Student body requests action while Student Government listens


Students of marginalized communities spoke out against microaggressions they faced while serving Student Government and attending Iowa State on March 17 during their weekly meetings.

Jake Tubbs

Editors note: A former version of  this story stated Hurley was impeached. The story now reports that senate voted to further investigate the tweets. The Daily regrets this error. 

An intense discussion from last week’s Student Government meeting bled into this week’s as multicultural students talked about their experiences with racism, the Fritz-Schrader administration was called upon to speak on their actions. The impeachment of Sen. Ryan Hurley was at the top of Student Government’s agenda resulting in a vote to investigate the situation. 

As many as 40 students from the student body were in attendance Wednesday. Many leaders of multicultural organizations and marginalized communities came to speak their mind about the ongoing events. 

Every meeting, the Student Government has an open forum, a space allocated for the student body to speak their minds on problems they believe to be relevant, at the beginning of each meeting. 

While some past meetings saw no students approach the podium, the open forum lasted over one and half hours during this week’s meeting as many students came up and preached into the mic. 

The Senate voted on how much time speakers were allotted. During the public forum, one student pointed out those who opposed allocating more time for speakers were all white people.

One speaker was Breanna Diaz, vice president of the Multicultural Greek Council. Diaz talked about her perspective and how she wants many of the white students on campus to realize their privilege.

“The opportunity to get a degree for the majority of white students was never seen as a question,” Diaz said. “A lot of white students can tell you that they came to Iowa State because this is where their parents went. However, for most of the multicultural students, this is something that most of our parents could only ever dream of.”

Diaz also added that though white and minority students come for the same reason, it is minority students that have to jump through more hoops to achieve the same goal. 

“We are here for the same reason as many of you, yet it’s different,” Diaz said. “We fight harder every single day to achieve our goals because we have so many more obstacles. We have to create our own spaces for our voices to be heard. When we are mad and tired we get called rude and disrespectful, and you would be too.”

Following Diaz was the president of the Multicultural Greek Council, Scott Nguyen. Nguyen called out several senators with it mainly revolving around Vice President Schrader and Sen. Daniel Pfeifer. 

“You are a weak and incompetent leader,” Nguyen said talking to Schrader. “You are a part of the problem of white supremacy. And that forces women, specifically women of color, to kneel where you are able to stand. Despite that system being against them, they will always stand taller than you will ever be able to. Instead of apologizing and making amends, you said nothing. Your lack of apology speaks volumes about your character and your leadership, or in your case your lack thereof.”

Nguyen also shed light on a previous comment made by Pfeifer where he said the people talking to Fritz and Schrader were “rude” as well as accused Pfeifer of not respecting his women of color colleagues.

“The fact that you were disrespectful to all these women shows how small your male ego is,” Nguyen said to Pfeifer. “You are also a gaslighter for invalidating the experiences for people of color, which shows us how fragile your white ego is.”

At the end of his speech, Nguyen justified his anger and pleaded for Student Government to do better.

“Literally nobody is angry at you for the color of your skin,” Nguyen said. “We are angry because in the face of social injustice you are a coward for hiding under the disguise, ‘racism’ to mask your white feelings and small male ego.”

It was also brought up by Brandon Coppinger, freshman in aerospace engineering, that the College Republicans United at Iowa State, then called Iowa State College Republicans, violated the Iowa State Student Code of Conduct. 

In regards to the since-deleted tweet made by the College Republicans that told their followers to “arm up,” article 3.9 part one in the Student Code of Conduct states that a student is in violation if his or her conduct, “involves threatened or actual physical injury to another person, or endangers other persons.”

A now former Student Government member also came to the meeting to share her thoughts. Lauryn Perk, the former diversity and inclusion director, spoke her mind as well as talked about the notion of “reverse racism.”

“Last Wednesday I witnessed the word ‘racist’ used in reference in comments made about white people and heard the statement that we should allow everyone’s opinions to be heard no matter how racist or dangerous,” Perk said. “The definition of racism is the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic and political advantage of another. Last time I checked there was not an entire established system or multiple systems in this country working against the white majority.”

As the last speaker left the podium, Vice Speaker Mariana Gonzalez put an end to the forum. 

“Thank you to everyone who came here tonight to speak, to listen, to hear what we had to say,” Gonzalez said. “It means a lot knowing that there is a presence and that there is a student body that cares because a lot of the time people don’t think that actually impacts us (Student Government) but it does.”

After a short break and some financial bills that quickly made it through, another bill that would change the look of the Senate came to the table. 

Hurley, who is also the president of the College Republicans United at Iowa State, was previously up for impeachment in Student Government back in November. Hurley, who served on Inter-Residence Hall Association (IRHA), was unanimously voted off the IRHA for tweets his organization made.

Though his impeachment hearing was supposed to be heard in November, Hurley did have time to appeal his IRHA situation so it was taken off the bill. 

With a Winter Break and half of a semester to sort out the situation, the impeachment with Hurley made it back onto the agenda this week. 

An initial impeachment hearing about Hurley turned into a bill that was about an investigation Hurley was entitled to by the Rules Committee.

Soon after an opening statement by Sydney Ryckaert, IRHA president, was made, much of the bill was changed. 

Ryckaert argued that Hurley was not an IRHA senator because the IRHA does not recognize him as a member of their team. Since his last attended meeting on Nov. 5, Ryckaert said Hurley has not been involved in any activity since that time.

However, Hurley said he did send an email to appeal and was told, via email by associate director of the Memorial Union Kristine Heflin, that he was unable to appeal at that time and the Student Government took no such action as of that time. 

With an apparent lack of investigation by the Student Government’s Rules Committee, it was voted that Hurley receive an investigation. 

Though Sen. Sehba Faheem, the author of the Hurley impeachment bill, does have concerns as a new administration and Senate will take power soon. 

“(h)e is running again to benefit off of his position as IRHA senator. IRHA elected that he is not a senator and he should not be able to use that,” Faheem said.

Hurley said he will not be able to attend any Rules Committee meetings for the next three weeks. With a new administration and Senate body coming into power soon, Hurley is running for reelection under his same name tag as an IRHA senator. If he is not able to attend a Rules Committee investigation meeting in the next three weeks, Hurley will be able to use the IRHA name tag in his reelection as he will not have been impeached by that time.