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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

IUSA executive tickets debated Monday night


The IU Student Association election tickets debated their platforms, campus issues and how to best represent student voices Monday night.

The debate featured Accelerate IUSA, REAL for IUSA and RISE for IUSA. With elections taking place April 6 and 7, candidates had the chance to showcase their platforms in front of nearly 100 students gathered in Alumni Hall.

SPEA professor Paul Helmke moderated the debate. Helmke began by reminding candidates to be respectful, unlike current presidential debates.

“No reference to body parts or people’s significant others,” Helmke said. “Be civil.”

Each ticket spoke on how to reach out to 40,000 

Accelerate Vice President of Administration Neil Davé said it’s important to listen to all students, regardless of whether or not the ticket members agree with them.

“We need to go out of our way as representatives and student government to collect information from all constituencies,” Davé said.

With members in the current administration, REAL plans on building off what’s being done now, REAL Vice President of Administration Alex 
Trevino said.

REAL wants to keep communication between students and student government open by continuing round tables and focus groups.

“I think a lot of what our ticket is going to do is listen before we speak,” said REAL President Sara Zaheer.

Helmke asked the tickets what specific ways they plan to increase communication among students. He gave the examples of using social media, polling or congress members’ concerns to gauge how people feel on specific topics.

RISE President Naomi Kellogg said IUSA should use all of those examples to connect with students.

“IUSA should utilize every single resource that we have to reach out to students,” Kellogg said.

Kellogg said many students believe IUSA is inaccessible. The next administration needs to work to make congress’ work more transparent.

“No one knows what their representatives are doing,” Kellogg said.

Helmke also asked each ticket what one policy they really want to get done.

For Accelerate, mental health is one of their most important policies.

“The stigma around mental illness and mental health really does need to be altered and changed on campus,” Davé said.

The way to change this is to improve training for those who interact with students on a daily basis, including resident assistants and professors.

Mental health is an important issue for REAL as well. Zaheer said changing the way IU deals with mental health starts with the 

“Before we deal with the structural changes of CAPS, we have to get the student body to speak up more about it,” Zaheer said.

Other important issues for the tickets are increasing the retention rate and helping students feel safer on campus.

Kellogg said increasing transparency about retention rates among the University and students is 

“Those things need to be made more public,” Kellogg said. “The more students know about it the more we can advocate for it.”

For Accelerate, keeping students safe is the number one priority, said Accelerate Vice President of Congress Jalen Watkins.

Watkins said it’s important to get an education and challenge ourselves, but more importantly is 
staying safe.

Throughout the debate, each ticket related their policies back to the students.

Although they each have different initiatives, making student government more connected to the students is an important goal for each ticket.

“We don’t understand as students that our voice matters,” Zaheer said.

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