On Wednesday and Thursday students can choose to vote for IGNITE, Empower IU, Engage with IU, Focus or Psych Up in the IU Student Association. The Editorial Board attended the election debate Tuesday to hear the platforms of the five tickets.
After reviewing the party platforms and hearing the candidates debate, the Editorial Board endorses Empower IU for the 2017 IUSA election.
Overall, we felt Empower IU President Dan Niersbach showcased a platform founded on pragmatic, data-driven policy. The ticket intends to gather this data by conducting student surveys to gauge where funds should be allocated and by studying successful policies implemented at other universities. While all other tickets had their respective merits, Empower IU’s focal points expressed determination and realism through their short-and-long term plans.
For example, Empower IU pledged unequivocal support to undocumented students but acknowledged that declaring IU as a sanctuary campus is more complicated than it sounds. Accomplishing such a task involves the combined efforts of the university and the community it represents as well as the state government. The University could lose critical funding if it officially identifies as a sanctuary campus without the state government’s support.
Despite this challenge, Empower IU has been working with the UndocuHoosier Alliance to ensure access to a quality education for everyone on campus.
All the tickets promised to value input from student organizations, but only Empower IU pledged to send representatives to meetings and events held by those organizations.
Previously, students in other organizations would be required to attend an IUSA meeting to have their voices heard. We appreciate this active approach to advocacy and collaboration.
We’re sure you’ve been barraged by buzzwords like campus safety and freedom of speech, so we want to tell you about Empower IU’s concrete initiatives to address these issues.
With regard to safety, Empower IU wants to incorporate liaisons between the IUPD and students at risk of sexual assault like sororities and the LGBT community on campus.
This will encourage victims of sexual violence to reach out to familiar faces who can then contact the authorities. Many people fear interacting directly with the University or police on sexual crimes, and this initiative aims to encourage a higher reporting rate.
At the debate, Niersbach also spoke emphatically about freedom of speech. He said that IU should welcome speakers from different ideologies and encourage students to challenge their ideas while on campus. If these speakers incite violence between students, however, the University should step in.
Engage with IU, Empower IU’s toughest competitor at the debate, also expressed strong support for student advocacy. However, the Editorial Board concluded that Empower IU’s platform was more practical given a one-year term in office.
We believe student voices will be best heard through Empower IU because it is a ticket that will use data-driven strategies to determine policy. Empower IU offers a distinct balance between passion and pragmatism that will best serve the student body.
Opinion Editor Zack Chambers is involved on an IUSA ticket and had no input on the Editorial Board’s decision.