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UISG talks election reform

BY NOELLE ALKHAWAJA | JANUARY 28, 2015 5:00 AM

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Election reform was a particularly prevalent topic at the first Univeirsty of Iowa Student Government meeting of the semester.

“We 100 percent need election reform,” said UISG President Patrick Bartoski during the meeting. “We’ve had this system since the split [of UISG and the graduate student government]. It’s arguable if it has been effective, but it’s definitely not fair.”

Bartoski stressed the importance for UISG to hit the ground running with reform in order to make student government more effective as quickly as possible.

“We can create the best system possible, but it’s not going to be the best system possible without all of your input,” he said. “It’s never going to get changed unless we all collectively as a group get it done.”

After the meeting, UISG members gave more perspective to The Daily Iowan on the matter of reform regarding misrepresentation of the entire UI student body.

Currently, the system features presidential and vice presidential candidates who then select 39 students from undergraduate students to run with them on a ticket, senator Elizabeth Baer said.

“It is not reflective of the student body in the respects of majors, what your studying socioeconomic background, class, and diversity,” she said.

Other members went on to say how they would like to reform the election system to ensure a student government reflective of all colleges at the UI.

“What we’re wanting to see is more of an election process of ‘If I want to run for student government, I’m going to run on my own merit,’ ” Baer said.

The reform could potentially allow different UI colleges to get a proportional number of seats in UISG, she said.

A reform issue of public funding was brought forth at the meeting. Some UISG members would like to see public funding for campaigns; however, not everyone agreed.

“I get the argument as to why people want some public funding but I think ultimately it’s not feasible considering the local climate,” UISG Senator Oliver Hidalgo-Wohlleben said. “A lot of people who are in the student body just wouldn’t be in support of that.”

Despite differing opinions on public funding, representation reform continued to receive majority support.

“I’m definitely in favor of a couple of reforms,” Hidalgo-Wohlleben said. “Like election by colleges, because I think it would be a more accurate representation of the student body instead of just 50 people who got together on a ticket.”

Bartoski said he hopes to reform these elections in the next four weeks or so, so they can give everyone in the university a fair chance to become a member.

He said the plan is to have changes implemented for upcoming elections.  

“What I’m proposing is only students in your college would elect you into student government… you would have a more direct representation of your constituents,” Bartoski said.


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