GPSS hears from Board of Regents and University Counsel


The Graduate and Professional Student Senate met in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union on Sept. 27.

Charles Klepps

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) representatives listened to presentations by Regent David Barker from the Iowa Board of Regents and Michael Norton from the Office of University Counsel during their monthly meeting. 

Norton’s presentation focused on the First Amendment, and how it might impact the GPSS and Iowa State’s campus. He said that under the First Amendment, state actors cannot make laws that would restrict the freedom of speech for individuals. 

Norton said that the First Amendment establishes that most speech is protected on campus. He said there are specific exceptions that would have to be restricted. 

“The speech that we see on campus that most often falls outside of the protections of the First Amendment would be true threats, which is where someone actually threatens physical harm to someone in an immediate way,” Norton said. “But that again is a very narrow exception.”

Barker’s presentation discussed what the Board of Regents does. The Board is 111 years old and was formed to oversee the combining of governance between the state’s three public institutions of higher learning. 

The three programs included the State University of Iowa in Iowa City, the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Ames and the University of Northern Iowa Teachers College in Cedar Falls. The Board of Regents has also overseen the Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School. 

Barker said that the responsibilities and powers of the Board of Regents can be found in the Iowa Code Chapter 262, however, he said the language is broad. 

“If you look through that Chapter, the Board of Regents have a lot of authority over the universities,” Barker said. “We really operate as a broad oversight board that sets policy, and we expect the universities to implement those policies, but to have a lot of freedom and leeway to implement them in ways they see fit.”

The monthly meeting did not contain any internal matters or new business, however, during the executive reports, year three veterinary medicine student and GPSS President Chelsea Iennarella-Servantez informed the GPSS that Senate Information Officer Kate Alucard has resigned due to personal reasons. 

Alucard is in her fourth year of veterinary medicine. Her resignation will be effective at the end of the semester. Iennarella-Servantez said that they will be taking nominations to fill the position. 

GPSS will next meet at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 in the Sun Room at the Memorial Union, or the meeting can be accessed virtually.