Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Double Secret Probation

Patel Pushed on UI Dropout?

The attacks on city council candidate Raj Patel's credibility are sure to escalate after Patel announced that, while remaining enrolled at Kirkwood, he was withdrawing from his UIowa classes.

I'm already hearing it: Ooh! Ooh! Gotcha! Quitter! Quitter! He's so OVERWHELMED by school that there's no WAY he can run the city! Better leave it to the grownups!

So what gives? Why open yourself up to that? Patel only hints at a darker side to the story. Here's the key line:
"The evolution of the flexibility of my University of Iowa courses had changed as my campaign began to show momentum, whereas my Kirkwood classes remain flexible, and I will continue to attend classes there full-time while the campaign continues," the release said.

The evolution of the flexibility of my University of Iowa courses had changed.

I have no smoking guns here. But I do have Occam's Razor.

Picture this scenario. You're an undergrad with a big extracurricular or personal deadline mid-semester. In my case it was speech nationals the last week of April. For you it might be your brother's wedding in October. Or it might be... an election November 8. You know the date months in advance. You go to your prof or TA on Day One and make some arrangements. They know you're not just procrastinating, they work with you.

But then you stick your neck out, and all of a sudden you're on Double Secret Probation.

Given the reports about UI pressure to remove Patel as student liaison to the city council, it's not hard to picture. A couple undocumented calls from administrators to department heads, a couple quiet closed door sitdowns between department heads and professors, a couple marching orders to TAs, and all of a sudden a fellow has less "flexibility" than he used to on extended deadlines or make-up tests.

Did they do it? I don't know and I don't think we ever will.

But did they think it?

The University of Iowa administration does NOT want this man on the city council. They do not like him. They are afraid that because of Patel's advocacy for student rights in the 21 bar brawl last year, he wants to repeal the ordinance. That's a position that Patel explicitly rejects, and that no one other than John Deeth is willing to support in public.

Student government, no doubt feeling that same pressure again, is hemming and hawing about its prior endorsement of Patel:

UISG formally endorsed Patel Oct. 4. The motion was previously tabled, because some senators expressed concern Michelle Payne — a part-time student at the UI — should also be considered.

UISG Speaker of the Senate Nic Pottebaum said the legislation would stand unless a UISG senator proposed legislation to overturn it. (no doubt forthcoming...)

But UISG President Elliot Higgins said Patel's withdrawal as a UI student "may change the dynamics of the race."

"It's up to the voters of Iowa City whether Raj does represent the voice of students, but it's difficult to claim yourself as the voice of students if you're not a University of Iowa student," Higgins said.

Gimme a break. Who is truly representative of students, the largest unrepresented group of voters in the city:

  • A 46 year old Republican working for Mid-American Energy and backed by the elite of the Old Guard, Love the Hawkeyes Hate the Students, local conservatives (campaign finance report, .pdf) who happens to be enrolled in a couple classes, or

  • A 20 year old recognized leader in the student community taking a semester off and still enrolled at Kirkwood?

    The answer, and the choice, is clear.
  • 1 comment:

    Eric said...

    Right on, John!