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UISG to focus on student safety, landlords

BY KRISTEN EAST | AUGUST 22, 2011 7:20 AM

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After a summer of extensive planning, University of Iowa Student Government President Elliot Higgins and Vice President Brittany Caplin said student safety is top priority this semester.

With an overall budget of $114,700, Higgins and Caplin intend to pursue campaign promises, establishing a safety fair and a tenant-information website and expanding the U-bill program.

“What we are really concentrating on doing is making promises and focusing on things that are realistic and attainable,” Higgins said.

With safety being the biggest priority this fall, UISG will hold its first safety fair in October. Caplin said a large portion of allotted funds for safety will be dedicated to developing additional student transportation.

Though no specific plans are in place, she said, UISG officials are looking into an additional transportation option to Nite Ride or Cambus that will most likely be launched in late October.

UISG is seeking more partnership opportunities to support its safety campaign. The Rape Victim Advocacy Program, Red Watch Band, and the Women’s Resource and Action Center, to name a few, are known supporters.

RVAP has collaborated with UISG in the past, with both organizations aiming to improve student safety.

“Anytime you can provide safe transportation for women at night, you’ve got one more option to keep them safe,” RVAP Executive Director Karla Miller said. “If something happens to a student, it affects her or his ability to do well at Iowa.”

Alterations to the U-bill program are also being considered. In the spring, UISG explored broadening U-bill access for both on- and off-campus charges, such as local restaurants and parking ramps. The issue was sent to university officials, where it is being considered.

In response to the UI’s investigation of switching the U-bill system from credit to debit, UISG will organize student focus groups to seek input. From there, suggestions for improving or changing the U-bill program will be proposed to university officials.

The creation of a UISG-sponsored website allowing students who live off-campus to rate their landlords is another project Higgins said UISG would like to create. The website would give students the opportunity to have unbiased property searches. UISG will begin working on the website in September.

With initiatives being taken for everything on its platform, UISG wants to ensure students its goals are realistic.

“In terms of [being] realistic, these things are already happening,” Caplin said. “These are things that are at least going to be started by the time our administration is in office.”


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