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Iowa State Daily

Iowa, UNI StuGovs “very cautious” to join resolution supporting DEI

The+Graduate+and+Professional+Student+Senate+meet+on+the+last+Monday+of+the+month.
Biong Biong
The Graduate and Professional Student Senate meet on the last Monday of the month.

During the Graduate and Professional Student Senate’s (GPSS) monthly meeting on Monday, the body’s Vice President Eddie Mahoney, a graduate student in computer science, said that the Student Government bodies at UNI and Iowa would not join a resolution in support of DEI prior to the Board of Regents meeting in November.

In an interview with the Daily, Mahoney said that when finalized, the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) resolution will give support for the current programs and oppose “substantial changes” to those programs.

“[The programs] do impact students, they do impact our academics, they do impact our recruitment and they’re a boon to this campus,” Mahoney said.

The joint resolution was initially planned for all of the regent universities’ governing student bodies, but Mahoney said the bodies outside of Ames are being “very cautious” and “are worried about making too much noise.”

“We’re talking about going forward with it ourselves because we feel like we need to make a little bit of noise,” Mahoney said. “We’re fielding a lot of questions. People are very confused and nervous. We’re losing staff to this, we’re losing students to this and we just want to say you know, at least we’re trying to do something.”

The GPSS will not meet again prior to the Board of Regents’ meeting in November, but Mahoney said Iowa State’s governing student bodies are working together on a resolution that can be adapted depending on the “aggressiveness” of the recommendations to cut funding.

“We’re writing and working on things so that we can be prepared with something either way because the Board of Regents is only one battle, the Legislature might be a whole nother one and no one really knows what’s happening there, not even the admin,” Mahoney said.

GPSS President Christine Cain, a graduate student in education, said during the meeting that the Board of Regents has moved the discussion on their DEI report to the end of the second day of their meetings to, “avoid I think, some potential backlash they are anticipating.”

Additional Measures

Efrain Rodríguez-Ocasio, a graduate in chemical and biological engineering, will step down as the GPSS Senate engagement officer at the end of the semester to work at a national lab in California.

“Efrain has been instrumental in moving from the old executive council committee to where we are now,” GPSS Conference Chair Ryan Everett said. “I think he made the best of being a Senate engagement officer; he has been more engaging than anyone, […] he has made things really work and gotten way more people involved in what’s been going on here.”

An election will be held to fill the vacancy during the next GPSS meeting.

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