Presidential candidates debate on platform points and campus issues

Student Government presidential candidates Lydia Greene, junior in political science, and Morgan Fritz, sophomore in political science, debated on Feb. 25.

Cassie Lehmann

The presidential candidates for Iowa State’s Student Government debated Tuesday evening, where a range of topics were covered, including community and inclusivity, transportation and student activities, Student Government renewal and Student Services. Two candidates were on the stage, Lydia Greene, junior in political science, and Morgan Fritz, sophomore in political science.

Lydia Greene

Greene is a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences senator. Greene’s running mate for vice president is Joshua Hanyang, senior in management information systems, and together they are running on a platform of diversity and inclusion, mental health awareness, green initiatives, student government transparency and starting an initiative to implement a one-credit, half-semester course called ISU 101. During the debate, Greene emphasized expansion of diversity and inclusion and how ISU 101 would benefit students.

Greene described during the debate what initiatives their slate would bring to promote campus inclusion.

“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. “We would like to create co-directors of diversity and inclusion because directly as [Fritz] said, ‘No two students can live as much of the experience as the 36,000 students at Iowa State.’ 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 also touched upon one of her and Hanyang’s campaign points of Green Initiatives and various projects to increase sustainability on 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. That is something that will stick with [students] for the rest of their lives.”

Following along, Greene continued with how she will ensure Student Government becomes more inclusive to students.

“A typical problem we see with Student Government is its very disclusionary and a little bit clique-y,” Greene said. “We do not need to focus on having one director of diversity and inclusion because if we have more people in the conversation then more things will get addressed.”

A question from the audience was raised later in relation to a previous interview Greene was quoted in.

“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 previously told the Daily. “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.)]”

The question asked Greene if she believed that was the language we should be using when negotiating with the university, the Board of Regents and the state government.

“I believe it is important for a president to be as relatable to the student body as possible,” Greene said. “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.”

Morgan Fritz

Fritz is the Collegiate Panhellenic Council Senator. Fritz is running alongside Jacob Schrader, junior in economics and political science, on a platform of college affordability, addressing campus climate and sustainability on campus. During the debate, Fritz emphasized implementing Income Share Agreements and the range her campaign team brings to the table.

Income Share Agreements would be an option for students to contract with the university to pay back a certain percentage of their future earnings for a fixed period after graduation.

“Income Share Agreements are something that investors would invest in over a broad swath of students, so it would be many students pooled together into a large fund and from there they could do that,” Fritz said. “There could be different requirements for different majors, just based on different incomes for earnings.”

Another point in Fritz and Schrader’s platform is to make sure the university commits to being more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“At my sorority, I helped implement a recycling system as well as encouraging our housing corporation to buy into the Ames Sun Smart Solar program,” Fritz said. “Something Schrader and I would like to do in the future is see that Facilities, Planning and Management adopts their plan to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by the next 10 years at no long term increase cost to students.”

A hot topic during the debate was ensuring that all students at Iowa State feel welcomed and incorporated into their community.

Fritz contested Greene and Hanyang’s idea to have co-directors of diversity and inclusion in Student Government, one who focuses on students of color and another who focuses on students of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“Two people can not have the lived experience of any of the 36,000 people on this campus,” Fritz said. “So it starts with acknowledging that there are areas we don’t know things about. So 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. […] It’s impossible to put identities into a box, just by creating two separate ones, that’s not going to encompass every single identity on campus.”

Furthermore, Fritz went on to explain her relationship with running mate, Schrader.

“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. “On the other end, I am more skilled in the big picture goals and reaching out to students and working with the administration. So I think we make a really great team, work well together and are extremely passionate about students.”

A question from the audience asked if the Fritz-Schrader campaign was in support of Senate File 274 and said that it allows student organizations to discriminate in leadership based on personal identity for the intent of religious freedom.

“It eliminated free speech zones on campus, it allowed appealed processes for students who were facing grievances with the university. A common misconception for that is it allows for identity-based discrimination and that is not the case, it allows for membership-based requirements,” Fritz said. “[…] I am in support of it. It basically just clarifies the First Amendment freedoms that were already existing within the First Amendment […] It protects our First Amendment rights.”