StuGov talks lease gaps, SafeRide and fall priorities


Students are left without a place to stay in between leases for the summer and fall.

Maggie Curry

Last spring, Cody West and Cody Smith were elected as the next leaders of the Iowa State student body ready to bring their new ideas to fruition. 

After spending the summer in and out of Ames and around the state advocating for Iowa State students this summer, the new Student Government president and vice president discussed what their plans are for this fall.

Cyclone 101

West and Smith said at their inauguration they plan to continue efforts to enhance student safety, along with reinstating Iowa State traditions and reinventing residency in Ames.

West and Smith planned to build upon West’s and former Student Body President Cole Staudt’s administration by advocating for the proposed Cyclone 101 module-course. The course would be required of all students, if implemented, and would cover “sexual assault, bystander intervention, financial literacy, information literacy, campus resources and discussions regarding diversity and inclusion.” Currently, West hopes to have test courses in 2018.

Lease gaps

On reinventing residency, West and Smith specifically wanted to look at lease signings and lease gaps over the summer, when students are homeless for days between leases when moving apartments.

Smith and West worked with the university to provide an option for students this year as temporary housing August 1-10. The area was open in on-campus housing to all newly admitted, early-arriving or international students, students in approved groups with fall contracts and up to 60 students without fall contracts with need for temporary housing.

Smith was particularly excited for international students who don’t have the option to run home or do the things that U.S. students can during the gap. Smith said he was told half the beds were in use at one point.

“Students had a bed to sleep in and that’s the bigger picture I think people need to really take a step back and look at,” West said. “It was successful, but there’s a lot more work to do.”

West stressed it was not the university’s issue to solve.

“Pete Englin is the director of residence at Iowa State. He’s a champion. He sticks his neck out for students all the time, but especially with this one,” West said. “The fact he was willing to do that to alleviate some pressures on the student experience and make this time less stressful and more enjoyable for students was just incredible.”

West said the issue wasn’t over, but moving forward it won’t be a priority for the school year.

“It boils down to a community issue that we all need to take care of,” West said. “I think the student government was the appropriate place to start a student concern that needed to be guided.”


University opens temporary housing to combat lease-gaps

Life in between: Lease gaps leave ISU students homeless


SafeRide ISU, which is available on both iPhone and Android, was created after Iowa State’s former escort service saw a higher demand in users, and is available to anyone on campus between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“When they got the app they just kind of really exploded with rides,” Smith said. “They have one or two car that runs, so the wait times are like thirty to forty minutes.”

Smith plans put it up for the Student Government Senate to decide whether to spend $34,000 to run another car that is already purchased. Overall, the SafeRide program is considered a great service by West and Smith.

“But it’s not a great service when they pull up to a spot forty-five minutes later and the student’s like ‘I just walked home even though I felt unsafe,’” West said.

West said another concern is how students currently use the system.

“We have a lot of people who take it when they’re intoxicated, we have a lot of people take it when they’re only going two blocks, we have a lot of people take it just to take it,” West said. “I know there’s a couple athletes that take it to practice every morning. If they don’t feel safe, that’s fine, but if it’s super cold out, if they’re just lazy, that’s a different story and not the intended use of the service. There are students that rely on it and that use it every single day… you can really abuse it.”


DPS launches SafeRide ISU, a new Uber-style app

Student bereavement

Allison Bailey, who attended Iowa State several years ago and is returning this year, met with Assistant Dean/Director of Student Assistance, Kipp Van Dyke, a representative from Student Counseling and West this summer to encourage them to implement a Student Bereavement Policy at Iowa State.

Bailey said in an email it would guarantee excused absences for students to attend the funerals/grieve for the loss of their deceased loved ones should a loved one die during the course of a semester at ISU.

West said there are possible changes that can be made to the university catalogue, and also reached out to the president of the Faculty Senate to see if policy changes could ever happen.

“There’s that time where that student has already missed five classes and six is an automatic fail,” West said. “We run into that, where a faculty member might not be as cooperative.”

Medical amnesty

A campaign promise by former Student Government president Cole Staudt did not see fruition during the last legislative cycle – but it came close. 

The bill, targeted toward college-aged students to allow them medical amnesty specifically in underage drinking situations, passed unanimously through the Iowa Senate along with in House subcommittees. Smith plans to continue lobbying efforts this year and hopes to have it on the House floor the first week the state legislature is in session.

The bill would “provide immunity from certain criminal offenses and prohibiting certain disciplinary sanctions for persons who report, seek, or require emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses.”

If passed in the House, the bill will also need to be approved by Governor Kim Reynolds.

Besides medical amnesty, Smith also plans to lobby for general appropriations from the state and a public scholarship program to help combat tuition costs.


Medical amnesty bill to see House floor next year

Editorial: It’s time for medical amnesty in Iowa

Reflection room

West and Student Government Cabinet member Julian Neely are involved in discussion around a new room for students to access a quiet, safe space on campus for reflection, prayer or peace.

“It’s not just for muslim students, we want to make that very clear,” West said. “You don’t even have to be involved in faith or religion at all to use this room. You can use it if you are having a negative day as far as your mental health is concerned, you can go in there, decompress, relax, have a quiet space on campus where you can just go – whether you want to pray, whether you want to reflect quietly or whether you just need to be in a quiet place away from everybody, that’s really what the true purpose is.”

A collective meeting the Friday before fall classes begin will start the official discussion on the room.

Spring celebration

Veishea was mentioned at the induction ceremony for West and Smith. While both agree Veishea isn’t coming back, talks of a spring celebration may have a better chance under a new university president. Smith plans to get started on the spring celebration right away.

Veishea: a week-long celebration in the spring on Iowa State’s campus, and the largest student run celebration in the United States from 1922-2014. It was canceled after violence and rioting occurred simultaneously. The acronym was for the colleges on campus when the event was founded — veterinary medicine, engineering, industrial science, home economics and agriculture.


The Veishea Void: Faculty, students reflect on the loss of an ISU tradition

Cost of loss: Business owners consider impact of Veishea cancellation

President Leath discontinues Veishea, retires name

“I think that if we are to plan a spring celebration, I don’t think it will be one week long,” West said. “Anything that resembles Veishea will automatically be shot down by the administration.”

What it will be: a celebration of being a Cyclone, similar to homecoming, but in the spring, Smith said.

“I don’t want to wait until January,” Smith said. “I would like to do an application process for directors around campus. I think it would be fantastic to get more than just student government involved.”

West agreed that student government should not plan the event, but be a liaison to the administration.


Meet the candidates: West and Smith

Cody West is currently a senior in biology in hopes of eventually going to medical school. Cody Smith is majoring in agricultural communications and political science. As the Student Government representatives, they spent the summer giving input on tuition and the search for Iowa State’s next president.

“We’re always offered a seat at the table,” West said. “They really want to know how we think all the time because they want to know how students are going to react and how students are going to feel about it.”

Whether it’s how to contact your state legislators, an issue affecting Iowa State students or allocating student funds, Student Government does it all.

“Student Government is an untapped resource,” West said. “We have a lot of senators hungry for projects.”

Find Student Government on Twitter under @ISUStuGov and @ISUStuGovPres.