Jaimes: UISG recognizes the need for intellectual diversity. Others should as well.

UISG plans to improve the lopsided representation it currently has with its members. Its dedication to equal representation is what our political climate needs more of.


Shivansh Ahuja

Students shoot hoops on the T. Anne Cleary Walkway on Tuesday, September 26, 2017. UISG hosted tables where students could register to vote.

Marina Jaimes , Opinions Columnist

Last week, the University of Iowa Student Government revealed the outcome of demographic assessments done on its members based on their colleges and ideologies.

As a very vocal conservative student at the UI, I was not surprised to see that out of the entirety of student government, 5.48 percent of representatives identified as moderate-conservative and 2.74 percent identified as conservative. I was surprised to see that these numbers were released and alarmed members of UISG, enough for some to advocate fixing disproportionate representation through possible external auditing and college-apportionment tickets.

As reported in the DI, the solution currently given to balance ideologies is to enlist the Office of the Vice President for Student Life in conducting an audit of its members. This is a step in the right direction and should be supported by all students who wish to have equal representation in the only institution that governs the undergraduate student body.

RELATED: Christian student organization temporarily reinstated in fight with University of Iowa

It’s refreshing to see this, especially in an era in which college campuses are demonized as liberal safe spaces. This label might be overused, but it is given with good reason. The Trump presidency has exposed a multitude of bigoted ideas from left and right sides of the aisle, with the left side dominating the outlook of many universities.

In October 2017, the  Iowa State Democratic Socialists of America chapter came under fire for threatening to shoot President Trump and advocating for the hanging of all capitalists. The release of the demographic assessment shows that UISG is willing to advance a conversation that is nonexistent at many universities, even ones as close to the UI as Iowa State.

RELATED: Weigel: What is behind the ideological bias in UISG?

UISG is not only looking to better represent its constituents but discouraging group-think — an action that can create a civil environment for all ideas and tolerance for all ideologies among students. Dedication to equal representation should not stop here — many areas of the UI should follow this lead and encourage a balance when considering political ideologies.

On Jan. 30, the UI faced a lawsuit from the Christian student group Business Leaders in Christ, a case that questioned if the university violated the rights of the group when the school removed it off campus for requiring student leaders to embrace all religious beliefs of the organization.

RELATED: Jaimes: University Lecture Committee displays liberal bias

This controversy made national news in December 2018 as the Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case, believing that the UI denied First Amendment rights to the group. Many argued that this decision was political and saw it as liberal versus conservative in nature.

Whether the UI was found to have violated the rights of the Christian student group, it should be a reminder that the country’s eyes are on the university, and the decisions it makes — politically motivated or not — will be scrutinized if found to favor some political leanings and disregard others.

As critics are ready to label the university as a liberal safe space, it is good to see UISG members are prepared to end a trend seen in so many colleges and promote intellectual diversity that could be the solution to the hostile political climate we’re in today.