BUS forum highlights candidates

Amadeus Smith

Before Black United Students’ first open election forum last night, just four chairs sat atop the stage in Mbari Mbayo Lecture Hall, empty and evenly spaced. With five BUS board positions to be elected, the chairs seemed to foreshadow the minimal number of candidates running.

“That’s a damn shame,” Kent State NAACP President Shanelle Smith said as three of the four candidates climbed to their chairs.

Despite low numbers, no other students can run for elected positions now that the current candidates have been set.

The candidates, who are all running unopposed, agreed that the main concern for future board members is the lack of participation in the group.

D’Onna Stubblefield, candidate for BUS secretary, said the group must recruit from other groups. Group members should reach out to other groups and support them in their fights. By doing this, she explained, those groups will want to support BUS in return.

Other candidates agreed that different methods of recruitment would be the answer.

Prince Pempton, candidate for vice president, said showing community members the history behind BUS will inspire them to join and take an active role.

Ashley Tolliver, candidate for programmer, said the organization should use gimmicks to grab people and then weave them into the group, explaining its goals in the process.

However, Sasha Parker, current president of BUS, said increasing involvement may require more drastic steps.

“It scares me, but in order to get people involved, it will probably take the black community to lose BUS,” said Parker, who is running for president again.

Parker said that students not taking an active role in BUS has been a problem for a while.

“Right now we have a ten-person board with only three people,” she said. “It’s difficult when you have an organization that is supposed to be such a powerful force being run by three people.”

The fallout, she explained, usually comes after BUS’s Renaissance Ball & Pageant, which takes place in the fall.

Aware of the problem that already plagues the group, Smith asked the candidates if they were ready to do some work, and said “we’re pitbulls, but we’re pitbulls in a skirt.”

Smith, who also serves as political affairs chair for BUS, also said black students need a wake-up call because the group deals with important issues like the hiring of the new provost and the USS Allocations Committee permanent seat removal.

“These are things that affect the students and they don’t realize how much it does,” Smith said. “The problem is that this is the first generation of African-Americans who believe they don’t have to fight.”

BUS elections

March 19

Oscar Ritchie Hall

9 a.m to noon

Student Center

1 to 4 p.m.

March 20

Student Center

9 a.m to noon

Oscar Ritchie Hall

1 to 3 p.m.

Contact minority affairs reporter Amadeus Smith at [email protected].