Student speaks to the Board of Regents on tuition and white supremacy


Iowa State Daily

Regents Nancy Boettger, Milt Dakovich, Rachael Johnson and Larry Mckibben (left to right) listen to the Investment and Cash Management Report for the quarter on Feb. 27.

Jacob Smith

At the Iowa Board of Regents meeting yesterday, committees recommended actions for the board to take and an Iowa State student took the chance to speak on campus issues.

During public comment, Chris Simmons, junior in political science, spoke to the board about issues on campus.

“My name is Chris Simmons, and I am a proud and pissed off student from Iowa State,” Simmons said. “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.”

Simmons used his time to bring up racial issues and tuition matters.

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

Over the summer, the board unanimously voted in favor of raising tuition and fees for resident students by 3.9 percent and 4.9 percent for nonresident students at Iowa State for the 2019-20 school year.

“The students that do get in are being left to die on our campuses, and we aren’t going to stand for that, and that’s why we’re here,” Simmons said. “The fight against tuition hikes and the fight against white supremacy is the same fight. […] This board is being used as a puppet by a legislature that is hell-bent on denying me and my people an education with these funding cuts.”

Additionally, the Properties and Facilities Committee met and recommended the board approve the proposed naming of a facility and the request to accept a real estate gift.

The committee recommended changing the current name of the Iowa State Curtiss Farm Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex to the “Iowa State University Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex.”

Then, the committee recommended the board accept a real estate gift from Mr. Ronny Tharp on behalf of Iowa State as an addition to Iowa State’s McNay Research Farm.

The area of land is 262 acres in Lucas County, which is four miles southwest of Chariton.

The Academic Affairs Committee also met and recommended the board permanently close the Center for Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses (CPRES) and the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC).

Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert presented the closure recommendations to the committee.

”The Center for Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses was formed in 1999 as part of our plant sciences institute,” said Wickert. “Now that institute changed its funding model around five years ago, and at this time there is currently insufficient funding to justify continuing the Center for Plant Responses. Work in that area though will continue through faculty in our department of plant pathology and microbiology.”

The Council of Provosts and Board office supported the requests to close both centers. The dates of closure will be set upon the board’s approval.

“The Industrial Assesment Center was formed in 1990 to provide energy audits to manufacturing companies,” said Wickert. “That was originally funded through a grant which has since run its course and its funding has expired and some of the faculty involved in the program will soon be retiring, so closing this center is a good housekeeping step in our view.”

The board will review all requests during tomorrow’s meeting. All of the items will be under the consent agenda unless moved for further discussion by the board.

The board’s meeting will be at 9:15 a.m. Nov. 14 in the Commons Slife Ballroom at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Additional information on the board’s meetings and agendas can be found online at