StuGov grants funding for Black Homecoming


Katherine Kealey

Most Iowa State student organizations are eligible to receive funding from the Senate.

Following the two-hour meeting with city council members, the Senate unanimously moved to fund Black Homecoming after thorough deliberation.

Black Homecoming, an event organized by the Black Student Alliance, African Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers and the National Panhellenic Council, was granted $4,790 from the Senate. According to the bill, the event is a campus-wide celebration of Black experience, fellowship and history at Iowa State University, with the goal of uplifting and curating the community in Iowa State’s student body.

Black Homecoming is set to start Monday, with events planned throughout the week. Events featured throughout the week will include a game night, body painting, roller skating and a tailgating party. Students of all backgrounds are encouraged to participate.

Liberal Arts & Sciences Senator Madeline Becker, a sophomore majoring in economics, initially said she would not vote in favor of the bill despite her support of the concept, as she believed Black Homecoming could come into fruition in a more efficient manner.

“Last week, when I heard that we weren’t seeing this bill, I was really concerned that Homecoming Central had done something that would alienate Black students,” Becker said. “So I reached out, and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m really concerned, you haven’t done enough to include all students on campus.’”

Becker read the response she received from the committee. It was also sent to the president of one of the student organizations behind Black Homecoming, which encouraged student organizations to capitalize on the resources they can provide.

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mary Malausky, a junior majoring in psychology, said Becker misunderstood the purpose of Black Homecoming. Malausky said one of the biggest contributing factors to the low retention and graduation rates among multicultural students is due to the lack of a sense of community.

Malausky said Black Homecoming will help Black students feel a sense of belonging and community, which would be further empowered by autonomously planning the event.

“Black students want to create that community for themselves, that [if] other people so choose to come to, they can,” Malausky said. “Because if we’re being real, black students don’t feel that level of acceptance.”

College of Design Senator Emi Thornton, a senior majoring in architecture, opened closing comments by condemning the roughly 36 minutes of questioning for Black Homecoming.

“I think we really need to remember that we serve students, and we aren’t meant to be intimidating them when they come to ask for help,” Thornton said. “Asking if they’ve utilized other methods of funding is totally normal. You do that for every club that comes in. We quickly, as the body, got out of hand.”

By out of hand, Thornton was referring to questions some senators were raising in regard to the planning of prospective Black Homecomings.

“We ended up asking them about a future event, with a future Senate, with future funding,” Thornton said. “We were basically trying to ask them to justify why they were here and said, ‘I’m scrutinizing what they’re spending money on.’”

Ivy College of Business Senator Arianna Burkes, a sophomore majoring in management information systems, said Wednesday’s Senate meeting serves as an example as to why students of color do not feel comfortable coming to institutional bodies seeking assistance.

“I feel like that you weren’t thinking of people of colors’ opinions and only focusing on how that affects you, and not how that affects the Black community or other people of color,” Burkes said, referring to the Senate body.

Thornton said they worry that if more students view the Senate’s line of questioning on the bill from YouTube, more students will be hesitant to approach the Senate for funding.

Next week

Next week, the Senate is set to address two funding bills: one for funding menstrual product dispensers for the Memorial Union’s 11 gender-neutral restrooms and one for the SCUBA Diving and Snorkeling Club. The line items are requesting $2,751.87 and $4,500, respectively.

The Senate holds public meetings at 6 p.m. Wednesdays in the Memorial Union’s Campanile Room.