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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | SEPTEMBER 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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Thanks for tuition freeze

I want to thank Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds for working to provide students at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa the first tuition freeze in more than 30 years. As an UI student, I can say their commitment to providing financial relief to Iowa students is commendable and much appreciated.

As college students work their way through school, many are faced with the difficult reality that student loans are needed. This issue has only been furthered by increased student tuition at Iowa’s regent universities. However, Branstad and Reynolds, understanding the need to provide a quality, yet affordable education to Iowa students, pushed for and signed the tuition freeze.

Now, Branstad and Reynolds, along with the state Board of Regents, want to freeze tuition for a second consecutive year, something that hasn’t been done in 40 years. Hawkeyes, Cyclones, and Panthers can all agree that this proposal by Branstad and Reynolds will help allow Iowa students to excel without wondering how we’re going to pay back our student loans or scrape together enough for the next tuition bill.

Thank you, Branstad and Reynolds, for your commitment to providing a quality, affordable education to Iowa’s students.

Cameron Clifford
University of Iowa student

Busking is illegal?

Last Thursday, I went out after sundown to the Ped Mall to play music for a little while, and after playing for less than an hour, a cop approached me and told me I needed to pack up and play somewhere else. I did as he said and moved to a spot that he pointed to, but this spot was much noisier, had less light, and no one could even notice me there, so I just went home.

I couldn’t believe what had just happened, though. I had played guitar downtown so many times and have never had trouble with law enforcement — sometimes, officers would even make requests. And it was clear all of those other times that I had been making money in the meantime. So I had to ask myself, why now?

Apparently the city of Iowa City is intentionally “cracking down” on old ordinances pertaining to downtown and creating new ones due to the rise of a shiny new skyscraper in the heart of downtown. The ordinance related to “panhandling” states that no one, within the “Central Business District” of Iowa City may: “request an immediate donation of money or other thing of value from another person … by the spoken, written, or printed word or by other means of communication.” Examples of illegal activities include holding a sign that requests a cash donation or playing music with a donation bucket. It’s clear that under this ordinance that what I have been doing is illegal in the downtown area of Iowa City, but what bothers me is the vast amount of police discretion when it comes to the law. The law is not new, but police are under new orders to enforce the law, but some police either “didn’t get the memo” or choose to use their discretion as to when someone who is in violation of the law needs to be “shut down.”

I think it’s a shame that street performers are not allowed to thrive as they were just a year ago in downtown Iowa City. Freedom of artistic expression in such a high traffic area has been what has given Iowa City its name as one of the most unique places in Iowa.

Ruth Lapointe


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