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Tuition, drinking head UISG candidates’ debate

BY MICHELE DANNO | APRIL 03, 2009 7:37 AM

With vibrant T-shirts, banners, spirit towels, and energetic chants, the first of three debates among UI Student Government candidates seemed like a pep rally.

But the three presidential hopefuls — Mike Currie, Emily Grieves, and Ryan Kopf — remained serious Thursday night while presenting their parties’ platforms, which they say are feasible.

To begin the Daily Iowan- and Daily Iowan TV-sponsored debate, the candidates presented the issues from their platforms they felt were the most important.

“We’re all about making UISG all about you,” said Grieves, Your Party’s presidential nominee. “We want to give students a voice.”

Go Party’s Currie and Kopf, of the L Party, both said keeping tuition reasonable was their parties’ main issue.

Kopf said he hopes to work with lobbyists from other state regent universities to push for freezing tuition over the next four years — or to at least persuade state legislators to keep tuition hikes reasonable.

Currie said he aims to lock in tuition, ensuring the rate students pay as a freshman is the same for four years. This will “make the college decision easier for students and their families,” he said.

But Grieves has other plans.

“Freezing tuition is a good idea in theory,” she said, but she plans to talk with state legislators about other ways to keep tuition from rising, promising to make sure student voices are heard at the state level.

Binge drinking on campus took the spotlight on Thursday, too. All the candidates agreed the UI should offer more alternative activities for students on the weekends and said consumption needs to be handled safely.

“I think the most important issue here is alcohol safety,” Kopf said. “We plan on getting more late-night bus routes, more blue emergency lights, and better lighting in the dark areas of campus.”

Currie agreed safety is a major component of the drinking issue but noted the Go Party would not be opposed to allowing some areas of campus to sell alcohol.

“I’m not opposed to a wet Kinnick, wet IMU, or wet fraternities or sororities,” Currie said, and he thinks problems with underage drinking could be avoided if students learned how to drink responsibly. “There is such a taboo on underage drinking that a lot of underage kids don’t know how to drink.”

Grieves said Your Party hopefuls want to “open up conversation” with university administration on fixing binge drinking in a progressive way; she said she feels UI officials’ efforts so far have not helped the issue.

The second UISG debates will be held among senatorial candidates from each party on April 6 at 6 p.m. in W151 Pappajohn Business Building. The final UISG debate is set for April 8 at 6 p.m. in the IMU second-floor ballroom.


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