Chairs were arranged in a circle in the first floor of the Black House in preparation of the For Members Only (FMO) Executive Board debates.The smell of chicken, cornbread and mac & cheese, which was provided by the Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA), fragranced the room.
FMO, a black student alliance on campus, has been facing a recent decline in the level of impact it has on campus. Regardless, the debates that ensued and the commentary made on each candidate was tough and thorough.
Like any time debates before voting take place, people attend to learn more about the candidates and ask their questions.
Nneka Onyeka, a Northwestern sophomore, was excited to hear the different candidates speak. “I want to know what they are about and where all the candidates stand” said Onyeka.
A great deal of her inclination to hear the candidates might also be due to the changes FMO has been going through this past quarter.
“FMO was different last year. I felt like there was more of a presence last year” said the Sophomore, a sentiment which was then repeated throughout the night.
Cari Chambers, a Northwestern Junior currently serving as the coordinator and vice coordinator of programming, began the proceedings.
Marnee Irby, currently secretary, began the series of speeches that would ensue. Everyone’s speech was well versed and practiced, and subject to discussion by the group at large.
The debate worked like this: each candidate would stand and say why they should be elected into the proposed position. After, students had the chance to ask any questions. Then a motion to caucus occurred and someone one would second that motion. This motion allowed the students to talk freely about the candidate as said candidate had stepped out in the hall.
The For Members Only group finds itself in an interesting conundrum.
Between condemnations of those with FMO exec board experience for not having a spotless record, to condemning others for not having any experience on FMO’s exec board to begin with, prospective voters were given a lot of material to think upon.
And three of the people running for positions were unable to make it to the debate because of prior arrangements and classes.
Tensions rose throughout the meeting, as members of the community began seeking answers from the current exec board on the weakening of FMO’s influence on campus and the boards other shortcomings this year.
Recently, a petition on Change.org, entitled “Election Committee: Demand Changes to FMO Elections”, has been making its rounds on Facebook. The petition was a last ditch effort to extend the voting date to allow for three basic requirements: FMO membership registration available up to the voting date, requiring that candidates make hard copies of their platform available to voters two weeks before voting takes place, and increased transparency from the FMO executive board to the FMO Election Committee.
The petition garnered signatures quickly, and thus elections have since been postponed indefinitely.
Stay tuned to BlackBoard for more FMO election coverage.