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UI Student Government mum on 21-ordinance

BY MICHELLE HILLENBRAND | APRIL 01, 2010 7:30 AM

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Sally Mason, Tom Rocklin, and Kirk Ferentz have all stood behind it.

But the University of Iowa Student Government is remaining silent about the 21-ordinance.

“Student government represents all students,” said Vice President J.D. Moran. “I know a lot of students who are against the 21-ordinance, but I also know a few students who support it. It’s a touchy subject to get behind because we may be alienating some students.”

The timing of the ordinance could also prove problematic for current leaders, because they will only stay in office another two weeks. The next administration may hold a different view.

Moran expressed concern that a change of opinion could lower respect for UISG as a whole.

Iowa City City Councilor Connie Champion, who favors the ordinance, said a formal opinion from UISG likely wouldn’t make much difference in how the council votes.

Despite UISG’s lack of a formal opinion, student-government members have made their voices clear to City Council.

UISG’s City Council liaison Jeff Shipley opposes the ordinance. He said he pushed councilors to time the readings of the ordinance so that a referendum would appear on the 2010 ballot, rather than in November 2011.

“By the time it would have been voted on in 2011, the new status quo would be 21-only bars, so students would be less motivated to vote,” he said. “It’s more fair to the community to put it on this year’s ballot.”



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Though UISG as a whole will not formally vote on this issue, a number of senators and executive members said they oppose the ordinance, including “Golden Ticket” presidential candidate John Rigby and vice-presidential candidate Erica Hayes, both of whom are 21.

While their campaign platform does not say anything specifically about the 21-ordinance, the two plan to encourage students to vote in the November election by using T-shirts, posters, and satellite polls, Hayes said. Both noted they hope to mobilize students to vote for other political reasons, and not just for the 21-ordinance.

In fact, their idea to create a “get out the vote” campaign was inspired long before the 21-ordinance discussion, Rigby said, and is an integral part of their campaign goals.

Barrett Anderson, who was UISG president during the 21-ordinance vote in 2007, campaigned on a platform that opposed the ordinance.

According to his platform, “Such an ordinance would be counterproductive because students would simply drink at house parties and other venues and increase safety risks.”

Other UI groups, including the Faculty Council and Faculty Senate, have endorsed the ordinance this year.

While UISG is keeping mum for now, Rigby said he doesn’t want to rule anything out. Based on student response, UISG could take a formal position closer to the time of the likely referendum in November.

“We are still learning about the potential ramifications,” he said. “We are going to let the situation play out.”


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