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Endorsement: Vote for HOUSE Party in upcoming student election

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | APRIL 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa Student Government election will begin today at 12:01 a.m. via ISIS, and it will end at 5 p.m. Thursday. Undergrad students will either elect Aaron Horsfield of the Together Our Government Achieves (TOGA) Party or Katherine Valde of the Helping Our Students and University Engage (HOUSE) Party, along with their running mates.

As we concluded last week, the UISG presidential debate between Valde and Horsfield showed that HOUSE is the superior option, and, after the vice presidential debate Monday, our opinion remains as such.

The Daily Iowan Editorial Board believes the HOUSE Party has a clearer vision for the future of the University of Iowa, more promising and useful initiatives, and is better equipped to run UISG.

Both parties addressed tuition, a vital issue for all UI students. TOGA proposed having students participate in an essay contest in which the winners would receive a prize and their papers would be sent to state legislators.

HOUSE suggested continuing to lobby the Statehouse as a way to maintain the tuition freeze. Valde has spent the past three years promoting affordable tuition, including lobbying Iowa legislators. It is much easier for legislators to ignore an essay than it is to ignore a physical person, and given Valde’s experience in this area, HOUSE would be more likely to influence Iowa lawmakers.

Regarding student safety, TOGA wants to expand the number of free rides UI students can receive through SafeRide per semester, whereas HOUSE doesn’t want to change it.

Expanding SafeRide is unnecessary, because the program is underused, with only around 110 reported uses this academic year. SafeRide is a valuable program, but we don’t need to pour any more resources into it at this time.

Both parties also want to start bike programs. The TOGA party wants to start a bike-library program in which students could pay a small fee to rent bikes for a semester or full academic year. However, an almost identical program already exists in Iowa City. HOUSE’s proposal is to lend students free bikes from the IMU for up to 24 hours. It is a much more reasonable, effective alternative.

HOUSE also wants to alter the Interdorm Cambus route so that it will stop by the UI’s cultural centers on the west campus. Valde said this would increase accessibility and visibility to these cultural centers and address concerns about students walking up icy hills in the winter. The altered route would require Interdorm to skip Slater; however, we feel that the stop at Rienow, right across the street, eliminates any need to stop at Slater.

HOUSE has also proposed starting a program that Valde said would play announcements about events at the UI over the Cambus speakers at 30-minute intervals. We feel this is an excellent way to get students involved in various events at the UI. With fliers and bulletin boards, students have to actively approach them and sift through several papers and outdated events, but these announcements would make it much easier for students to learn about events in Iowa City.

A master calendar app, which HOUSE has also proposed, nicely complements the Cambus-announcements initiative. The app would include events around Iowa City and those put on by student organizations. While the UI has a master calendar online, it can be difficult to access, especially with mobile devices. HOUSE’s proposal would be more slick and convenient than the current system.

TOGA has some valuable programs that we wholeheartedly support, such as Iowa Cares, which promotes healthy lifestyles and campus facilities for health care and mental health care. TOGA also wants to start student leadership summits and create a resource room in the IMU for student organizations.

Ultimately, however, we feel HOUSE has more to offer UI students.


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