GPSG seeks grad-housing solution

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Up Up And Away Photography

The Aspire at West Campus apartments are located at 190 Hawkeye Court. (Daily Iowan/Karley Finkel)

By Macey Spensley
[email protected]

Task forces, campus improvements, and freedom of speech were discussed at the University of Iowa Graduate and Professional Student Government meeting on Tuesday.

The group decided on nominations for a Housing Task Force. The panel was created during the controversy involving the Aspire at West Campus apartment complex in the first semester, where many graduate and professional students live.

The task force will see what the university can do to aid graduate student housing. They will also meet local politicians and delegates, said GPSG president Josh Shoenfeld.

Graduate students had previously contended that rent at Aspire had increased 10 to 12 percent over the last two years. Aspire replaced the Hawkeye Court apartments, which was demolished in 2013.

The task force will include members from GPSG and the UI Division of Student Life — three graduate students and two staff members.

“Only three females applied,” Schoenfeld said. “I want to avoid an all-male task force.”

Schoenfeld said he wanted the task force members to be diverse. Criteria for nominees included one graduate student, a professional student, a student who lives on campus, and a student who lives off campus.

“I prefer applicants who actually live in Aspire and ones that will be at the university for more than one year,” said Megan La Suer, a law student and GPSG member. “Then they will care more about what happens.”

A total of 12 applicants had applied for the task force, but the graduate committee decided to vote on three nominations.

GPSG also discussed an event in the works to educate students about free speech and the First Amendment. It is designed to inform students about the types of complaints that will be deemed acceptable for the incoming Bias Assessment Response Team.

The team was created to help students file complaints against hate speech.

GPSG Secretary Jasmine Mangrum said UI faculty are concerned students might perceive some remarks made during class as a form of hate speech.

“I don’t want this to be an event where people lash out,” she said. “I want it to be an event where we all get along and discuss the issues.”

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