Jischke takes up diversity on TV show

Tracy Deutmeyer

As a guest on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” show Sunday, Iowa State President Martin Jischke said he thinks Iowa State is on the right diversity track.

Jischke told Mike Glover, of the Associated Press, and Kay Henderson, of Radio Iowa, that the first step on the agenda is to articulate why diversity is important.

ISU, Jischke said, has been working to strengthen its academic programs that relate to the students’ understanding of diversity. He said ISU is also working on the recruitment and retention of students and addressing issues of climate.

“We want all of our students to succeed, including in particular, our minority students,” he said. “That’s the agenda for ISU, and I think it’s the right agenda.”

But the agenda for awareness was not the only diversity issue Jischke discussed on Sunday’s show.

He said, once again, that Carrie Chapman Catt deserves the recognition ISU is giving her by dedicating a building in her name.

“I am not prepared to recommend to the Board of Regents the change of the name of Carrie Chapman Catt Hall,” he said. “I believe there is at least one other interpretation of what she said that would lead you to conclude that she is not a racist.”

Jischke said he hopes ISU has been sensitive to all concerns of various groups involved with the Catt debate.

He said ISU has met with faculty, staff and students, held discussions with alumni and citizens of Iowa concerning the issue, and read everything that has been written by Catt and critics.

“I think we have been pretty open, but there’s a disagreement. To be frank, there are students who don’t agree with the positions I have taken, and I respect their right to disagree,” he said. “But my own conclusion is that the university has made the right decision in naming the building after … Catt.”