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UISG debate heats up

BY NOELLE ALKHAWAJA | APRIL 01, 2015 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa Student Government presidential-candidate debate started off calm on Tuesday in the IMU, but shortly after opening statements, things got heated.

The debate questions ranged from affordability to sustainability, including questions on diversity, campus safety, and UI student organizations.

On the topic of affordability, BEACH Party candidate Sam Wampler discussed a new initiative called the “Cut Your Cost” campaign, as well as other affordability strategies.

“We want to make sure that all students are cognizant of the money they’re spending and ways they can save money,” he said. “We also have our student financial literacy piece. Student debt is rising, and it’s something that we want to combat.”

REAL Party candidate Liz Mills discussed the party’s affiliation with the Hawkeye Caucus, in which students lobby state legislators in Des Moines. The event was held Tuesday.

Things began to heat up as Wampler described his “Hawkeyes Got Your Back” campaign, in which members of the university would pool resources, such as a website listing contacts and offices, for those who have experienced sexual assault.

Mills responded with a fiery rebuttal.

“I think the BEACH Party campaign for sexual assault is very important,” she said. “That is why I developed one two years ago called ‘See Something, Say Something, Do Something.’ ”

Mills said the campaign is for bystander intervention and awareness.

The debate closed with a bit of fire, as Mills had the last word on the debate floor.

“Life isn’t always a beach,” Mills said. “There are real problems the students are facing on this campus. It’s not a vacation; we’re here trying to learn and trying to get the best we can possibly get for the money we are spending.”

A REAL Party official said he believed his candidate won the debate.

“I really am convinced that Liz was able to give a better debate performance mainly because I felt that she gave very detailed answers and was able to prove what she’s done for the university before,” REAL Party manager Danijel Pejkanovic.

Current UISG President Patrick Bartoski took the opposite view.

“The best thing you can do when running in a competitive election is to focus on your ideas,” Bartoski said. “At the end of the day, Sam stuck to the point, and Liz used that as a rebuttal and to throw a punch at the Beach Party.”

The vice-presidential debate will take place at 8 p.m. today in Main Library Shambaugh Auditorium.

Elections will be held through ISIS on April 8 and 9.


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