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IU Student Government Inspire campaign discusses COVID-19 plan during town hall



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IU Student Government presidential candidate Rachel Aranyi and running mate Ruhan Syed, organized a virtual town hall meeting Thursday. The meeting discussed how their campaign would address issues that came up due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lily Wray

IU Student Government presidential candidate Rachel Aranyi and her running mate organized a virtual town hall meeting Thursday to discuss how their campaign would address issues created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Aranyi and vice president candidate Ruhan Syed, both sophomores, are running a campaign called Inspire. The campaign’s platform includes pushing for a tuition freeze, a $15 minimum wage on campus and discouraging investment in fossil fuels. 

The Inspire campaign’s COVID-19 response plan includes creating financial security for students, protecting student workers, advocating for students’ academic success, helping students with the digital divide created by online classes and ensuring access to health care for full-time student employees. 

Inspire campaign manager and third-year law student Andrew Ireland said in an email their campaign plans to accomplish these goals by "building relationships, leveraging technology, and grassroots organizing."

The campaign also advocates for giving students the option to strike a course from their transcript at the end of the 2020 spring semester. 

“If a student does not receive a satisfactory grade, we want to make sure that due to the circumstances surrounding COVID that the class fail would not stick on their transcript,” Aranyi said. 

The Inspire campaign is also pushing for students to be reimbursed 25% of their tuition costs by the end of the spring 2020 academic semester. Syed said the reimbursement they are advocating for includes reimbursing students for transportation and printing fees. 

Syed said they are working to get graduate student fees dropped and reimbursed and want all drop/add course fees to be suspended through May 22, 2020. 

Inspire also wants to establish an emergency task force and relief fund for students who are overseas or in areas where internet accessibility is limited.

Aranyi said that they are also working on a new student emergency health fund to help subsidize the cost of COVID-19 testing through the IU Health Center. Ireland said in an email the fund would also serve as a safety net to help students pay for medical care in emergencies.  

Sophomores Madeline Garcia and Arianna Hoye are also running for student body president and vice president, respectively, on a campaign called Defy. The campaign advocates for students who are dealing with homelessness, employment issues and other vulnerable students they feel are often left out of the IUSG policy.   

Voting for the IUSG election will start at 10 a.m. April 15 and end at 10 p.m. April 16, according to IUSG’s website. A link will be sent to IU students' emails.

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