of political divides.

As an editor, I have the power and control of the publications of my section. Thinking myself a just person, I thought I could handle that power properly. However, when faced with a writer of differing opinions, I was humbled to find out that this was not the case. At times, I did not treat this writer with the same grace and understanding as I did others. Mostly this was just because I disagreed with their opinions, but it was never in my job description to be the gatekeeper of this campus’s opinions.

Throughout this process, I can certainly say that I have gained much more respect for this writer as a person as we have worked together, but it wasn’t always pretty. Thankfully now, even though I disagree with their opinions, I can recognize the core concerns that my writer and I share.

As this campus has responded to this writer’s opinions, it has become clear that there are more people who share these perspectives here than some may think. As an amplifier for the people of SPU, I have dedicated myself to magnifying the unheard voices, and that includes the people groups that I struggle to understand at times.

Dr. Peg Achterman, faculty advisor to The Falcon, reminded me of our mantra, “Be brave,” often. True bravery comes when we choose to look for humanity in our enemies. This only is possible in spaces of discomfort and this campus needs to practice being brave.

You do not have to agree with your enemies, you can question and push back against those you disagree with, but if you can not do this in love then do not engage. Threatening violence or verbally hurting someone when you have been hurt solves nothing. It only perpetuates a cycle of hate and division.

I am calling all of these truths to the forefront because I want to ensure the campus that I love and the newspaper that has allowed me to grow in so many ways continues growing as I leave the position I was given.