UISG hopefuls lay out plans

BY DANIEL SEIDL | APRIL 04, 2014 5:00 AM

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In an unopposed race, University of Iowa Student Government candidates are focusing on sexual assault and affordable education.

“A big goal of ours is to have a platform that’s feasible,” future UISG president candidate Patrick Bartoski said. “It’s not going to say anything at the end of the day if it’s not done.”

Bartoski, a junior and three-year veteran of UISG, is running on the ticket of the OPEN (organize, plan, establish, nurture) Party, as is vice-presidential candidate Jeffrey Ding. Ding is a sophomore at the UI and has been in UISG for two years.

The two participated in an executive forum Thursday evening to prepare for the UISG elections next week. Normally, there would be a debate between candidates, though this year there is only one party running.

The party’s platform consists of five major items: safety, sustainability, affordability, diversity, and advocacy. Bartoski said safety is the most important objective for him, especially concerning the recent sexual assaults at the UI.

“The OPEN Party definitely views student safety as the No. 1 priority,” he said.

Some of the solutions to the issue of sexual assault listed in the party’s platform include mandating expulsion for perpetrators of violent rape, and in cases of repeated sexual assault.

In developing these specific parts of the platform, Ding said it was important to clearly define what is worthy of expulsion.

“When you talk about sexual assault and rape, it’s important to study what each of these terms means,” he said. “The reason the term ‘violent rape’ was chosen is because rape is defined [as] when there is any act of sex that happens without consent. We chose to use the word ‘violent rape’ because it would be difficult to say to a student standing in front of you [that they were expelled for having sex with someone under the influence of alcohol].”

One of the other priorities of the platform is affordability, and Bartoski said the tuition freeze has been a good solution to this issue currently.

“As a college student, whether you’re from in-state or out-of-state, affordability is great,” he said. “The tuition freeze is incredible.”

However, he said, the freeze is by no means a permanent solution, and the student government will do what it can to advocate for lower cost at the state level.

“There’s the larger problem, which is: how do we keep college tuition low when there is no longer a freeze?” he said. “We’re going to try to be in Des Moines as frequently as possible to lobby for affordability.”

One UI student who attended the forum agreed with the candidates’ focus on affordable tuition.

“As far as the freeze goes, I think they’re right on with that,” said UI junior Mike Delawder.

Ding said current President Katherine Valde and Vice President Jack Cumming have led the UISG well, and they will continue to build on their success.

“The work that they’ve done is something that can be continued on in the future,” he said.

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