Student Government discusses Start by Believing, campus lighting


Kennedy DeRaedt/Iowa State Daily

Jon Roettger and Rhett Thys listen to guest speaker, Aaron Delashmutt, the ISU Police Chief at the Student Government meeting. The meeting took place on Mar. 2 at 7:00 at the Memorial Union. Delashmutt talked about safety and other topics.

Zach Clemens

Student Government Senate discussed a new campaign to combat sexual assault that would be coupled with Its On Us, called Start by Believing.

The senators also reexamined a bill to improve campus lighting and had a dialogue with the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate  Wednesday night.

A campaign supported by ISU police was unanimously passed that proclaims Its On Us and Start by Believing. Start by Believing refers a national campaign that calls for all to believing a victim when she or he says they have been sexually assaulted.

A bill that was previously tabled by the senate reappeared on the agenda and aims to improve lighting on campus. The bill would add two new light poles and replace some light bulbs between Carver and Parks library for a cost of $3,500.

After much discussion, the bill was tabled indefinitely by a vote of 17 to 16 with one absentia.

“I have the same issue I had before [when the same bill came up in January], student fees should go toward student activities, not lighting,” said Sen. Cole Staudt.

Sen. Danielle Nygard also wondered if it was worth it to fund this type of project.

“I think this is something a lot of students would like to see,” Sen. Cole Button said. “I think there is a perception that we only fund student organizations, and this would be a good move to show we can make a difference.”

Sen. Curtis Richards said that he was in favor because this is a student safety issue and is important.

“Student safety goes above all else regardless of cost,” said Sen. Anthony Hansen. “I urge you all to vote yes on this.”

Sen. Meredith Cook, an original author of the bill, said after reflection this sends a wrong narrative to survivors of assault, that a stranger will attack you in the dark, while she said the vast majority of assaults are perpetrated by someone they know.

“If you want to change the view on sexual assault, change your culture,” Cook said.

Vice Speaker of the Senate Michael Snook said he believes this should be a resolution, not a funding bill and that Student Government should call on administration to make campus lighting a priority.

GPSS President Zachary Zenko, a graduate student in kinesiology, spoke at the meeting and commended Student Government on raising the voter turnout during the elections last week. He did have some suggestions on future elections due to the issues of some voters not receiving ballots.

“I would suggest a graduate or professional student be permanently placed on the election commission,” Zenko said. “We deal with mass emails [performing surveys and research] a lot and can be helpful dealing with this because we have more experience.”

Zenko said that he suspected that only approximately 300 graduate students got their ballot was because the email was based on a primary major and many graduate students are interdisciplinary.

Student Government also voted to allocate $354.63 to the ISU table tennis club by unanimous consent.