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 presidential candidates square off in debate

BLOC party candidate Rachel Zuckerman discusses stances next to Yes Party candidate Jon Langel during a University of Iowa Student Government debate at Danforth Chapel on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Topics brought up included international student relations, wider food plans for residents, and Pres. Bruce Harreld. (The Daily Iowan/Jordan Gale)

Members of the BLOC Party and the Yes Party piled into the confines of Danforth Chapel, adjacent to the IMU, on Wednesday evening to hear the two University of Iowa Student Government presidential candidates speak.

Yes candidate Jon Langel is a UI junior. However, he has only attended school here for two years. Langel’s freshman year, he went south to the University of Oklahoma, where he participated on the debate team.

“My running mate [Elliott Smith] and I are about results, commitment, and living,” he said. “To prove our commitment to UISG, Elliott and I are prepared to waive our salary when we are elected.”

Langel said one of the most important issues he would focus if elected on is diversity at the UI.

“As white individuals recognizing our privilege, it is not our place to encourage how to be included at the university. We are more focused on strengthening programs already in place. We would like to bring in new liaisons to resolve these issues.”

Langel went on to list the different groups of people facing diversity difficulties at the UI, including groups such as race, gender, and “queer folk.”

“There is a systemic problem where people of different colors, women, queer folk, come into a university setting that is extremely white, extremely masculine, and there is a lack of understanding and willing communities for those people to be accepted into that space, which leads to higher dropout rates for people of color, lower grades for people who are exiled in these communities…”

“In queer literature, it is common to use the term ‘queer folk,’ ” Langel said. “It’s similar in black literature. Some people think it is politically incorrect to call them black and should be African American, when in fact it is perfectly OK refer to them as black.”

UISG Speaker Pro Tempore Rachel Zuckerman represented BLOC. Zuckerman is a junior at the UI majoring in journalism and political science. She is from a suburb of Detroit.

Zuckerman said Langel is not relatable to other students.

“Most of the students here need to have some sort of income,” she said. “So giving up your salary does not make [Langel] more relatable to students.”

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Langel then touched upon the issue of tuition increase.

“I think it would be beneficial to set up programs to educate students why tuition increases are coming,” he said. “I think students will care more about the issue if they are more educated.”

Zuckerman later brought up the possibility of bringing food trucks to campus, something she said would be one of her main focuses as president.

“They provide affordable convenient food for students,” she said. “As an RA, I see students coming back to the dorms all the time starving because they haven’t eaten all day. The City Council is open to the idea, and there is already some support among members.”

One of the big issues during this UISG presidential campaign is the productivity of the current Senate.

“We think it’s critical for executives to have personal relationships with the legislators,” Zuckerman said. “We also had a split Senate for the first time in forever, which can also slow things down.”

Langel said in response having a spilt Senate is no excuse for being unproductive.

“I do not think a split Senate is an acceptable excuse,” he said. “It’s weird because the two parties actually agree on a lot of the same issues. It shouldn’t be that difficult.”

Zuckerman closed on what she said she wants her legacy to be at the UI.

“The reason I want to do this is because there’s a lot of important work to be done on campus, and we need a leader who can do that,” she said. “I want my legacy to be a president who listens to students and does what is best for them.”

Vice-presidential candidate for Yes Smith, said he thought his party offered the best option to students to make themselves heard.

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