President Leath addresses Student Government


University president Leath addresses Student Government about the future of ISU and answered questions from senators.

Zach Clemens

Student Government heard an address from ISU President Steven Leath at the weekly Senate meeting Wednesday night before discussing bills on cyberbullying, the CyRide budget and adding security cameras in Campustown.

Leath touched on a number of topics of importance to him and university administration in regards to the future. He said the student-to-faculty ratio is an issue with the increased enrollment. The average is 19 students for every faculty member right now, and he wants to see that improve.

“We hired 365 new faculty members over the last few years and it hasn’t moved the needle [because of increased enrollment],” he said.

He let the Senate know he has met and will continue to meet with the Iowa Legislature about a need for more funding, as Iowa State has the largest enrollment in Iowa.

“It is too early to tell if we will get funding support from the legislation because it is a marathon,” he said.

He also wanted to clear up confusion he has been hearing regarding the free-speech zones on campus.

“You can express free speech anywhere on campus,” he said. “The two free-speech zones on campus are really public forum areas for events so they don’t affect classes.”

Student Government approved a bill unanimously that asks university administration to examine current university policies regarding anonymous cyberbullying and make changes accordingly. The Senate recognizes that anonymous social media use has risen among campus community members. With mobile applications such as Whisper and Yik Yak gaining popularity, there is a concern that some of the posts could turn harmful and malicious.

A resolution was unanimously approved that calls for the city of Ames to implement security cameras in Campustown. Security cameras would assist Ames police with investigations and deter crime. There are currently no cameras in Campustown.

Student Government discussed a bill, which was passed with a vote of 37 to 2, that calls for increased funding of CyRide. Iowa does not fund bus replacement or expansion capital costs, and more than half of CyRide’s bus fleet has exceeded its useful life of 12 years.

“The overall goal is to decrease the percentage increase students are paying for CyRide each year and increase state funding,” said Vice Speaker of the Senate Michael Snook.

The bill would request that state legislature allocate $25 million in funding per year for the next two years, not just for CyRide but for all public transit in Iowa.

Student Government passed a resolution with full support of the Senate that calls on Iowa Legislature to allocate $8.2 million in additional funds that university administration has requested. The additional funds would help alleviate the strains of record enrollment at Iowa State.

Brandon Bjoin, junior in interdisciplinary studies, was confirmed unanimously as a justice of the Student Government Supreme Court.

Bria Nelson was also unanimously approved as a senator for the College of Business.