The IU Student Association elections begin tomorrow and will continue through Wednesday, so if you haven’t already taken a look at your candidates’ platforms, now is the time to do so.
The Editorial Board has reviewed the policies proposed by each of the three candidates — Voice IUSA, Reform IUSA and Unite IU — and we were especially impressed by the detail and preparedness of one platform in particular. For the 2018 IUSA elections, we are proud to endorse Voice as the team likely to best serve students in the coming year.
Beyond these must-have policy points, we particularly appreciated Reform’s goal of moving IU to renewable energy sources and beyond coal, as well as Unite’s plans to add a third free CAPS session.
However, we felt the details of these policies and their implementation were vague or incomplete. Reform and Unite often presented their ideas in the future tense, saying they would work with various groups without sufficiently elaborating.
When we finished reviewing the policies proposed by each candidate, our choice was clear. Only Voice IUSA explicitly stated it had already met with stakeholders from groups like the Muslim Student Association and the Office for Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy in order to create the most effective possible policies.
The plans for these policies were the most comprehensive and thorough of any of the three candidates, and Voice even went so far as to provide examples of precedents for their policies at other universities.
Among these policies, we would like to highlight Voice’s plans for creating a greek policy team to work on issues specifically facing the greek community and for removing the Residential Programs and Services roommate responsibility rule that allows students to be punished for their roommates’ conduct violations.
Coming off of the three-month suspension of social activities for IU’s greek system, the Editorial Board feels it is not clear whether any meaningful change has been made on the issues often associated with greek life, particularly binge drinking and sexual assault. An IUSA council designed to tackle these issues seems like a viable step forward.
Regarding roommates, current RPS rules state residents who are present on residence hall grounds and know that violations are occurring will be considered complicit in the activity unless they report it or leave the area. This rule unfairly harms innocent students and should be abolished.
The only important gap in Voice’s platform is its lack of elaboration on plans to address sexual assault on a campus-wide rather than greek-specific scale. We expected this issue to be included in the policy document both because Voice has met with the Office for Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy and because it is a crucial issue affecting students’ health and safety.
That being said, neither of the other two candidates provided particularly clear plans of their own. Reform failed to mention sexual assault altogether, and Unite vaguely promised to “work with other student organizations and IU administration to further address sexual harassment and assault.”
In the future, the Editorial Board expects IUSA candidates not only to address sexual assault in their platforms, but also to go beyond the bare minimum promises and provide original, thoughtful proposals for how they plan to handle one of the most pressing issues students face.
Although we do endorse Voice, our evaluation of these candidates should not be the end of your research. Our most important recommendation is that you read up on each candidate and empower yourself to make an informed vote.