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Split UISG Senate may cause tension

BY GRACE PATERAS | APRIL 15, 2015 5:00 AM

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A split in the recent UISG elections has newly elected members concerned.

The REAL Party grabbed the presidential and vice-presidential seats, but the BEACH Party took more seats in the Senate.

University of Iowa junior Michael Kessler ran under the BEACH banner and was elected to be a senator for the third year in a row.

Because of his strong friendship with BEACH Party presidential candidate Sam Wampler, he said he was upset at the results when they were announced April 10.

Knowing BEACH and REAL officials will have to work together, Kessler said it will be a difficult transition to establish a relationship with REAL senators.

“I think in the beginning it’s going to be rough,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a tough time for the Senate for the first month or two of meetings, and maybe the beginning of next year.”

Of the 39 senators elected, 21 of them are BEACH members and 18 are REAL members. Eleven seats remain to be appointed from diversity-based student organizations and the incoming freshman class.

Current UISG President Patrick Bartoski said he has never seen such a highly split senator results in his four years working at UISG.

To get acquainted with the dynamic of the group, REAL Party President-elect Liz Mills said some team building activities might be necessary.

“I think that we’re going to get a lot of different ideas, especially from two different platforms which is really exciting to look forward to,” she said. “Some things on BEACH’s platforms — like [expanding] Nite Ride — is something we want to work on.

“It’ll be good to have students that are passionate to work on those [initiatives].”

Mills said after the senators get inaugurated in early May, that’s when tensions might arise.

“The first meeting is going to be choosing the speaker,” she said. “UISG members who want to be speaker will make a presentation, and the rest of the groups will vote. That might get a little tense.”

Though Kessler predicts a rocky start to this year’s UISG group, he said Mills and Vice President-elect Morgan Brittain are more than qualified and will be great at their jobs.

“I think [the tension] might be more between senators,” he said. “Next year will be a great year for the Senate because there were amazing student leaders elected. In the end, we’ll be able to work out our differences, because we’re all there for the same reason.”

Freshman Abby Dockum, who was elected as a REAL senator and will participate in UISG for the first time this upcoming year, said she thinks team-building activities might help everyone get to know each other.

“It’ll be a little bit of an adjustment once we figure out our priorities as a Senate, but I hope everyone will be willing to work together and find a way to achieve the goals of both parties,” Dockum said. “We had similar goals — it’s just our means of getting there is what I think is different.”

Kessler said that many REAL Party initiatives are bigger projects, and are left for the president and vice president to tackle. Other projects get handled in Senate committees, and BEACH Party ideas can still be looked into, such as mental-health awareness campaigns.

“Executive members are going to be the primary ones taking over the platform ideas,” he said.  “The Senate is free to do whatever they like and see if they can make a change on campus.”

Despite the differences, many senators agreed that a difference in platform doesn’t change who they’re representing.

“I think the people that got elected are the ones willing to put in the work, and are able to put it behind them anyway,” said REAL Party Sen.-elect Noah Kirschbaum. “I think [we] were elected for a reason.”

Like Kirschbaum, Dockum is ready to move on.

“We knew BEACH Party had great [representatives] too,” Dockum said. “My hope is we let the parties drop, because we are all elected. The focus should be on finding a unity between the parties and working together to make the university as best as it can be.”


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