Editor’s note: 2011 student election concerns

Today marks the start of full campaigning for student body officers as students seek leadership positions to give back to our community. Each year the Lariat interviews the student body officer candidates and endorses one candidate for each position.

It has come to my attention that there is much that needs to be said about these elections as the paper’s ethical standards we follow require special handling of this year’s elections.

Student body president candidates that have officially filed to run include: Cristina Galvan, the current external vice president, Ben Aguinaga, Zach Rogers, Nate Larsen and Whitney Desmond.

Cristina Galvan is the older sister of the Lariat’s assistant city editor Carmen Galvan. This familial connection presents inherent conflicts of interest.

First, I in no way intend to place Carmen in the place of judging her sister against the other candidate.

I have asked Carmen to sit out on the interview of presidential candidates and editorial writing process the Lariat will conduct in the coming weeks.

Carmen will not be partaking in these interviews in order to maintain a fair interview environment for both Cristina and the other candidates and to ensure the editorial board’s vote is ethically sound.

We will vote for the candidate each board member thinks will provide the best future for this university.

Fairness, accuracy and constructive reasoning will be used in this process — all tools I know Carmen uses throughout her journalism endeavors. This situation, however, calls for her complete removal in order to quell any concerns.

Carmen will be involved in the interview and endorsement process of the external and internal vice president candidates because there are no conflicts of interest that lead me to believe she could not more than aptly fulfill her role as a member of the editorial board.

The second situation I have dealt with is that of the internal vice president candidates.

The current internal vice president, Michael Lyssy, is rerunning for the position along with junior Daniel Houston and Brian Kim, the current PR chair for student government.

My concern deals only with Houston because he is a reporter for the Lariat this semester.

I have talked with Houston about his plans to run for the position and I find no ethical reason as to why he can’t continue to maintain his reporter capacity for this paper and run a campaign for the IVP position.

Houston covers Central Texas politics for the Lariat along with other pieces of news as needed.

He has not and will not, however, be involved in any student government coverage for the Lariat.

His interview will be conducted in the same capacity as the other IVP candidates and no preferential treatment will be given throughout our process.

If Houston should win the endorsement of this paper — a decision yet to even be discussed by the editorial board, seeing as interviews have not been conducted — it will be only because the board found him to be the best option for this university.

My intent with these decisions is to clear the air as campaign season begins and to ensure the Lariat maintains its commitment to ethical journalism.

I wish nothing but good luck to all the candidates.

— Nick Dean
Editor in chief