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Focus on tuition and safety a must for candidates

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | APRIL 07, 2009 7:30 AM

Spring is here, and UISG campaigning is upon us. Facebook users are finding their in boxes brimming with group invitations for each of the parties, and across campus, brightly colored T-shirts advertise campaign logos. Even though all this campaigning may seem a little overwhelming at times, students need to become involved and familiarize themselves with the issues.

There are several key issues we feel any party should place its primary focus on should it be worthy of an endorsement.

The first of these issues is student safety. Recently, fights have been breaking out on the Pedestrian Mall. Numerous students over the past few months have been attacked, and some have been seriously injured while returning to their dorm rooms and apartments after a night out with friends.

While the escalating violence downtown is not yet out of hand, we believe this is an issue that needs serious consideration. The elected party, whichever party this happens to be, should concentrate on making the UI campus safer for students. One of the ways that UISG can help is by pressing university officials to get all of the blue emergency-telephone boxes back in working order. In the wake of last June’s flood, many of these emergency phones were damaged. Even though several of them have been repaired, there are still a few across campus — the one near Van Allen Hall, for example — that are either not working or that have broken down since being fixed and need to be repaired again.

These emergency stations are critical for student safety. Because police are not always in an area where they may be needed, these boxes are the easiest way to summon help. The Iowa City police have considered adding security cameras to the Ped Mall to curb some of the fights. However, before we brainstorm new ideas for improving security, it would seem most appropriate to focus on repairing and improving the equipment we already have.

The Go and L Parties have put tuition freezes at the foundation of their campaigns. We applaud those positions and think controlling tuition is an issue that students should demand the tickets address. Tuition freezes have been successful at a handful of colleges in other parts of the country, why not at the UI? In these harsh economic times, many families are struggling to meet current tuition rates. The tuition hikes that have become Hawkeye tradition will undoubtedly place additional strain on those struggling families. According to figures from Radio Iowa, UI students will end up paying $6,824 in tuition and fees next year, making tuition at the UI higher than at the other two state universities.

Collaboration among Iowa’s other public universities is an absolute necessity if a tuition freeze is to become a reality. In addition to the lobbying power the three regent universities have, interaction with student governments at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa would be a great opportunity for our elected officials to collaborate with those from around the state. If we have these resources available to us, why not use them? Any idea that would make college more affordable for students and their families should certainly be implemented.

This week marks the final week of campaigning before students will vote for new leaders. While the slew of Facebook messages and flashy T-shirts will undoubtedly come to a halt soon, the choices we make in next week’s election will linger with us for a year. Students should familiarize themselves with the issues and get involved in the election.


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