Board of Regents responds to students’ request for campus forums


Kennedy DeRaedt/Iowa State Daily

Regent Milt Dakovich (middle) starts the Board of Regents meeting. The regents hosted a meeting Feb. 27, 2019, in the Reiman Ballroom at the Alumni Center.

Jacob Smith

At its most recent meeting, the Board of Regents listened to Iowa State students’ concerns about campus climate and president Michael Richards said the Board will not organize campus forums.

Students traveled to the Board meeting at the University of Northern Iowa and demanded change come to universities after many controversial events occurred this semester.

“My name is Chris Simmons, and I am a proud and pissed off student from Iowa State,” Simmons said during the meeting. “Now, if I was a Board of Regents member I might be wondering, ‘What are all these students doing in my meeting? I make it pretty hard to come here.’ We’re here because we are sick and tired of going to universities that don’t seem to give a damn about their students.”

Speaking during the public comment time, Simmons brought up racial tensions on campus and tuition raises.

“We’re sick and tired of universities that allow white supremacists to organize on their campus without consequence,” Simmons said at the meeting. “I’m sick and damn tired of tuition hikes that are designed to keep working-class students like me out.”

In an Inside Iowa State article, Richards said the Board will not organize campus forums, one of the demands made by students during the meeting.

“They [students] were respectful of the board, and I certainly respect them,” Richards said in the article. “The regents don’t call public forums, but we would consider going to those.”

Iowa State’s campus has had multiple race-orientated issues throughout the semester that concerned students at the meeting.

The university implemented a temporary chalking policy after abortion arguments took place on sidewalks alongside multiple other events on campus, such as the defacement of Bean House in Geoffroy Hall with a racial slur and social media pictures surfacing of Student Government Adviser Alex Krumm with his face painted black. All of these events led to students protesting the events by blocking off Lincoln Way, demanding to speak with Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen.

Most recently, Kyle Francis Haney, an Iowa State student, was charged with first-degree harassment and fourth-degree criminal mischief for allegedly making comments and doing damage to a Frederiksen Court apartment.

Wintersteen addressed campus climate concerns in her speech to the Board during the meeting.

“This semester we have [engaged] with a new group on campus called Students Against Racism,” Wintersteen said during the meeting. “We’ve had a number of meetings with the students to hear about their concerns, to hear about their stories, and they presented us with a list of their demands.[…] [W]e responded to their demands, and those demands are now up on our campus climate webpage.”

Wintersteen said her administration will continue to update the community with current and future incidents through the campus climate webpage.