Frustrations with Student Government voiced at forum


Student Government, featuring Vice President Jacob Schrader and Speaker of the Senate Jacob Ludwig, conducting their weekly meetings.

Jake Tubbs

Editors’s note: A previous version of this article misstated Sen. Dawson Weathers said “With all due respect […]” when it was said by Sen. Daniel Pfeifer. A previous version misstated Vice President Schrader left the meeting, the line as since been omitted. A previous version of this article misquoted Eliana Crab and has since been corrected. The tweet from Rita Mookerjee was corrected to better reflect the discussion. The Daily deeply regrets these error. 

An open forum at Student Government’s meeting Wednesday night allowed students to voice their concerns and ask for change regarding the organization’s response to a professor’s tweets.

The discussion of the night stemmed from two tweets by Rita Mookerjee, an assistant teaching professor at Iowa State.

“That said, it is foolish to dismiss student critique. Always listen but, learn to accept that whyte man with dirty hair and wrinkled clothes will always be more liked and higher ranked,” Mookerjee wrote in a tweet.

Many responses arose after Mookerjee’s tweet. One of which was from President Morgan Fritz and Vice President Jacob Schrader. According to a written statement released Tuesday by the duo, the statements made by Mookerjee were unacceptable. 

“The tweets from the panelist (Mookerjee) do not reflect the views of Student Government: we believe that prejudice based on race or the color of someone’s skin is wrong in all contexts.”

This was met with resistance at the meeting as many saw the statement from Schrader and Fritz’s as well as certain actions they have made throughout their term as insensitive and false. 

Eliana Crabb, junior in hospitality management and director of outreach, was one student who disagreed with Fritz and Schrader.

“The statement was released by President Morgan Fritz and Vice President Jacob Schrader regarding a diversity and inclusion panelist for Women’s Week conference,” Crabb said. “As members of Student Government and creators of Women’s Week in the diversity inclusion panel, we do not agree with the statement.”

Many other students also echoed Crabb’s perspective and aired their frustrations to the audience. One of which criticized the Fritz-Schrader administration on their handling of the senator and president of College Republicans, Ryan Hurley. 

“So here we have one from the College Republicans at Iowa State,” said Breanna Diaz, junior in child, family and adult services and vice president of community outreach for the Multicultural Greek Council. “They quoted a thing from the Washington Post that was talking about the immigration enforcement. ‘Please come to Ames, so many illegals that must be deported.’ That’s harmful. I am Mexican. I have friends that that’s harmful to them, but nothing was done there.” 

However, some current senators backed Fritz-Schrader.

“With all due respect, I think multiple people here tonight have been extremely rude to the president and the vice president tonight, and I hope that doesn’t continue in the future,” Sen. Daniel Pfeifer said.

Fritz and Schrader were under a microscope, with questions presented, answers were needed. In response to their statement, Fritz defended her action as it was in defense of the First Amendment.  

“However, because the students came to us more comfortable with the content of these tweets, we felt that it was worthwhile to release a statement, reaffirming the First Amendment and the panelist’s ability to share their expertise as a scholar of women and gender studies,” Fritz said.  “And as a woman of color, while still being able to address the concerns of students who found issue with the tweets.”

After a five-minute recess, Speaker of the Senate Jacob Ludwig took over Schrader’s seat and facilitated the remaining of the session. Crabb, who was explaining a story about Diversity and Inclusion Director, Lauryn Perk, talked about Perk’s experience with Schrader. 

“Jacob Schrader has made her feel the most disrespected she’s ever felt in her life,” Crabb said.  “She is a woman of color. We deal with that every second of every day. So for her to feel like she’s in a safe spot and to also be appointed, and for her to feel the most disrespected she’s ever felt in her life and not get an apology. It is disgusting. And it makes me so sad.”

The night came to an end as Mariana Gonzalez, vice speaker and candidate for vice president in this year’s election, talked about what it feels like for her to be a person who is not white. 

“And unfortunately, people of color have to put it on the back burner,” Gonzalez said. “We have to be a college student, we have to be a worker, we have to be a sister, a babysitter, we have to be so many of these identities. The largest one we face is the color of our skin.”