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IUSA tickets discuss campus issues in town hall


IU Student Association candidates put on an informal Q&A session on Feb. 21 in the Global and International Studies Building. This meeting allowed the candidates to answer questions submitted through Facebook and from the audience that attended.  Mallory Smith Buy Photos

Three IU Student Association tickets discussed everything from campus transportation to student involvement to the homeless population in Bloomington during the only campaign town hall of the semester Wednesday night.

The town hall was intended to be an informal discussion from executive candidates. A more formal debate is scheduled for March 20. 

Each ticket is comprised of four candidates who run together — a president, two vice presidents and a treasurer — and the tickets will face off in an election on March 27 and 28.

Here were some major points of discussion from the town hall:

Campus transportation

Discussion at one point turned to improving campus buses and other methods of transportation.

Junior Emma Coates, running for president on the REFORM ticket, said her team wants to create a better policy for buses if there is an active shooter. After an active shooter alert went out to students last semester on the Bloomington campus, she said, students on buses were forced to disembark.

Alex Wisniewski, running for president on the Voice ticket, said there are efforts currently to improve bus routes and make sure lines actually go where students need. He said there has been talk of increasing routes to locations such as campus gyms.

Members of the REFORM ticket also talked about prioritizing improvement of the Safety Escort service. Wait times for the service are often 30 minutes to two hours, said junior Andrew Hennessey, running for vice president of administration on the REFORM ticket, making the system not as functional for students as it could be.

Student involvement

Multiple times throughout the town hall, executive candidates offered ideas for getting students more involved with IUSA and more involved on campus generally.

Emily Reeg, running for vice president of administration with Unite IU, said the key to raising awareness of IUSA and getting students to work with the organization is face time with members. 

This could happen through an IUSA Day event to help people put faces to names, Coates said.

All tickets discussed collaborating with other student organizations, and Wisniewski said Voice has already met with 86 stakeholders on campus to hear their input.

Coates said her ticket, REFORM, wants to revitalize the IUSA website and social media accounts, which she said have sat mostly untouched under the current administration. 

Hennessey, also on REFORM, added that IUSA could livestream town halls or other events.

Maggie Hopkins, running for vice president of administration with Voice, said all the ideas from the evening for involvement were valuable and there isn’t a reason they can’t try them all. 

“How we’re going to get students involved is going to come from a number of ways,” Hopkins said.

Homeless population

Coates at one point during the event mentioned IUSA member involvement with the decision to force homeless people out of Peoples Park.

“We need to be looking at ways we can help rather than ways we can avoid them,” Coates said.

Wisniewski said although IUSA did not directly advocate for expelling the homeless people, IUSA did talk to the mayor about ways to make the area safer for IU students. 

He mentioned ideas from those meetings that would have discouraged homeless people from congregating in Peoples Park, such as having events there.

Sophomore Raegan Davis, running for treasurer with Unite IU, questioned if removing homeless people automatically makes the area safer. 

Wisniewski answered, saying the discussion came after a break-in at Sigma Chi and a fight near Kilroy’s on Kirkwood, both involving intoxicated homeless individuals.

Sophomore Kevin Mohsenzadeh, running for president with Unite IU, said the whole issue shows how important it is to remember there is more to Bloomington than campus and the necessity of working with the community not affiliated with IU.

“It is as much their home as it ours,” he said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misattributed the person who proposed an IUSA Day event. This IDS regrets this error.

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