ASSP candidates present platforms

Julia Battishill

The candidate forums, which took place on the evening of March 4 in the SUB’s gazebo room, gave candidates a chance to share their platforms and connect with students.

Attending students heard five-minute speeches from each candidate, then had five more minutes to ask questions. If the position had more than one candidate, both would have a turn answering the question.

Devin Martin-Atsatt | The Falcon

Only one of the six positions was contested: the position of ASSP President, which both former Chief Justice Talbot Miller and current President Nathan Samayo are campaigning for. Their forum was first, with Miller starting and Samayo following. The unexpected candidacy of Samayo, as well as the importance of the position, lead to many student questions regarding the candidates plans and policies. Miller focused his attention on his goals to make the SPU campus more accessible for all students, including those with disabilities, while Samayo maintained his focus on the revision to the Human Sexuality Statement that he has been pushing this year.

Devin Martin-Atsatt | The Falcon

Nate Canny, running uncontested for executive vice president, followed with his speech about his focus on integrity and honest communication with the student body, as well as increased student involvement. “I want to have the sort of relationship with the student body that you guys feel comfortable asking me anything, I want you to feel comfortable coming to me and really asking for an honest answer,” Canny said.

Andrew Josselyn, running unopposed for vice president of campus activities, gave an enthusiastic speech regarding his goals to revise current activities, as well as create new ones, to include all students. He stressed the importance of “going out of our way to invite everyone and not let a single person [be] left outside feeling unwanted, even if it’s unintentional.” He received questions about his specific plans and experience, to which he reminded the room of his STUB involvement this year and his dedication to his role.

Liam Smith, candidate for vice president of finance, was upfront about his goals regarding fiscal responsibility and, more specifically, prioritizing club funding this year. In response to questions about his funding goals for next year, he says he’s working with other members of ASSP “to bring forward a proposal related to signature events” regarding clubs. Throughout his campaign, Smith was opposed by The Falcon photographer Jacky Chen. However, Chen was not permitted to speak at the forum and Smith moved into the question portion alone.

When asked, Executive Vice President Kaitlyn Payton said that Chen is not running at this time and that she was “not at liberty to say anything further” regarding the matter.

Devin Martin-Atsatt | The Falcon

Next, sole candidate for the position of vice president of intercultural affairs, Aden Yilma, spoke regarding her goals to make every student on campus feel advocated for and welcome. She explained that her experience as a woman of color in STEM has given her perspective and made her want to help all students feel included and celebrated. She responded to a question about if she would consider making a support group for students of color in STEM by saying, “definitely. That is definitely one of the things I’ve been thinking about.”

Jose Flores, uncontested candidate for vice president of ministries, closed the evening by talking about his experience in ministry back home in Tacoma as well as this year at SPU. He said that his time as an SMC and running a youth group has given him the passion and background in ministry needed to execute this position well. He said he is “so excited to serve next year, there’s such a cool intersectionality between the things that you love and the ministry aspect of things.” In response to questions about inclusiveness, Flores stressed that students of all faiths and backgrounds are important to him and will be supported by his role as VPM.