Student Government passes $13,500 bill to fund STD testing

College of Human Sciences Senator Wyatt Scheu talks about organizations who help support Student Government. Student Government held a meeting Feb. 13 in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union.

Madelyn Ostendorf

Student Government officially voted to fund free, confidential STD testing for 300 students Wednesday night.

Sen. Wyatt Scheu introduced the bill to fund STD testing for 300 Iowa State students on behalf of Student Government’s Director of Health & Wellness Laura Pesquera Colom.

“Many students don’t have health insurance to cover the costs when getting tested through Thielen, and/or do not want the tests to be visible to their legal guardians,” according to the bill.

The bill required $13,500 to fund the testing for up to 100 students per month for three months. Each month, events will be held to provide the testing, and if not all the kits are used, they do not expire and can be used another time.

A non-profit STD testing service came to Iowa State twice in 2018, and this bill would allow three four-hour STD testing events in one semester.

Sen. Anne Miller said the finance committee sent the bill with no bias as they did not feel they had enough information, and that Pesquera Colom had answered their questions.

Finance Director Seth Carter said no matter who pays for it, Student Government or Thielen, it will be student fees paying for it, and urged the senators to look at the bill solely on its utility.

“You cannot deny that college students are very sexually active,” Carter said. “It’s part of a larger problem of STDs spreading rapidly, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to see it as Student Government’s role to assume duty and help subsidize the cost.”

Sen. Madison Mueller said she was concerned about spending more than $13,000 and only being able to give assistance to 300 students and that funding should go to the benefit of a majority of students.

During the debate, Scheu emphasized that STD testing impacts more than just the student who gets tested.

“I can’t believe we’re having this hard of a time with it to be perfectly honest,” Scheu said.

Director of Student Services Zhara Barkley said this was an important bill to fund due to the stigma surrounding sexual health and the impact that the testing has on students’ lives.

The funding request was passed with a vote of 24-2-1.

“I’m happy that it wasn’t just people not putting much thought into it,” Scheu said. “I encourage more talking than less. I think its an important issue, and I like it when everyone in Student Government is in agreement.”

Additionally, the Senate debated and voted on seven funding bills, sat a senator and reviewed a resolution.

Pesquera Colom also requested $3,571 to fund Mental Health Awareness Week from March 11 to 14. The funding would cover food, events, lecturer costs and advertising.

The funding request was passed with a vote of 27-0-0.

Speaker Cody Woodruff introduced a resolution called “Higher Education Legislative Priorities of University Students.”

The resolution commends Gov. Kim Reynolds for fulfilling the Regents’ request, including approving more than $7 million in additional funding for Iowa State and urges the Iowa legislature to do more, as tuition for the 2019-2020 school year is expected to rise 3 percent.

The resolution was approved by unanimous consent.

Woodruff also moved to waive a bylaw that excluded Election Commission, as a student organization, to be in the “funding tier.” Student Government bylaws currently do not allow organizations that are not open to all students, such as Election Commission, in the funding tier. 

Woodruff’s motion to waive the bylaw only for the Election Commission received no objections.

The program for the evening was conducted by the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Margo Freeman, the assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion and equal opportunity, spoke to the Senate about an upcoming 2019 American Associated Universities sexual assault survey for Iowa State students, which will function similarly to the previous campus climate survey but with questions focused on sexual assaults students have experienced.

The Advertising Club, a club focused on networking with communications professionals and learning about careers in advertising and marketing, requested $556.32 in funding to assist in paying for transportation to and from an event in Austin, Texas.

The funding request was passed with a vote of 24-0-0.

The Central Iowa Student Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications requested $85.91 to assist in decreasing their costs for students attending professional events and touring businesses in Des Moines and Ankeny, as well as advertising for their club in an effort to increase membership.

The funding request was passed with a vote of 24-0-0.

The Descarga Latin Dance Club, which teaches students and Ames community members about an important aspect of Latin American culture, requested $500 to help pay for students’ conference registration, advertising and a salsa DJ, equipment and decorations for the club’s dances.

The funding request was passed with a vote of 24-0-1.

The Kuwaiti Student Association, a club that aspires to help Kuwaiti students settle in a new environment and meet other Kuwaitis as well as students of all nationalities, requested $972 to assist in paying for a Kuwaiti National Day event’s advertising, transportation, food and drinks.

The Kuwaiti Student Association went to the finance committee to inform them that the club no longer required funding, so the bill was postponed indefinitely.

The PAS Student Chapter, a national, student-led organization that allows students to build and sharpen their skills so that they are ready for the workplace, requested $2,629.72 to cover registration fees for two conferences. 

The funding request was passed with a vote of 24-0-1.

The University Affairs Committee requested $1,381.49 to fund a banner project aimed at honoring remarkable women from STEM at Iowa State. The funding would help to pay for 10 banners, cookies, punch and a technician.

The funding request was passed with a vote of 27-0-0.

Student Government is working with the Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology to develop an online voting service. The administrative fees, labor and supplies will cost $4,500.

The funding request was passed with a vote of 27-0-0.

Student Government also seated Sen. Zach Mass to the Civic Engagement Committee.

Mass was confirmed by unanimous consent.

Nine pieces of new business were introduced at the meeting.

For more information or to contact your senator, visit The senate meetings are open to the public at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story misspelled Sen. Madison Mueller’s name. It has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of her name. The Daily regrets this error.