To the surprise of other candidates and onlookers, uninvited FRAT Party presidential candidate Galaxor Nebulon unexpectedly took the stage last night at the televised Michigan Student Assembly presidential debate.
“We called ourselves the Friends Rebelling Against Tyranny Party as a joke,” said Nebulon, also know as LSA senior Ryan Hughes. “We didn”t think we would actually have to do that. The moderators of this debate saw fit to disclude me from this debate and make my voice not be heard.”
Nebulon was not invited to the debate because last year the FRAT party received less than 5 percent of the student vote, said WOLV-TV General Manager Mike Salmonowicz.
“They participated in the debate last year, and students were not interested in what they had to say,” said Salmonowicz, an LSA senior.
Nebulon, who said he was unaware that he was not invited, took a seat on the stage next to the other five presidential candidates and agreed to observe without a microphone.
“He protested because the debate was held in a public place,” said Salmonowicz. “But it is our show and we do make the rules,” he added.
This year marked the first time the debate was open to the public, and the fifth year WOLV has televised the debate. Few students, aside from party members and participants, attended the event.
Nebulon spoke twice before leaving the stage first to introduce himself after the other candidates made their opening statements, then to attempt to inform the public about his situation after candidates finished answering the first question.
“Democracy is something I take seriously,” Nebulon said. “For democracy to work, people have to be informed. This is a case of democracy being in danger. This goes beyond my party and threatens every political party in the election.”
Nebulon”s speech was not recorded on audio and the cameras were focused on LSA senior Tom Aronson, the moderator for the debate when Nebulon was talking. The audio was brought down any time a candidate went over their time limit, which ranged from two to three minutes.
“He never had a mike in the first place, but it”s a public forum and we”re not going to physically remove someone,” Salmonowicz said. “We knew Tom could handle any situation that would arise.”
“I was fine with giving him a couple of minutes,” Aronson said.
Presidential candidates spoke first about their platforms and visions for MSA. Vice-presidential candidates spoke next, followed by closing statements from the presidential candidates.
Audience members were invited to ask questions of both presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
Though candidates as well as audience members engaged in personal character attacks, most participants felt the debate went well.
“I thought the debate clearly presented each party,” said Blue Party presidential candidate Matt Nolan.
“It was a healthy debate,” said University Democratic Party presidential candidate Michael Simon. “But the attacks were invalid.”
The debate will air 10 times over the next week Sunday at 6 and 10 p.m. and Monday through Thursday at 5 and 10:30 p.m. on channels 70 on campus and 22 off campus.
“We”re glad to play some part in helping students become educated about MSA,” said Salmonowicz.