by Dyanna Rivera
With teams already well into the campaign season this year at IE, students are now aware of each team’s key proposals moving into the second half of the campaigns.
Team Serendipity has outlined campus unity and holistic wellness within the community as the key components of their policies.
The Hive has a similar approach, centering their policies around uniting the Segovia and Madrid campus communities via improved communication strategies.
Meanwhile, Team Legacy has outlined social and sporting events as the most important policies for their campaign.
When asked about how each team would specifically improve communication between IE faculty, student government, and the general student body, Donovan Schar Davis, Segovia Academic Executive from team Serendipity, highlights that “if we’ve learned anything from this pandemic it’s the use of technology”. Davis then went on to explain Serendipity’s plans to take advantage of Slack, a team communications platform that students are already familiar with, to centralize and better organize communication to the student body.
Oskar Walker, the Madrid Academics Executive for The Hive, argues against this proposal, claiming that a better idea is to improve based off of Campus Groups, an app hardly used by students, to centralize communication. Walker claims that Campus Groups would be a better alternative considering that students don’t like Slack. But given that hardly anyone ever uses the app, nonetheless has it installed anywhere, what makes The Hive think that will be a better solution?
Team Legacy’s response was quite vague, emphasizing that communications is indeed an issue across campus stating that the solution lies more in the consistency of communication rather than the way that the communication itself is executed.
Another significant problem lies in several student complaints towards IE’s diversity and inclusion policy.
Team Serendipity expressed the view that the way to improve upon this problem is to tackle it at its root, which in their opinion lies with the admissions office. Serendipity proposed ideas to work with admissions to ensure that IE has a diverse student population. But have they seen the IE student body? Clearly it’s not an issue of race but rather biases that are subconsciously carried in by students and faculty from various cultures. It should be noted that this isn’t through any fault of their own, but is still evidently an issue to be acknowledged and handled maturely.
The Hive shared the same sentiment, agreeing that at the end of the day it’s not up to the student government to decide admissions or scholarship distribution. Walker reeled back to the use of Campus Groups as a means for students to directly communicate their concerns with sensitivity to the personal nature of these individual complaints. However, if students hardly use Campus Groups to begin with, such an approach acts more as a band-aid resolution to the problem rather than a concrete solution for students.
Team Legacy proposes that the problem lies in the lack of community between students. Their view is that if the student government helps to foster community, students will feel more compelled to express their concerns openly. Daniel Aguilera Quinn, Team Legacy’s president, insists that “fun and safety are two compatible things”. The issue is, is Legacy’s definition of fun really compatible with safety standards required by COVID?
When asked what each team would do in the case of receiving sanction from IE with respect to the university’s bylaws, Legacy emphasized that they would surely restructure their policies as necessary to address the issue. Addressing the elephant in the room, Legacy explained that students have been holding social events the entire academic year in accordance to sanitary regulations, so what’s stopping the university from doing so with a similar approach?
The problem is, highly contagious viruses have a tendency to spread in spaces with large numbers of people, for example the entire IE student body. And if Legacy wants to take inspiration from the student body’s behavior with social events, let’s be honest – how many of IE’s students are actually following these restrictions to the extent that they should? The reality is, if Team Legacy centers their policies on parties and large social events, it’s difficult to see how they can devise a satisfactory alternative in the event of receiving sanction.
The other two teams once again placed a heavy emphasis on clear and prompt communication with IE students regarding an apology and the restructuring of policies, primarily through social media. Although Walker from The Hive circled back once again to the usage of doing so via Campus Groups (which at this point may as well be dubbed one of the best innovations to come out of IE if it has so much potential to resolve the existing issues within the social and organizational infrastructure).
And finally, addressing the concern of next year’s transition to the new IE tower in Madrid from the old campus, each team did agree that the priority lies in the efficiency of communication between teams, faculty, and students.
The Hive and Team Legacy both expressed that communication will be the defining factor in how smoothly this transition goes over.
Serendipity however, brought to the forefront one of their most ambitious proposals: implementing a specialized bus for IE students from the old campus to the new tower. This all sounds eerily familiar though..almost like the metro system that every person in Madrid uses. Serendipity insists that this system is different as it will cut down on commute time for students since it will be made specifically for them. Looking at things from a student’s perspective, if they are already spending money every month to use the metro system, why would they spend even more money on a bus that goes from a campus that many undergraduate students may not even need to visit anymore? Not to mention the cost of implementing such a system. We know that IE is by no means in a position of financial struggle, but the demand in comparison to the price and effort of implementing this system just doesn’t add up well.
By the end of the debate however, all teams civilly agreed that student needs are at the forefront of all these issues, and that IE is in desperate need for improvements within its organizational structure considering the effect COVID has taken on academics, social life, and overall well-being. But are each team’s policies realistic enough to achieve their goals? On Monday, March 15th, we anticipate the details yet to come from each team as they argue their cases. Stay tuned, vote wisely, and remember to keep updated with the campaigns and elections via the Stork’s and student government’s Instagram pages @iestork and @ieustudentgov. Now is the time for change.