Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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Whose government is it?

I would like to take a brief moment to address the University of Iowa students by addressing the comments made by President Katherine Valde and Vice President Jack Cumming regarding their feelings about having a one-party election.

The second ticket, the A-list, focused on Academic, Affordability, and Accessibility, three important characteristics of student life and was led by me, UISG speaker of the Senate, and Joelle Brown, governmental-relations liaison.  Accessibility included a Wingman application that students would download and be able to call Nite Ride or SafeRide, access to basic rental agreements in different languages, and supplemental funding that to encourage organizations to collaborate with each other.

We began working on the plans for a University of Iowa Veteran’s Memorial. Due to Joelle’s experience in governmental relations, we made the commitment to discuss how to keep tuition affordable for out-of-state students as well as continue to lobby for the in-state tuition freeze. We highlighted ways to better academics at the university by having a mobile application to reserve rooms in the Learning Commons and wanted to offer students one semester hour for students that volunteered over five hours a week. We wanted to put University of Iowa on the A-list.

Every ticket has its own challenges: For example, though our experience and commitment in UISG was unrivaled by the other executive ticket, I had prior discretions from sophomore year, and we weren’t part of fraternity or sorority life. But I believed that the only thing that truly mattered was the work that you put in UISG over the years, so I continued to put more work into my role as speaker and as a presidential candidate. I met with volunteers from RVAP and WRAC to discuss sexual assaults. Joelle and I met with the administration to discuss the gap between international and domestic students. However, our ideas were never shared. The truth to UISG elections: It’s never about the ideas or the work that you’ve done for the organization. It’s about the people who claim you as their friend. The people you spend your weekends with, but you need an invitation.

The A-list pulled out of the election in December. At the end of the day, winning an election meant nothing if we couldn’t elect the people we wanted. We didn’t want vote getters; we wanted hard workers. So to the critics of the one-party election, perhaps the disappointment shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of those who didn’t have the resources or fair chance to run a competitive campaign, but to those who didn’t take the opportunity to create a Senate that represented all students or a platform that pushed the campus somewhere new.

Saranya Subramanian

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