Letter: More than a campaign



Every story has multiple perspectives. As leaders on our campus, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard of understanding others rather than making accusations. We must find the good in people before we see the bad, to assume good intentions as mistakes a part of learning. As student leaders, we must be willing to have open, respectful dialogue with one other in an effort to understand each other. This dialogue doesn’t need to be harsh or hostile, but a space that students can learn, share their opinions, and respect each other.

Throughout my time Iowa State, I have continually challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone, to try new things. Although I have never been involved in Student Government or in a campaign, I was hopeful that my experiences outside of Student Government would bring a new perspective to the conversation and be respected. I value building relationships, being kind and listening to others. I committed our campaign team to doing our best to respect other teams, if we had any issues the best way to resolve those issues was to be direct and have an open dialogue. Student Government should not be trying to turn people against each other but rather finding new ways to bring students together to solve problems.

My campaign team has made mistakes during the election process. I apologize for these violations and we are working to correct any errors. Mistakes aside, the pass few weeks has brought to light systemic issues within our Student Government based on, quite frankly, the lack of respect students can have for one another.

While we admit errors were made due to miscommunication with the Election Commission, the opposition has been selective of the violations shared. We have spent hours enduring unfounded accusations despite the Election Commission’s ruling that no rules had been violated. The other campaign’s efforts to silence a university department and distract the Tillo-Barnes campaign team are not representative of the values Student Government should uphold. Our team may have broken rules in our eagerness to promote our campaign, but we would never actively suppress another campaign for any reason.

I reached out and spoke with the opposing candidates in a meaningful conversation describing my frustrations with what was going on. I appreciated their apologies and appreciated that we were able to move forward because I understand the importance of coming together rather than working against each other.

It came as a surprise late last week when the opposing candidates filed a Supreme Court hearing against our campaign because of their frustrations. It came as a surprise that instead of first reaching out to my campaign and having a conversation about the mishaps, it was immediately sent to the Student Government Supreme Court and published in the Iowa State Daily. The step, we as students, continually keep missing is talking to each other. We create assumptions rather than learning the other perspective. We often cannot look each other in the eye to tell each other where we see differently. 

If we want Student Government to be successful and to embody the voices of 36,000 students, we need to start respecting each other. As students and as leaders, we must hold ourselves to higher standards, to standards that allow for each of us to talk with another one, to create a space that allows for differing opinions but a common respect, and for a campus that cherishes differences.

I respect the other candidates running. I respect that all of us have a goal for a better student experience, what I am asking for is this same respect is granted to me. This is way bigger than a campaign; this is who we are as people and how we decide to treat one another. We have to be better at respecting one another. Iowa State can do better, we can all do better.

Rachael Barnes