Student Government discusses international tuition increase, free-speech zones


ISU Student Government held their final meeting before Thanksgiving break on Nov. 18. The meeting began with an open forum.

Zach Clemens

Student Government debated a resolution that would send recommendations to university administration and the Board of Regents in regards to the possible international student tuition increase.

The senators voted to approve the tuition resolution 28-10.

ISU administration has proposed an increase in international student tuition rates by $500 per year for the next three years.

The increase would go toward international student housing options, staffing and services in the International Students and Scholars Office as well as toward career services specifically for international students.

The bill recommends to administration that if there is an increase in international student tuition, it should not exceed $250 for the next three years, and the allocation intentions of those funds be transparent.

“I urge you to vote against this bill and come up with a stronger resolution,” said gallery member Abhijit Patwa, senior in mechanical engineering. 

A bill to expand the free-speech zones on campus was also debated. However, it was moved to be tabled indefinitely by the bill’s author Sen. Robert Dunn, which was approved by a vote of 21 to 16 by the Senate.

The free-speech zones on campus are west of the Hub and on the south Campanile lawn. The proposal recommends the expansion of the zone to include the entire grassy area of Central Campus.

“This can be a compromise on not infringing on student’s First Amendment rights and students not being harassed by outsiders like campus preachers,” Dunn said.

The grassy area would only be eligible for ISU students, faculty or staff to host demonstrations or protests. The organizations would also not be able to be within 100 feet of any building or impede foot traffic in any way.

Several senators objected to the bill, leading to a debate.

“I just think Central Campus is not the place for this,” said Sen. George Weston. “There is a second zone south of the Campanile as it is.”

The concern that students like to lay out and relax on Central Campus and might be bothered by protests or demonstrations were raised by a couple senators.

Another discussion among the senators focused on the open forum that saw a number of students speaking about concerns of minority students and the problems they say persist on campus.

“Students on campus should not be afraid of who to talk to on campus,” said Matthew Fully, junior in sociology and member of the Black Student Alliance. “Some students are telling international students to ‘shut up’ because they don’t speak ‘good’ English.”

Other students expressed their frustration and anger at the lack of support from the university administration and Student Government.

“I am not trying to be friends with anyone, I am just trying to get from my apartment to class without being called a ‘wetback’, or getting dirty looks for speaking Spanish to my mother on the phone,” said Monica Diaz, junior in civil engineering.

Student Government also approved a number of funding bills for different student organizations and clubs.

Colleges Against Cancer will host a relay for life event in April, and $1,184.80 was approved in funding for the event.

Student Government approved $1,080.62 for Cuffs to attend a leather leadership conference in Atlanta in March.

The Golf Club has advanced to a national tournament in San Antonio this weekend that it needs help funding. The club was approved for $2,273.30 from Student Government.

Student Government also voted to allocate $490 to the Airsoft Club for an event in Missouri this weekend.

The election commission of Iowa State was approved for $6,000 to carry out elections that will take place in the spring semester.

Sen. Cameron Thomson was approved to be a part of the University Affairs Committee of Student Government.

This meeting went beyond press time, and the full article has been posted online.