When I picked up The Famuan last week, I was happy to see on the front page that the
presidential candidate interviews were scheduled for last week. A feeling of relief came over me because FAMU was finally proceeding with the presidential search. After
looking over some specified interview times, considering which interviews I would attend, I decided that I was going to come up with a list of questions to ask the candidates I continued reading the schedule and was caught off guard by a little note at the bottom of the list stating Interviews are open to the public, however, audience members will not be allowed to ask questions during the interviews.
That meant students would not be able to ask any questions to the potential candidates.
To my disappointment, last week s interviews consisted of questions only from the Board of Trustees. The students who had questions had to wait until interviews were over to ask questions to the candidates. I believe that not being able to ask questions in a public forum to each candidate infringes on the rights of students. I could understand if the trustees allowed students to submit questions and they asked the questions for them. But no student’s input was included in these interviews. Last Friday
I attended one of Tallahassee Community College’ s presidential candidate interviews and left their campus somewhat upset.
As I watched hundreds of students gather in the
gymnasium where they held the interview, I just knew out of the estimated 200 students present (who all stood in line to get the free food provided by Subway) there would be
baskets full of questions. So, I decided to take notes on the students concerns, so I could ask some of the same questions at FAMU s interviews.
Students were given one hour to ask as many questions as they wanted.
However, out of the total students there, only 20 questions were asked. Although some students concerns were addressed by the candidate, I thought more students could have asked more questions. I was getting more heated, because most students were stuffing their face instead of asking questions. Finally, when students started asking questions again, about half of the students there just got up and left after they finished their lunch. Furthermore, they left while the candidate was in the middle of answering questions.
So, I knew when it came time for FAMU’ s interviews,students would swarm candidates with questions. But wasn’t I in for a rude awakening.
Here I was upset because I felt some of TCC s students did not care about the school’ s future because of the lack of interest shown, only to find out at my own school, we were not even given the opportunity to voice our concerns.
At least TCC s Board of Trustees allowed the students to ask questions. Our newly elected president is not only going to serve the faculty and staff of FAMU but most
importantly the students. That is why students should be allowed to have some input in choosing the next president. Students may raise questions that could be helpful to theboard.
Now, I may be jumping the gun since the finalist interviews have not begun. I’ll just wait and see if the Board of Trustees will save student questioning for the
final interviews. But I seriously doubt that.
Wakisha Douglas, 22, is a senior newspaper journalism student from Alexandria, VA.