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UISG vice presidential candidates spar on tuition and voter turnout

BY ANNA THEODOSIS | APRIL 03, 2012 6:30 AM

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Though both University of Iowa Student Government vice-presidential candidates agreed safety should be addressed both on and off campus, they differed on how university students should best advocate for state appropriations at their debate Monday night.

# (Hashtag) Party candidate Nick Rolston said all university students should advocate for state appropriations.

 

"Tonight, we're missing a lot of the executive board because they're at the Universities for a Better Iowa event," Rolston said. "Too many Iowans take our universities for granted. We've had great efforts, and I'm really confident that bringing students and educating the legislators is absolutely the most important thing to do."

I Party candidate Jessie Tobin said it is UISG's job to best inform legislators by representing students.

"You can't just go and ask for money," she said. "There's two steps that UISG can take and the first one is lobbying. We realize that lowering tuition takes a lot of time, so at the same time, we're going to ease the financial stress [on campus]."

Tobin noted the party's proposal for an I-clicker rental system as another way to ease the financial burden on students. She said the initiative could possibly save students $40 to $50 per clicker.

Both candidates echoed their presidential counterparts on the issue of student safety from last week's UISG presidential debate. Tobin said the Safe Ride program, which would offer any UI student, on or off campus, a free ride home at night. Though both parties agreed student safety was essential, the parties differed in how to approach expanding the current safety programs.

"This service is going to take people to their doorstep," Tobin said. "This will work because it takes you home; you're not walking around at night. It's about student safety."

Rolston said reinstating the East Side Cambus route would provide another transportation option for students.

"It's not something that's going to be a massive change," he said. "The Safe Ride program is running regardless. This is an addition to the Nite Ride program and the Safe Ride program. At the end of the day, students need options."

On the issue of voter turnout, candidates were at odds over how to better engage UI students.

"It would be absurd to say we haven't been using social media," Rolston said. "We use T-shirts as well, we've been visiting greek chapter houses, going to our student organizations. We don't want to harass people; we want to reach out to them."

Rolston later told The Daily Iowan the engage scholarships were another way to reach out to students. The only criteria for the $1,000 awards include being a current UI student not involved in UISG. Students must submit an application and essay describing how they're involved on campus. Students don't have to be involved in a student organization as long as they can effectively demonstrate how they're involved on campus.

Tobin said the I Party would focus on being more connected with students' everyday life.

"We know social media are great, but they don't go far enough," she said. "We're going to go further than that. We don't want to improve the experience for one night; we want to improve the everyday life."

UI freshman Matt Jordan said he favors that approach.

"I like what they're doing," he said. "I like how they are incorporating academics on campus and off."

Voting will take place Wednesday and Thursday on ISIS.


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