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UISG tickets campaigning at full speed

BY MICHELE DANNO | APRIL 02, 2009 7:42 AM

L Party
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Neither Ryan Kopf nor running mate Gary Ohrt hold positions in UI Student Government. But the two leaders of the L Party are confident this will help them bring a new voice to the group.

“Most of our members aren’t currently in UISG,” Kopf said. “But we feel we bring a fresh perspective and new ideas, and the leadership to back it up.”

The L Party consists of 12 members, led by presidential candidate Kopf and vice-presidential hopeful Ohrt.

Kopf said his party’s first priority would be to meet with the state Board of Regents to encourage the regents to freeze tuition and allocate more money to the UI. The L Party also wants to make communication more open with students.

“We hope to use cutting-edge technology to make our student government more transparent and accountable and improve participation and communication with students,” Kopf said.

These ideas are laid out in the party’s platform, which consists of 12 broad topics.

Ohrt said the ticket would also focus on the allocation of the student activities fees.

“We want to revamp the way student organizations are funded and formed,” he said. “We want to get rid of the bureaucracy that is involved with UISG and get students the things that they want on their campus.”

Kopf said they plan to go through UISG’s budget “line by line” to improve funding for the programs that work best.

“I am the only candidate who has taken the time to meet with the president of the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students, the Graduate Student Senate, and UISG President [Maison] Bleam,” Kopf said. “Now I have everybody’s perspective on the issue, and it has helped me to understand why the Executive Council desires to split the fees.”

He thinks the split is “a step in the right direction,” he said.

He feels confident in the leadership abilities he exemplifies as executive director of Associated Residence Halls, he said.

“I think I have great experience advocating for students,” he said. “We plan to be the party that actually listens to the student body more than anyone else.”

Ohrt also said he feels qualified to represent the students.

“I think that big changes need to happen, and there are many things I think I could do to help improve this university and make it a better experience for all the students,” he said.

Your Party
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UI Student Government presidential candidate Emily Grieves says it’s all about you.

“Our main thing is that we are running to give students a voice,” said Grieves, who is teaming up with vice-presidential candidate Ali Keenan and 31 senators to represent students next year.

While Keenan doesn’t hold a UISG position, Grieves has served on the UISG executive board as student safety director.

Noting her two years of experience with the student governing board, she said she has the insight into what needs to be addressed in her party’s platforms.

And one of those issues is UI students’ alcohol consumption, which, she said, her party feels very strongly about.

“We feel that right now what the administration is doing to address over consumption is not progressive,” Grieves said. “It is just demonizing alcohol, and it seems more like a prohibitionist mindset.”

Her party wants to open conversation with administrators on the issue, she said.

In another campaign platform, Keenan said the candidates think different media would be a “fantastic way” to address students, and the ticket plans to have representatives do weekly YouTube addresses.

“The things we are really interested in are increasing the visibility, availability, and accountability of all branches of UISG,” Keenan said.

Your Party also wants to bring the UI into the 21st century by putting add/drop slips online, advocating for online student banking, and switching from the current Hawkmail e-mail system to a more accommodating Gmail system, officials said.

The candidates would also like to implement free HIV testing at Student Health.

Ultimately, Grieves said, she would make a good president because she’s held several leadership roles on campus.

“I think the most important qualification is that I care,” she said. “I feel that way about every person in our party.”

And big changes aren’t daunting to Your Party, she said.

“We aren’t afraid of making major changes if something isn’t working,” Grieves said. “We want to open up the conversation, pushing people to open their minds, and not necessarily run away from a large change just because it’s a change.”

Go Party
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Go Party members are focused on what they say are 11 feasible and realistic issues in their run for spots in the UI Student Government. One of the most important: a freeze in the cost of tuition.

“We want to make sure that the tuition you pay as a freshman is what you will pay all four years,” said Mike Currie, the presidential candidate and chairman of the Student Assembly Budgeting and Allocating Committee. “This makes the problem of paying for tuition easier to cope with because it makes the college decision easier, and it makes us a more desirable university for out-of-state students.”

Another issue the team — which also includes vice-presidential candidate JD Moran, current speaker of the Senate — feels strongly about is making all parts of the UI campus available for wireless Internet.

“There are still buildings and areas on campus that do not have wireless,” Currie said.

The two would also like to make UISG more accessible.

“We want to have an open forum in which students are allowed to come and voice their concerns,” Moran said.

The candidates want to bring back the second-grade option, which allows UI students to retake any class regardless of the grade the student received.

“We believe that you should have every opportunity to succeed,” Currie said.

Currie said his and Moran’s six years of experience in student government make them ideal leaders.

“I think that with the experience, leadership, and ideas that JD and I bring to the table, were the best party to have elected,” Currie said.

Although many members of their party are current UISG members, Currie said, the party is still diverse, and it intends to “bring everybody to the table as far as interests are concerned.”

Both Currie and Moran agreed the Go Party has what it takes to run the student government.
“If you want a more convenient, integrated, responsible, transparent student government, go with us, and let’s Go Party,” Currie said.


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