New GSB executives discuss upcoming term

Matt Kuhns

In a press conference with Iowa State journalism students Wednesday, GSB Vice President-elect Jamal White corroborated recent accusations of racism in the Government of the Student Body.

“I’ve seen that when some groups come through they’re scrutinized more [than other groups],” White, who is currently a senator for the College of Engineering, said.

Discrimination by GSB members is not overt, White said. Instead, it involves how groups are questioned more than what specific questions are asked. And when discrimination occurs, he said, it doesn’t always affect whether a group receives funding.

Groups other than racial minorities experience discrimination in GSB, White said, citing greek organizations as an example.

White and GSB President-elect Bryan Burkhardt, who also attended the press conference, stressed increasing student involvement in GSB.

“We definitely want to continue to raise the popularity [and awareness] of GSB among students,” Burkhardt said.

He said he wants to “make sure senators are held accountable to contact their constituents,” but he also emphasized the need for students to take an interest in GSB.

“We desperately need people willing to lend a hand and ensure this university reflects the needs of students,” Burkhardt said.

He encouraged students to contact him or White about issues that concern them, saying “I have no problem” with being called at home.

Regarding student participation in GSB elections, Burkhardt said he was “very excited” about the turnout for the recent elections but added there is room for improvement.

Burkhardt said he hopes to maintain or even expand the new polling locations, which included the Memorial Union and Ross Hall as some of the sites.

Online voting through Access Plus is another possibility Burkhardt said he is exploring. Although the idea has received some criticism, he said he will continue to look into the option.

Burkhardt said he wants his administration to emphasize professionalism more than the current one, commenting that professionalism is “critical” when making presentations to the Board of Regents or ISU President Martin Jischke.

“We need to make sure we have our stuff together,” he said.

White added that he hopes to see rules upheld more strictly in GSB, emphasizing attendance by senators.

Senators “can’t represent their constituents” if they don’t attend GSB meetings, White said. He said he plans to use his authority as vice president to make senators more accountable for their attendance.

Among other issues Burkhardt and White addressed were student-run evaluations. Burkhardt said he would like to introduce a mid-semester evaluation process so students’ responses could have an impact on their classes.

Burkhardt said he is also working to improve campus safety by promoting better lighting on campus. He said many areas of campus are inadequately-lit, naming the space between Ross and Curtiss Halls as an example.

In response to concerns about the environment, Burkhardt said he supports an initiative by the Student Environmental Council to offer refillable mugs at the Memorial Union. Although he could not guarantee the plan would be implemented, Burkhardt said it would reduce waste.