Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: Two Black students are running for IUSG president

<p>IU juniors Ky Freeman, left, and Dorynn Mentor, right, each pose for photos. Freeman and Mentor are both on IUSG&#x27;s presidential ticket. </p>

IU juniors Ky Freeman, left, and Dorynn Mentor, right, each pose for photos. Freeman and Mentor are both on IUSG's presidential ticket.

IU Student Government has a history spanning over 100 years here at IU. Historically, IUSG has been an organization largely run by white male students. However, this year it is the most diverse it has ever been. IUSG currently has a Jewish and female student body president and a Muslim vice president.

This year elections for IUSG president and vice president will be conducted on April 1-2. There are currently three campaigns running for the IUSG executive branch and two of them have Black students in the presidential ticket. 

The three campaigns are Elevate for IUSG, Legacy at IU, and Inspire IUSG. 

Legacy at IU is composed of Presidential Candidate junior Carrick Moon and Vice Presidential Candidate junior Shibani Mody. The campaign is running on the removal of financial barriers, rebuilding community post-COVID and bringing seats to the table.

IU junior Dorynn Mentor is running for IUSG president and represents the Inspire IUSG campaign alongside junior Carling Louden.

Mentor is currently a member of IUSG and has served as the Executive Director of Health and Well-being this school year. She said her campaign stands out from the others because both her and Louden have IUSG experience and know what it is like to serve in the organization. 

Mentor said she is running for IUSG president because all students deserve to have their voices heard.

“You see how important students’ voices are, especially now, with IU taking away fall and spring break, and I want to be an advocate for all students and not just myself,” Mentor said. 

Mentor said IUSG is an important organization for students to be involved with and has made significant contributions to this campus. 

“IUSG is important for students, and before, I did not realize the impact,” Mentor said. “Just to see my fellow executive directors show me how much my IUSG counterparts want to make a change here on campus.”

Mentor said a win for her means a win for Black and non-American women.

“If I win my race for IUSG, I would be the first Black woman and first non-American woman to be president,” Mentor said. “This would be a change and show the entire campus you don't have to be American, male, or white to be IUSG president.”

IU junior Ky Freeman is running for IUSG president and represents the Elevate for IUSG campaign alongside junior Madeleine Dederichs. 

Freeman is currently president of the IU Black Student Union and has been in the position for the past two years. 

The one thing the Elevate campaign focuses on is establishing a new normal that emphasizes students mental health and wellbeing, Freeman said. 

“Our focus is on reevaluating a new normal that values students’ mental health,” Freeman said. “We can’t go back to normal. We are looking into establishing a CAPS advisory board, expansive therapy, resilience training for the 721 organizations on campus.”

Freeman said the student government needs someone who has already contributed to campus issues and have been working on behalf of the student body. 

What student government needs is someone who is going to do the work, who doesn't mind, agitating and strategizing because they have already done it and have shown their commitment to the students voice,” Freeman said. 

The Elevate campaign is not solely focusing on winning the election, but rather amplifying the voices of the students, Freeman said. 

“At the elevate campaign, our why is not to be the antithesis of the administration that already existed in that space,” Freeman said. “Our why is not to win, but to elevate the beautiful innovative and creative voices of the students who have been here historically and presently doing this work.”

A person's identity does not necessarily qualify them for a role, but rather the advocacy and work should speak for themselves, Freeman said. 

“Just because I am a gay Black man, that is not a qualifier for me to be in this space and position,” Freeman said. “It is the advocacy and the work that is necessary because identity alone does not equate to worth. You cannot solely be reduced down to your identity as the only qualifier because it diminishes the beauty and value and morals and everything a person encompasses.”

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