Students Against Bigotry to host open forum with Leath


Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily

Rick Exner holds a banner as part of a protest against political bigotry during a Republican meet-up on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium. 

Rakiah Bonjour

The Students Against Bigotry will host an open forum with President Steven Leath in the Great Hall at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Although discrimination has been prominent in these students’ lives for years, they decided enough was enough after the events that happened at the Cy-Hawk game and wanted to take a stand by making a permanent, lasting difference.

They plan on presenting an agenda to Leath at the event that focuses on safety, empowerment and education. The group said students of color and those who feel oppressed need to feel safe on their school’s campus, and these students need to have empowerment among their peers. This can be done through education.

“We have suggestions on how to move forward,” said Maria Alcivar, graduate student in human development and family studies. “But we also have questions on how he’s going to make us feel safe, how he’s going to educate [the ISU community] and how he’s going to empower [the ISU community].”

They plan on suggesting solutions and requests. They will suggest a form of diversity and inclusion training, much like how the sexual assault training and alcohol abuse training is set up. They also want to know more about the hiring process for ISU staff, and if questions about racism, multiculturalism or inclusivity are prominent.

“We want to see faculty that look like us,” Alcivar said.

The group wants to make diversity courses a core requirement for graduation. These courses, and existing courses, should be discussion-based instead of lecture-based.

“We want to get students comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Angel Raymundo, senior in psychology.

An event involving inclusivity that students and faculty can apply to attend is the Iowa State Conference On Race and Ethnicity, but members of Students Against Bigotry want to suggest making at least one session mandatory for faculty and administrators of Iowa State.

“We want written proof [that they took something from the conference],” said Jazmin Murguia, senior in journalism and communication.

Foremost, they want training for students, much like the Safe Zone training for LGBTQ students is modeled. Safe Zone happens during the course of three days where “people in positions of power — much like CAs, RAs and TAs — gain resources to help students in difficult situations,” said Nautalia Black, ISU alumnae and member of Students Against Bigotry.

The trainee will receive a certification at the end of Safe Zone saying they are able to help in difficult situations. The members of Students Against Bigotry want a model who will act on multicultural issues, so students who are feeling oppressed can feel more comfortable talking to a leader about diversity issues.

“We are giving [Leath] the chance to tell us [what he thinks about the Cy-Hawk event],” Alcivar said. “We want to hear from him, first as a leader, how he can help us reinstate our trust in him.”

Their event is posted on Facebook, called “A Discussion on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion at Iowa State,” and had 5,000 views and 200 confirmed attendees as of 9 p.m. Thursday. 

The event is for all students, faculty and community members.

“This is a community engagement movement,” Alcivar said.