Letter to the editor: SA President Leslie Veloz responds to Spectrum coverage

This letter appears in the same condition as Veloz sent it to The Spectrum.

Dear Editors,

It is widely inappropriate and unethical for a newspaper to print opinions and portray it as truth. Not only has the Spectrum’s writing been biased, but with the latest opinion piece, the Spectrum has chosen to misinform the student body. I’d like to start by setting the record straight on some of the falsehoods that have been printed. 

The Spectrum reported that I, as President, have not “been logging enough office hours” and that is false. I have clocked in over 580 hours since I took office. To put into context, despite my 12 scheduled office hours, I have the most office hours held amongst the executive board this semester. The Spectrum reported that I am supposed to have 17 to 21 scheduled office hours and that is incorrect. There is no required amount of hours that I need to be in the office. The Spectrum printed that I have not been able to be in the office for 12 hours and that is false. There is not a single week since school has started where I have worked anything less than 14 hours. The spectrum reported that my “work performance is suffering” because of my lack of office hours and I do not find that allegation to be true. My timesheets reflect that I work well over 12 hours a week. On average, I work 21 hours a week. The Spectrum reported that my campaign “lacked concrete initiatives” and that is false. My former Vice President and I campaigned on tangible initiatives that we have since accomplished. This includes but is not limited to making homecoming larger, student talent being showcased at the fests, introducing the life hack series, sending student-wide emails, conducting surveys to assess the needs and interests of students and more. The last thing that I think is important to address is that the Spectrum reported that I nominated an unqualified friend for the office of Vice President. Samirra Felix has held over 5 executive board positions for the largest minority club on campus and has been involved with clubs her entire career at UB. She is nothing less than a qualified candidate.

With that being said, what is important to consider, is the work being completed and the efficiency in which SA is operating, not the scheduled office hours anyone may hold. My team and I work tirelessly to make sure that the events, programs, and activities by SA serve the student body. I hope no one is discouraged from running for office because they might not have experience in SA. Everything in life has a learning curve and SA is no exception. It saddens me that the Spectrum believes that the student body is incapable of electing someone fit for the office of President. It takes a lot more than just “popularity” for someone to be elected to this office. I sincerely hope that anyone who has read the Spectrum lately isn't discouraged about the work that I or the Undergraduate Student Association is doing. 

Moreover, as someone who strongly advocated for the need of student papers on campuses, I now have serious concerns on the validity of any article written this year in light of now having been on the receiving end of the alternative facts the Spectrum has chosen to print. Reporters have the duty of informing the student body about things that are truthful. I sincerely hope that all future articles are fact-checked and backed by reliable sources. The school year is not over and SA is constantly looking for constructive feedback on how we can continue to serve the student body and improve. Our offices have always been open and will continue to be. I look forward to continue serving as your student body President.

Sincerely, Leslie

Editor’s note: The Spectrum stands by all of our reporting in the original piece that appeared on the front page on Feb. 22 and our opinions in our editorial on our opinion page on Feb. 26. In the above letter, Veloz conflates our news reporting with the content of the editorial. The Spectrum has verified the information in both pieces with multiple SA sources.