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UISG tailgate a success, but monthly forum not yet realized

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | NOVEMBER 16, 2009 7:22 AM

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Over the weekend, the UI Student Government served beer at an event for the first time ever.

And it was in the IMU.

It comes at the same time UI officials are working hard to curb students’ drinking habits. That’s why we were pleasantly surprised when many of them supported the “wet” tailgate cohosted by UISG.

While alcohol should not be — and isn’t — the only motivation for attending student-government events, it did attract a larger crowd than usual and was a good move by UISG officials. And UISG’s intent — to prove that students can drink responsibly — is laudable.

“I’m very impressed with the many safeguards that these students have planned for this event,” said Tom Rocklin, the interim UI vice president for Student Services and a member of the Alcohol Steering Committee in a UISG news release. “I expect that those who choose to drink beer while they watch the game at the IMU will do so in a safe, legal, and responsible way.”

Attendees were allowed two drinks each, so people who went weren’t going just to get drunk. In fact, the bartender only served 28 beers the whole game. Solid advertising helped draw the crowd to the IMU River Room, and IMU-catered food also helped the turnout.

“I came today for the mozzarella sticks, honestly,” UI junior Eric Jesteadt told The Daily Iowan.

A wide variety of members from the UI community attended the event. Students, faculty, staff, and even some families came to watch the Hawkeyes lose in overtime to Ohio State.

The Nov. 14 festivities were a good way for student government to get back on our side, in a sense, after making such decisions as supporting the tuition hike and surcharge that aggravated a large number of students. We hope UISG will continue to host events in which the members can interact with students face-to-face.

One event, however, has been notably lacking from UISG’s term thus far.

On the “Platform” page on its website, UISG says it will hold “monthly forums for students to question the university president and vice presidents as well as the student president and vice president on any issues that are important to them.”

Adjacent to each platform initiative, the website includes graphics showing each plank’s progress. Next to the monthly forum promise, the bar indicates that hosting the forum is almost complete, reading “Deciding Dates and Location.”

But it doesn’t seem like much progress is being made. Thanksgiving break is next week, and students still haven’t been able to voice their concerns at the ostensibly “monthly” forum.

The forums could be a major asset to UISG and could give concerned students a more direct voice.

By having the ability to question top representatives in person, students may start to feel our government is a more legitimate representation of our interests. If the forums had been implemented earlier, UISG President Michael Currie and other members would have been able to hear students’ feelings on the proposed tuition hike and may have represented students interests better.

At the same time, we urge UISG to continue hosting events similar to the Nov. 14 football-game party. Informal gatherings are a good place for students to interact with their representatives without the anonymity of online comments or the tension of a formal meeting. We commend UISG for holding an event that highlighted that students are capable of engaging in safe, controlled drinking.

But in order to uphold its campaign promise and further student-representative discourse, UISG’s vaunted monthly forums need to come to fruition.


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