UISG independent and constituency senator candidates share their ideas and platforms for the UI

Students running to represent a variety of communities on campus explained their initiatives and ideas for promoting equity on campus.

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UISG independent and constituency senator candidates share their ideas and platforms for the UI

Candidates talk to students during the UISG Independent and Constituency Senator Forum at the IMU on Tuesday.

Candidates talk to students during the UISG Independent and Constituency Senator Forum at the IMU on Tuesday.

Ryan Adams

Candidates talk to students during the UISG Independent and Constituency Senator Forum at the IMU on Tuesday.

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Candidates talk to students during the UISG Independent and Constituency Senator Forum at the IMU on Tuesday.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

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Students gathered in the IMU on Tuesday to hear eager candidates pitch their ideas for change and how they would represent a variety of communities on campus.

Students running for independent and constituency senator positions in the University of Iowa Student Government described their platforms and ideas at an open forum.

Two independent candidates, Teagan Roeder and Jacob Heid, had similar ideas, yet with different emphases.

RELATED: UISG presidential candidates debate platforms and campus issues

Roeder wants to bring more transparency and accountability to UISG, adding education on the group to Success at Iowa, along with increasing support for autistic students at the university. He said his experiences as student-body president at City High inspired him to run for UISG.

Heid is running on a platform of sustainability, accountability, utility, and sexual health. He wants to increase sexual education and resources on campus.

“Sexual health isn’t something we should think is taboo,” he said. “It’s important to talk about, it’s important to make sure that we’re being safe — especially coming to college — not a lot of people have comprehensive sexual education.”

Students also ran for various constituency senator positions, including disability, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander Desi American, International, and LGBTQ+. They shared their plans to increase diversity and inclusion and serve various communities on campus.

Claire Miller, a candidate for disability constituency senator, wants to increase visibility and support for students with disabilities, including increasing support from Student Disability Services. Miller wants to see an expansion of the service to match that of other Big Ten universities.

“Personally, as a student with a disability, I have not seen a lot of policies that were geared toward me,” Miller said. “Primarily, in this position, I would like to advocate for students like that.”

Tomy Douangkeo, a candidate for Asian Pacific Islander Desi American constituency senator, wants to reduce stigma around mental health in that community and promote fiscal responsibility with student dollars.

“Mental health is such a stigma in communities of color, so I want to create a campaign to end that stigma,” he said. “I’ve been to [Univesity Counseling Service], I know what it’s like to need those services so I think that’s important — and a lot of people don’t ask.”

Ziheng Ju, a candidate for international student constituency senator, said she plans to increase resources for international students and to reach out to help form connections among international students and the rest of campus.

AJ King, a candidate for LGBTQ+ constituency senator, said he wants to increase intersectionality in the UI’s LGBTQ+ community.

“Historically, at the UI, the LGBTQ+ constituency senators have been white men,” King said. “I think it would serve LGBTQ+ students better on campus if their representative had multiple identities. I am an immigrant, I am a South East Asian-identified student, I am a first-generation student, and I identify as trans. I think it’s important to bring those intersectional ideas together.”

Carolina Herrera, a current first-year UISG senator, said she chose to run for re-election as Latinx constituency senator to increase retention in the constituency senator positions.

“I was on the Justice and Equity Committee, and I saw the number of people who left the constituency senator position, over half of them left for the spring semester,” she said. “It just made me upset, and I decided to run because I want to bring structure to the position I can represent.”

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