Cardinal View

The Daily Cardinal endorses Clinton, Feingold and budget increase for Madison's public schools

The Daily Cardinal Editorial Board takes a look at the 2016 Election.

Image By: Rodney Lambright II

Clinton deserves student vote for recognition of campus sexual assault

Hillary Clinton must be our next president.

She is immensely qualified. Sexist rhetoric may call her bitchy and cold, but these negative terms can be reclaimed to describe two of her most important presidential traits—her intelligence and unwavering calm.

In the succinct words of President Barack Obama, “[there is] nobody more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”

Trying to describe Clinton’s qualifications requires a laundry list of her successes, throughout her varied roles as first lady, a senator and secretary of state. For over three decades, Clinton has been refining the skills necessary to be an excellent leader.

Some young people are considering not voting or voting for a third party candidate because they view this election as voting for the “lesser of two evils.” Our editorial board sees only one evil: Donald Trump.

The candidate who is literally divisive, who wants to build a wall between our country and Mexico. A man spewing aggressive and condescending language on the level of hate and bias claims on this campus. The candidate who brushes off sexual assault and rape culture as “locker room talk.”

Based on her stance on sexual assault alone, Clinton is the best candidate for students. The recent arrest of UW-Madison student Alec Cook, an alleged serial rapist, has reminded our campus that rape culture is an ongoing and pervasive issue.

More than one in four undergraduate women will be assaulted during their time at UW-Madison, and these rates nearly double for certain marginalized identities, according to the 2015 AAU survey. These statistics stress that sexual assault is something that affects—whether directly or through fellow students—every single student on campus.

This is a community issue that we do not have the privilege to ignore.

The Obama Administration has made progress through the “It’s On Us" campaign, focusing on sexual assault awareness, that we cannot go back on. Electing Clinton will not only continue this initiative, but expand on it.

Clinton’s  platform on education has prioritized addressing sexual assault on campus, divided into three areas. The first discusses the importance of inclusivity in providing comprehensive support to survivors. We need to provide resources to students to ensure that they are heard. As Clinton stresses in a video addressing survivors, “You have a right to be believed.”

Having a president who recognizes the intersections and nuances of campus sexual assault is essential.

The second aspect of Clinton’s plan is to ensure a fair process. The process of reporting sexual assault, as discussed last fall by our  editorial board, can be difficult to navigate, especially in the wake of trauma. Clinton’s description concurs, calling reporting confusing and convoluted.

While we should be striving to improve the reporting process for survivors, increasing prevention efforts is paramount—as addressed by the third component of Clinton’s plan.

The Tonight Program is an example of an attempt at proactive education on sexual assault. Its recent reboot is a positive sign of the university being willing to re-evaluate and improve prevention efforts. These changes are in line with Clinton’s policy, which states “It’s not enough to address this problem by responding only once sexual assault occurs—we need to redouble our prevention efforts and start them earlier.”

In stark contrast to Clinton, Trump hasn’t released any details about a plan to prevent sexual assault on college campuses. He has proven again and again that he doesn’t understand what sexual assault is, defending his respect for women despite mounting reports of his own egregious behavior.

A student leader on our campus, former Student Council Representative  Kenneth Cole, recently stepped down from his seat amid allegations of sexual assault less numerous than those currently leveled against Trump.

Hundreds of students signed the petition for Cole to step down, demonstrating our community’s judgment. If we can expect a member of Student Council to resign following assault allegations, then we can and should hold presidential nominees to a higher standard.

Other members of UW-Madison’s student government said their ability to work with student organizations focusing on sexual assault on campus, such as PAVE and EVOC, was hindered before Cole’s resignation. Allegations against a Student Council member have the power to negatively affect student government’s relationships with advocacy groups; imagine the impact reports of sexual assault by a president will have on national climate.

Voting is a simple way to impact national and local climate. It is a way for each and every citizen to voice their judgment of which candidate they want representing our nation. Casting a ballot may seem arbitrary, but has real ramifications for our university and community.

