Black Student Union holds candidate endorsement hearing

Posted on Feb 28 2017 - 11:24pm by Slade Rand

Members of the Black Student Union Tuesday night asked candidates running for ASB senate and officer positions one question: How will you represent African-American and other minority members of the student body? 

“I appreciate everyone who came tonight,” BSU President Terrius Harris said. “It’s really important that you take the campus population that we represent into consideration when you’re running your campaign.”

Harris moderated the event until stepping down for presidential candidate Emily Hoffman’s speech and open question session. BSU Vice President Chad Knight took to the lectern in lieu of Harris, who currently serves as Hoffman’s campaign manager. Twenty BSU members heard the candidates speak.

The BSU circulated a flier for Tuesday’s general meeting via its social media accounts and asked members to share it in the hopes that all candidates would be aware of the meeting. Sixteen candidates responded and were included, but two candidates emailed the BSU back past the deadline and weren’t allowed to speak at the meeting.

Seven candidates for Senate seats spoke to BSU members at the meeting, along with a group of candidates running for executive officer positions. William Nowell and Bryant Carlton sought endorsements in their judicial chair campaigns, and Jennie Jesuit spoke on behalf of her campaign for treasurer. Attorney general candidates Dillon Pitts and Levi Bevis addressed the BSU, as well. Elam Miller, Matt Gladden and Alison Hanby were the only vice presidential candidates to speak Tuesday, and Emily Hoffman was the only candidate for president to speak. Presidential candidate Austin Spindler attended the meeting but did not speak due to time limitations. No candidates for secretary attended the general meeting.

Candidates were allotted one minute to introduce themselves and their platforms, and then were required to answer a series of questions from both the BSU executive board and BSU members in the audience. The BSU asked candidates a series of questions exploring why each candidate is running for each position, how each candidate plans to connect with black students and how comfortable he or she is dealing with issues of diversity or foreign communities on campus.  

After hearing the speeches and question responses from all 16 candidates who spoke Tuesday, the BSU met in private to select whom it will endorse.

Harris said he and other BSU members noticed that it was many of the candidates’ first visit to a BSU event. He said students who come to the BSU only one time cannot really represent the student body.

“Each individual is here and can see the deception or the true intentions of some,” Harris said.  “Each person here has the ability to have their own individual opinions.”

Freshman BSU member Logane Brazile said Tuesday’s meeting gave her a better idea of what happens in student government.

“We get to see how we can better the campus as African-Americans,” Brazile said. “It can give a better idea of what they are trying to change on the Senate.”

Kamron Daniels, another freshman member of the BSU, agreed. He said he does not know much about what the ASB does and feels other black students might agree.

Davis noted that there is only a handful of African-Americans on ASB Senate.

“I think we’re underrepresented, but I think they’re doing a good job,” Davis said.

The BSU chose to endorse Emily Hoffman for president, Elam Miller for vice president, Jennie Jesuit for treasurer and Levi Bevis for attorney general. Their Senate endorsements are on behalf of Chris Cross, Nekkita Beans, Zacchaeus McEwen, Autumn Lewis, Katie Davis and Chelsea Boone.