Letters to the Editor

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    Leaders are responsible for their own actions

    Everything in life has a price.

    Leaders choose to not only pay it, but to go beyond. Followers choose to make a down payment. Losers choose to ignore it.

    Years ago, I created that credo, looked in the mirror each morning and silently repeated it to myself. At the reins of the nation’s largest in-house advertising agency, I used that credo to “kick-start” my day . as a constant reminder that leaders stay out in front to set the example for future leaders. They not only pay the price, they go beyond.

    This week, I saw the word “price” used again in conjunction with leadership – the leadership of the Student Government Association – a group elected by members of the student body to be their voice in helping design campus programs and events targeted toward helping develop them further as ethical leaders and responsible citizens.

    “Someone dropped the ball, and there was negligence, and I paid the price for it,” said Justin LaPoten, a candidate for SGA vice president. LaPoten’s quote appeared in the Daily Skiff’s lead story on Wednesday as he expressed his displeasure about being removed from the SGA ballot the day before the election because of three unexcused absences at House meetings and poor attendance at committee meetings.

    The day’s house editorial points out in the same issue that LaPoten received a warning on his early October absences on Oct. 20, seven days before he filed for candidacy on Oct. 27. Still, according to Yoo, another attendance review was due from Speaker of the House Haley Murphy on Nov. 3, but “someone dropped the ball. Thus, action wasn’t taken until Monday.” (Nov. 10)

    End result – LaPoten wasn’t reminded of his absences. The editorial board also states, “There was negligence as well as systematic flaws.” According to the Skiff’s lead story, “LaPoten said he is upset that SGA took so long to bring up the issue, adding that he believed if the problem had been caught three weeks sooner, SGA and he could have worked out an arrangement so he could have remained in the electoral race.” The story also pointed out that LaPoten wanted reimbursement for his campaign expenses.

    Call me old-fashioned, not with it, behind the times . whatever . but what ever happened to accountability for one’s own actions? Since when does a person who wants to assume the mantle of leadership for an organization have to be reminded that he or she hasn’t attended the meetings?

    Shouldn’t a candidate for leadership know the rules and requirements of the organization that he or she aspires to lead? Or, is the responsibility of the organization to play “big brother” and follow the editorial board’s recommendation to “check the record of those filing for candidacy for any details that might make them ineligible to run.”?

    I have been very fortunate in my tenure at TCU. I have had, and continue to have, great students. Not all are superstars, but I can say that no student who sincerely cared about his/her progress – attended every class session, came by to work with me when he/she had a problem – has ever failed one of my classes. In short, they took responsibility for their actions.

    I’ve had the privilege of coaching TCU’s National Student Advertising Competition teams to two consecutive national championship rankings. This year’s team will do something no other team in NSAC history has done and that is to go for a third consecutive run at the championship. I say that because they are leaders; they are already looking deep into the mirror every morning.

    I agree with Justin LaPoten saying, “Someone dropped the ball, and there was negligence, and I paid the price for it.” However, my suggestion is look in the mirror . the $450 price you paid in campaign expenses will be inconsequential provided you have learned to accept responsibility for your actions. If you have, the next time you will pay a different price by setting the example for others to follow.

    Mike Wood is a TCU advertising professional-in-residence from Fort Worth.

    The Skiff dropped the ball in SGA election coverage

    I am appalled by the mistake made in Tuesday’s paper by the Daily Skiff. In failing to add Matt Williams and Ryan Hoff for the vice president and treasurer candidates, respectively, on the front page in Tuesday’s paper, it undermined the election process at TCU.

    This mistake could have been prevented with one close look at pages four and one. It wasn’t just one person, but two, that were missing and a calculation of the total number of candidates could have prevented this. Having worked at the Skiff for two semesters, I have only the greatest sentiments for this paper and acknowledge that I too have made countless mistakes, but this is a mistake that cannot be remedied by a simple correction on the front page the day after voting had been finalized. Tuesday’s paper was in color, and each of the candidates’ pictures were larger than the average mug size the Skiff uses. The remedy came too late. Although the two candidates left off of the front page were included on page four of the newspaper, it still does not help the fact that a major portion of their publicity was taken away.

    There have been recent compliments from the student body on the redesign of the paper and the improvement of the story quality, but with a mistake like this the sentiments of distrust and dislike for the Skiff can return. Those who have reported for the Skiff know how hard it can be to get sources to talk because of previous reputation the newspaper has built. This mistake could potentially hurt the Skiff’s future relationship with SGA or other members in the TCU community.

    The goal of the special section in Tuesday’s paper was to give publicity to all the candidates. It is the Skiff’s view that during student body election, the staff is to remain neutral. Even though the mistake wasn’t intentional, excluding the two candidates hurt the neutrality the Skiff staff tries to uphold. This mistake undermined the two candidates and not only did it give the other candidates in the vice president and treasurer position a better advantage, it made the Skiff look like it was playing favorites.

    While no one can determine whether the addition of the candidates’ picture could have helped bring more votes, it hurt the voting process. The purpose of this letter is not to disgruntle the loss of either candidate but to bring to light the underlying issue of the matter. The losing candidate could potentially blame the Skiff for losing the election because of unequal publicity. Students who work at the Skiff work hard and, they do so in obligation to bring unbiased and factual news to the TCU community. I respect the hours and time the staff puts into producing this paper, but this mistake should not be taken lightly and forgotten because of a correction box in the front page. Two fellow students were undermined in the election because of a mistake the Skiff made and it was extremely unfair to them.

    Ana Bak is a senior news-editorial journalism and political science major from Quito, Ecuador.