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VP debates stay cool

BY NOELLE ALKHAWAJA | APRIL 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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At the University of Iowa Student Government vice-presidential debate on Wednesday, both parties managed to hit on important issues — sans the intensity of the previous night’s presidential debate.

“I think the atmosphere and the respect level for the two candidates was a lot higher,” current UISG President Patrick Bartoski said. “A lot harder hitting questions were asked tonight, and I think both candidates handled them well. It just felt like a more organized, well put together debate, from both parties.”

Similar to Tuesday’s presidential-candidate debate, sexual-assault prevention and affordability were a main focus; however, moderator Walid Afifi, a UI professor of communication studies, asked some more pressing questions.

A more specific question covered the state Board of Regents’ proposed new funding model, which would tie a significant portion of state appropriations to the number of undergraduate resident students at each regent university. It still requires legislative approval.

The UI stands to lose millions of dollars under the model. Both candidates said it has flaws.

“The funding model does hurt the University of Iowa,” said Morgan Brittain, the REAL Party VP candidate. ”I do think there are things that should have been taken into consideration when passing this funding model. Unfortunately, as far as student government’s work on this, I think maybe people were just unaware of what was happening when it was going on.”

Another dynamic question formed around what each party foresaw as its greatest challenge if elected. Both parties focused on current UI President Sally Mason’s retirement and the transition between the interim and new president.

“With the new president and the interim president, it’s important that we set a precedent right away to work with them,” said Kolton Dahms, the BEACH Party VP candidate. “Not just invite them to things but set the precedent that we will meet with them monthly or weekly and establish a rapport.”

After the debate, BEACH Party members were pleased with the composure of each party compared with the previous debate.

“I think both candidates were really professional, and they both hit on really important topics,” BEACH member Mackenzie Borders said.

REAL Party members said they were confident in the strength shown in their platform.

“I think Morgan did a really great job bringing up all of our amazing platform ideas that we have,” REAL Party member Lauren Freeman said. “I think this debate was really informative for students.”

When it came down to the end, the VP candidates were very pleased with their performances.

“I really enjoyed having all my team members there,” Dahms said. “At the end of the day, BEACH Party is a team, and anything that we can do together will make for a better institution and for a better campus.”

Despite the lack of fire in this debate, the candidates were able to establish their stances in detail with more positivity, Dahms and Brittain said.

“I feel like both Kolton and I were able to talk about our ideas in a very positive way,” Brittain said. “Ultimately, I think the strongest difference between REAL Party and BEACH Party is that Liz and I are able to demonstrate our experience, not only in student government but in other student organizations.”

UISG will hold elections for the combined president and vice president tickets as well as for senators April 8 and 9. Students can vote on ISIS.


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