Students reflect on fall multicultural open forum, eager for change


Brian Mozey/Iowa State Daily

The Great Hall is packed with students, staff, professors and the Ames community on Sept. 30 because of the Iowa State Open Forum. The forum was based off of the Cy-Hawk protest on Sept. 12 and other events that have happened in the first month of school. 

Lexie Troutman

It has been several months since Iowa State confronted the multicultural issues on campus during an open forum with ISU President Steven Leath. 

The group Latinos United for Change spoke to administrators at the open forum this past September to voice their complaints about campus diversity. Emotions were running high, and with time to allow the water to settle, they are now ready to talk about their experiences.

Jazmin Murguia, senior in journalism and mass communications and member of LUCIA, was on the panel during the open forum in September. She looked back on the forum and reflected about how she was feeling before taking the stage.

“[I was] obviously nervous but also empowered by the other students on the panel,” Murguia said. “We worked on that together for weeks.”

Leath was asked in a previous interview his thoughts after the open forum that included students sharing their stories. 

“It’s always hard to assume you understand someone else’s exact life experiences,” Leath said. “You do your best.”

He went on to say that the majority of the students seem to truly understand the problems on campus and wants to make sure changes are made.

“There are some people that really want to roll up their sleeves and want to make the place better, more welcoming and a better environment for those that are behind them,” Leath said.

The ISU campus and other college campuses across the country have experienced their fair share of racial prejudices. Murguia recalls an incident that happened her freshman year at Iowa State during Halloween.

“[My roommate] decided it would be funny to dress up as a Mexican,” Murguia said. “It was just confusing. I didn’t know how to get through that moment.”

Leath said numerous meetings have been taking place to try to get the campus to the point it needs to be at as far as equality goes. He reminded everyone that every decision that is made is not just coming from him.

“When we make a decision at the higher levels here, they’re not really just my decisions,” Leath said. “It’s more than just my experiences that influence policy and decisions and direction as we go forward. We try and have a major cross section of the campus community involved in those decisions.”

The progress for equality cannot yet be seen across campus; however, this does not mean nothing is being done. It will take time to have changes made, but the students are keeping their eyes open on whether change is coming. The number of students wanting to be involved in this issue speaks volumes.

“Seeing all of the people that actually went that night, it was over 500 people that attended the event, was like wow, people want to listen to us,” Murguia said. “They want to listen to what’s going on [and] they actually care about these issues. That was very empowering.