Indiana Daily Student

IUSG executive branch candidates discussed branch relations, representation at Friday debate

<p>The IU Student Government office is seen Jan. 16, 2022, in the Student Involvement Tour at the Indiana Memorial Union. IUSG discussed diversity and branch relationships during the executive branch debate Friday night.</p>

The IU Student Government office is seen Jan. 16, 2022, in the Student Involvement Tour at the Indiana Memorial Union. IUSG discussed diversity and branch relationships during the executive branch debate Friday night.

IU Student Government candidates from the Unite for IUSG and Thrive for IUSG tickets discussed diversity and the relationship between the executive and legislative branch during the debate Friday night. The election will be held Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Unite presidential candidate sophomore Aidan Chism and junior vice presidential candidate Alida Flores are both current members of the IUSG Congress. Thrive presidential candidate sophomore Kyle Seibert has no former IUSG experience, and vice presidential candidate sophomore Bell Pastore is a current member of the IUSG executive branch. 

Chism and Flores said their knowledge of IUSG and how it operates is vital experience an administration needs to be able to advocate for students. 

“IUSG is a place that we feel really comfortable in,” Flores said. “I find a home in IUSG. I think it's a very comforting community.”

Pastore said for many people, IUSG does not feel like home. She said Seibert and her have a new outsider perspective, with Seibert having no prior IUSG experience, which will benefit IUSG and encourage new people to join student government. 

Moderator and IU professor Paul Helmke began the debate by asking the candidates how they plan to represent the diverse student population on campus.

Flores said it is necessary to get input and perspective from as many students as possible to properly serve as a voice for them, which is the purpose of IUSG. 

“We get so caught up in what diversity means and just having diversity on a sheet of paper without having it actually being implemented,” Chism said. “In our organization, we are not just going to focus on getting people in the room, but making sure that we're building relationships and having them have the tools that they need to succeed both within IUSG and outside of it.” 

Both tickets acknowledged the importance of talking to diverse student organizations, especially because all four candidates are white and don’t represent everyone on campus.

“Our campaign wants to meet ignorance with education,” Pastore said. “Education really will help us understand each other and also understand what's on this campus, because there are so many organizations that are already here. Something that can help them is uplifting their voice and making sure that they're heard.”

Helmke asked the candidates about the relationship between IUSG Congress and the executive branch, saying it seems there has been an ongoing battle between the two branches in the past few years. 

Chism said he believes IUSG should focus more on student advocacy instead of bylaws and legislation, especially after issues of illegitimacy in Congress.   

“We've gotten caught often in the debate, and I think we forget that at the end of the day, we're all students, we're all people,” Flores said. “We're all here to do the same thing, and that's to advocate for students.”

Pastore said there is a competitive atmosphere between the two branches, but she wants to focus more on collaboration. 

“We really hit our goal of representing students when the executive branch and the legislative branch can work together,” Pastore said. 

Helmke asked candidates about their thoughts on matters including unionization and antisemitism.

Both tickets said they support the movement to organize a union for graduate employees, and they want to address the concerns of graduate students, who make up a large part of the student population at IU.  

Both tickets condemned the recent antisemitic comments posted online directed toward Jewish students at IU. They discussed the importance of holding the IU administration accountable when investigating these incidents and disciplining those responsible. 

During the closing remarks, all the candidates stressed the importance of encouraging students to vote so they can choose who represents and advocates for them. Students will receive an email Tuesday morning with a link to vote in the election.

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