Iowa State Presidential Debate

By Ryan Pattee, Senior News Director

On Tuesday, February 25 presidential candidates geared up for a fiery debate in South Carolina, arguing to be the country’s next president. Meanwhile in the Memorial Union at Iowa State another presidential debate was set, this one for the next Iowa State Student government.

On one side was Morgan Fritz, a sophomore in political science, the other Lydia Greene a Junior also majoring in Political Science. While both candidates had the same major, both campaigns had differing ideas of how to handle problems on campus and what Student Government needs going forward.

Fritz, who is running with Jacob Schrader, specifically addressed sustainability, affordability and campus climate. Fritz specifically pitched income share agreements, a payment plan that has students pay back debt through a set percentage of their salaries for a predetermined amount of years. 

“Income Share Agreements are something that investors would invest in over a broad swath of students,” Fritz said. “There could be different requirements for different majors, just based on different incomes for earnings.”

On the other hand, Greene, who is running with Joshua Hanyang took her time on the debate stage to focus on ISU 101, outreach in student government, mental health and a cleaner campus. 

“We will encourage the university to create more green initiatives in any way possible,” Greene said. “This past year in Student Government, I was on a solar lights bill, in the spring we will be getting three solar lights on campus and we would like to expand that. Also with ISU Dining, we talked to them about using less plastic, purging recycling in the residence halls, to teach how to properly recycle.”

When it came to sustainability, Fritz used her sorority as an example when she created a recycling program for the house and encouraged her housing corporation to buy into the Ames Sun Smart Solar Program. “Something Schrader and I would like to do in the future is see that Facilities, Planning and Management adopt their plan to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by the next 10 years at no long term increase cost to students,” Fritz stated. 

Fritz also expressed a desire to expand the diversity and inclusion branch of student government so that everyone’s voice could be heard. “It starts with acknowledging that there are areas we don’t know things about,” Fritz said. “We need to build a great cabinet, have different voices from different backgrounds on our cabinet that are able to inform us of different issues…Understanding that different groups face different issues and how we play into that is incredibly important.”

Greene’s plan is to bring in two co-director for the diversity and inclusion branch of Iowa State. “Our campaign would like to expand past cultural competency because this is a good step in the right direction, but if you had attended all the Students Against Racism events you would know that is just a Band-Aid fix for the solution,” Greene said. “If we increase our diversity and inclusion platform, then more issues can be addressed, and there will be more representation and students will feel much more secure in their community at Iowa State.”

Greene addressed an audience question about a quote she made in the Iowa State Daily saying “I will have no trouble telling [the university administration] that, like our chalking policy, that’s negative to students obviously, so no, we cannot do that,” Greene said. “I’ll have no trouble with that. I will also have no trouble telling the Board of Regents that it’s BS that we have not gotten more money than [the University of Northern Iowa (UNI.)]” Greene was questioned if this was the kind of language she would be using when addressing the university. In response, Green said this: “It is not very encouraging for students who want to get involved in Student Government to have a vice president or president to be a stick in the mud who’s always been prim and proper. But frankly, they aren’t doing enough, they are raising tuition and that’s something that can not slide. Someone has to say something about that and I will have no issue saying something about that.”

Fritz also addressed questions submitted online asking why she ran with Schrader as well as her decision on the hotly contested student government file 247, which allowed clubs to bar others from leadership positions if organizations felt that person didn’t properly represent the club. “I think that my running mate, Schrader is a very pragmatic individual, he is extremely good at seeking out problems and finding solutions for them and getting them done,” Fritz said. “A common misconception for that is it (senate file 247) allows for identity-based discrimination and that is not the case, it allows for membership-based requirements. I am in support of it. It basically just clarifies the First Amendment freedoms that were already existing within the First Amendment.”

Smaller issues addressed by Greene and Fritz included: promoting more transparency with student government through a hotline and more fireside chats, ISU 101, Iowa State’s current chalking policy, gender-inclusive facilities, outreach within student government and how to properly handle budget clubs to student organizations.

The debate ended with each candidate making a closing remark. The voting for the presidency will take place on March 3-4.

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