Why I Support UNI Stronger Together

Dylan Keller, Hunter and Avery’s Campaign Manager

My name is Dylan Keller and I am a 2nd year graduate student in the Department of History. I am from Donnellson, IA in the Southeast portion of the state (Iowa’s little Florida). I support Hunter Avery’s campaign for student body president & vice president, because they have a clear, specific vision that will bring our university together. These are fine gentlemen who I have nothing but the utmost respect for and I’m confident they are the leaders this campus needs.

Hunter & Avery understand the limitations of their positions and are willing to give the student body action and results we need to improve campus relations. There is no such thing as a “SAA/CATS/Greek Life Clique” on campus. To say so, shows you do not fully understand how each group benefits, supports and improves campus life for all. They have different purposes and do not isolate themselves to a single part or group at UNI. I am lucky enough to be involved in SAA and proud to share this experience with Hunter & Avery.

Their positive message resonates in a time where students are feeling victimized because of actions, beliefs, and physical characteristics they cannot control. I am part of those students facing a level of discrimination, harassment, and bullying.

I often self-describe myself as a Japanese, Republican, Mennonite from Southeast Iowa. Many people are taken aback not about my ethnicity, political affiliation, or my hometown, but the fact that I am Mennonite. Mennonites are often clumped in with Amish, which is not an accurate association. We share many of the same virtues, but see a purpose engaging in society. Mennonites are pacifists that do not support violence in any form, so being bullied, harassed, or attacked puts me in a difficult situation. I have fiery urges to respond to my attackers with physical or verbal retaliation, but consistently choose to be silent or ignore the situation until it subsides.

Since the third grade I have been bullied, harassed and limited, because of my ethnicity, beliefs, and opinions. I thought by going to UNI I would get a second chance to define myself; not on my characteristics, but on my merit and work ethic. I am glad I did not need this second chance, because UNI offered me an opportunity to be confident in who I am. I support my pacifist beliefs, but have grown to not be silent or ignore these situations.

Posted on Hunter Avery: Stronger Together Facebook Page, February 21 @ 1:07AM
Private Message sent to a supporter on February 21 @ 1:08 AM

I serve as Hunter and Avery’s campaign manager and should not have to respond to these slanderous statements and forms of harassment. I do not have my name on the ballot nor do I hold any office in student government. Mr. Friel and I never held a conversation discussing my beliefs or opinions on LGBT* students, nor have we held any substantive conversation besides the causal hello. His accusations are blatant lies. I am not anti-LGBT* nor do I have a history opposing advancements within the LGBT* community at UNI.

My only intent on sharing this with the UNI community is to show that our campus is still being subjected to these forms of online attacks, harassment and bullying. I respect your opinion Mr. Friel, but to call me a “toxic asset” with no previous interaction is what’s disgusting. The wedge issues you raise in these midnight posts are not beneficial to the campaign or the student body. There is room for debate and rebuttals on platform issues, experience, and leadership qualities. However, to personally attack my friends on their character, beliefs, and my association with their campaign has gone to far too be ignored.

Our campus requires student leaders that fully understand the gravitas of our situation. Hunter & Avery not only will provide great leadership, but humility, compassion, and a new energy that will bring UNI together. I am honored to work with Hunter & Avery on the campaign and strongly urge the students of UNI to consider voting for this ticket on Tuesday & Wednesday.

We can be Stronger Together!