For students who think sexual assault is a problem on campus—which should be all students—Clinton deserves your vote.

Feingold’s student debt policy makes him best choice for undergrads

As of 2016, 44.2 million Americans cumulatively owe over $1.3 trillion in student debt. Students who graduated in the Class of 2016 left school with an average of $37,000 in debt. This issue impacts young people nationwide, and is no different in Madison—70 percent of students in Wisconsin graduated with debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. This year’s election deals with many important issues, but to the students here, college affordability and accessibility should be a top priority.

Incumbent United States Senator Ron Johnson, and former Senator Russ Feingold continue to battle in one of the most important down-ballot races in this year’s election. The Democrats hope to retake control of the Senate, and a Feingold victory would go a long way in helping them achieve their goal. Feingold’s commitment to the needs of all Wisconsinites, as well as his superior plan to make college more affordable, make him the right candidate for the job.

Helping students with debt has been one of Feingold’s main focuses since he launched his campaign. The former senator has spent time at more than a dozen college campuses over the course of this campaign speaking to students, demonstrating a commitment to put his constituents’ interests first.

Feingold’s devotion to everyday Wisconsinites shines through in his plan to make college affordable to all. He supports increased budgets from the states, which would make a college education more accessible to those who struggle to afford it. He also seeks to allow students burdened with loans to refinance their debts—a process that’s already been implemented effectively to help Americans pay their mortgages.

His stance on the issue contrasts sharply with Johnson’s, who infamously stated that student loans were “kind of free money” in 2015. Johnson has also insinuated that many students don’t graduate in four years because “college is fun” and that students don’t focus their freshman year.

UW-Madison students should take many issues into account when considering candidates this year, but student debt and college accessibility should be a top priority to all—even those who don’t have debt themselves. Students need a representative in Washington who will advocate for them and their interests. Russ Feingold’s genuine drive and desire to work on making college affordable to all, as well as his long history of promoting a progressive agenda that would better the lives of his constituents, make him the clear choice.

School referendum key to future Badgers’ quality of education

As voters flood to the polls this year, it’s easy to get so distracted by the presidential candidates that the backside of your ballot becomes nearly forgettable. This Election Day there’s one extra box for Madison voters to check: a referendum to increase Madison public schools’ budget.

Currently the district’s revenue cap places a limit on how much money the school district can raise through state general aid and property tax. This Madison Metropolitan School District 2016 Operational Budget referendum would permanently increase the school district’s revenue limit by $26 million across four years

For UW-Madison students who don’t have children in the public schools, this may seem unimportant. However, a large percentage of the thousands of K-12 students throughout Madison will become Badgers just like current students.

Without the referendum, upwards of 120 workforce positions are in jeopardy. Less teachers means bigger class sizes, leading to less individual attention per student. A $26 million budget increase sounds hefty, but breaks down to an average property taxpayer impact of $36 per year.

The referendum would help the large amount of Madison students who live below the poverty line and ensure additional teachers to give each child attention in class, not just students living in the wealthier suburbs of Madison. Limiting a young student’s chance at a valuable education because paying a few extra dollars a year is irritating is not an excuse.

Every student deserves the right to an enriching education. These kids can’t vote on Tuesday, but the quality of their future lies in the hands of people who aren’t even in the public schools. If we want an educated future electorate then we have to educate youth now. Granting MMSD this $26 million budget increase gives students a better education, which should be a right—not a privilege.

If the referendum doesn’t pass, the board would face a $12 million budget cut for the 2017-’18 school year, just the start of many cuts to come. If UW-Madison students were upset about the recent budget cuts the UW System faced, they should care about this just as much. It’s time to think of the students this Election Day; vote “yes” on the referendum, and give the next generation of students a chance.

Cardinal View editorials represent The Daily Cardinal’s organizational opinion. Each editorial is crafted independent of news coverage. Please send all comments, questions and concerns to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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