The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UISG campaigns kick off

Peter Kim
UISG members and candidate supporters visit the Mill for kick off party on Sunday, Mar 20, 2016. Campaign for the election started 10pm Sunday, Mar 20, 2016. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

By Kyle Maclearn Wehrle
[email protected]

Student-government elections are right around the corner, and platforms are being unveiled.

There are two official tickets containing president/vice president pairs. The BLOC Party, headed by presidential candidate Rachel Zuckerman and her vice president, Lauren Freeman. The independent party ticket, Yes Party, is lead by Jon Langel and Elliott Smith.

The BLOC Party launched its University of Iowa Student Government campaign on Sunday evening with a kickoff party at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St.

According to the party’s platform, BLOC aims to create an undergraduate housing task force charged with evaluating affordability and availability of on- and off-campus housing, the nature of landlord problems, and the monopolization of the apartment business in Iowa City.

Oliver Hidalgo-Wohlleben, the student election commissioner said the election results are important because they will shape the direction of university policies under a new presidency.

Zuckerman said the information gathered from the UI Speak Out surveys from last year would direct the party’s efforts to combat sexual misconduct on campus. The results from the survey are slated for release this spring.

Hawk Alerts, while effective, often trigger harmful memories, said current UISG senator and BLOC member Tayo Ajose.

“We want to offer a warning,” she said, or an option to opt out of alarming details in the Hawk Alerts.

Zuckerman noted the UI’s drop in the undergraduate national rankings of schools from 71st to 82nd last year. She also said BLOC would attempt to negotiate tuition rates with the state Board of Regents.

“We no longer advocate tuition freezing,” she said. “It’s no longer feasible.”

She said BLOC aims to retain professors by removing the tuition freezes.

The BLOC platform also proposes increased meal-plan options.

Working with the Undergraduate Housing Task Force, Zuckerman said, she plans to attack tuition costs at the level of housing and dining.

On the opposite side, Langel said he plans to incorporate more interactive in-person learning approaches in the OnIowa program to increase sexual-assault awarenesss.

No senators are running with the Yes Party.   Langel said Yes plans to launch an educational program to better inform students about where their tuition money is going, expressing concerns about the recent growth in administrative staff.

Langel also said he and Smith will forfeit their annual salaries of $8,000 if elected and donate the money to student groups.

Langel and Smith are founders of Money Think in Iowa City, which has managed to bring about national change in the program to better fund local schools.

Money Think is a national organization focused on teaching unprivileged high-school students about financial literacy and college planning.

“Elliott and I have extensive experience working with higher-up organizational leaders,” Langel said in regards to controversial UI President Bruce Herrald.

Zuckerman said BLOC will work with the UI president.

“We are committed to working with him,” Zuckerman said. “To be effective, it will require an active relationship.”

Correction: In the March 21 article “UISG campaigns kick off,” The Daily Iowan incorrectly reported that Rachel Zuckerman said the UI’s tuition freeze affected its national ranking. Zuckerman did mention both points but did not suggest they had a causal relationship. The DI regrets the error.

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