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Guest Opinion: UISG Presidential endorsement

BY GUEST OPINION | APRIL 07, 2015 5:00 AM

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It’s not often that undergraduate students have a direct say in the way the University of Iowa is run. One of the few opportunities is coming up on Wednesday and Thursday, when students can vote for their student-government leaders during the UI Student Government elections.

UISG elections are important because they determine who will represent the undergrad students during the coming year and who will set the policies that affect all student organizations and countless student activities.

This year, the choice is between two executive tickets — the BEACH Party and the REAL Party. Both are good tickets; and I’ve had the opportunity to work with the leadership of each ticket over my four years in student government. That experience — starting as a freshman senator, then as sustainability head, head of the Budget Committee, and this year as president of UISG — has taught me the importance of having the right people in leadership positions.

Both the REAL Party and the BEACH Party have good ideas, but ultimately I believe only one party has the leadership needed to move UISG and this campus forward. To be clear: My endorsement is based on my own experiences in student government and in no way reflects the official position of the organization. I’m merely expressing my opinion as a voter. And I’ll be voting for the BEACH Party.

The leadership of the BEACH Party has what it takes to set and execute a meaningful agenda to improve the student experience at the UI. Its platform touches all of the areas of vital importance to the university: affordability, mental health, and sexual-misconduct prevention. Its ideas are innovative and doable.

I can’t say the same for the REAL Party platform. Many of the ideas that anchor its platform — from changing sanctions for being drunk downtown to registering to vote on ISIS — are either old ideas that past UISG administrations have discarded or merely statements of what UISG does already. This isn’t the time for a complacent student government. The university is at a crossroads, and we need student leaders who understand that. That’s why we need the BEACH Party.

The BEACH Party platform has succeeded in addressing all of the major issues facing UI students. Its affordability platform correctly comprehends the issues facing students when it comes to limiting their debt from undergraduate education. And it proposes meaningful steps toward fixing the problems.

The BEACH Party’s emphasis on mental health is one that is long overdue from student government. We need to focus on wellness in a more holistic way on this campus, and student government can help lead that initiative. Only BEACH Party has made mental health a priority; it’s nowhere to be found on REAL’s platform.

The BEACH platform also recognizes the vital work we need to do to combat sexual misconduct on this campus. We’ve made improvements in the last two years, but there’s much that remains to do. Given all the work left to be done, it is astonishing that the REAL Party does not mention sexual misconduct in its platform. Not once. To me that’s a clear indication that REAL is really out of touch with what’s going on.

The bottom line is that the BEACH platform and candidates are the best choice for the UI. The members have the right ideas and the right experience to accomplish their goals. The opportunity to choose your student government is a unique one, and this year, it’s uniquely important. I hope students join me in voting BEACH.

Patrick Bartoski
UISG president


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