Letter to the Editor: UISG President's comments are misleading

BY DI READERS | APRIL 08, 2015 5:00 AM

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The April 7 issue of The Daily Iowan featured an opinion piece by Patrick Bartoski publicly condemning the REAL Party’s lack of sexual-assault rhetoric in its platform. To say that REAL Party not mentioning sexual misconduct in our platform is tantamount to us not taking a stand on the issue, or to insinuate that we would ignore the issue if we are elected, could not possibly be further from the truth. At best, this argument is an uninformed mischaracterization of REAL Party, and at its worst is deliberately misleading to voters.

Having been heavily involved in the authorship of the REAL platform, I can personally attest to intentionally omitting this language from our platform after being reached out to by constituents in the UI Antiviolence Coalition and the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, who have expressed immense frustration at the tendency of UISG executives to appropriate their work in the past by rubber stamping it during campaigns for student-government elections.

Furthermore, the entirety of REAL’s platform is exclusive to our candidates. These are our ideas. This is our work. Instead of just providing lip service to programs already taking place at the hands of other stakeholders (such as the It’s On Us campaign) the REAL platform is an amalgamation of the new and unique ideas that we would take the lead on should we be elected. UISG and the Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct worked diligently over the past year to implement It’s On Us, and REAL Party will continue these efforts without unilaterally claiming ownership over them.

But while we’re on the topic of things completely lacking from student-government tickets, it is interesting to note that academics are not mentioned once on the BEACH platform. This is a student-government election, and academic life has historically been one of the arenas in which UISG has the greatest potential to effect change. After all, we are representatives of an academic institution. It is for this reason that REAL Party underwent exhaustive research brainstorming programs to supplement our peers’ scholastic endeavors, ranging from everything between permanent Hawkmail addresses to streamlined syllabi releases to an expanded dead week before finals.

Without a doubt, platforms are value statements. However, it is the candidates behind the platform that bring it to life. REAL Party leadership took painstaking effort to include student leaders at the forefront of the discussion of sexual assault on our campus on our ticket. That is why I am so incredibly honored to be able to run alongside people such as Gabrielle Miller, a member of the Women’s Resource and Action Center’s Mentor Program, Rachel Zuckerman and Elizabeth Baer, members of the Council on the Status of Women, Carter Yerkes, the director of the Human Rights Student Collective, Fatima Jayoma, the president of the School of Social Work Student Association, and Grant Laverty, the president of the Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct.

Anybody can talk about taking a stance on sexual assault. REAL Party has the people to actually do it.

Brendan Power
UISG senator

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