Students demand action from Wendy Wintersteen regarding controversial events on campus

Students gather outside Beardshear Hall as part of the “Students Against Racism” protest on Oct. 30.

Madison Mason

Editor’s note: Alexa Rodriguez was incorrectly stated as Alex Rodriguez within the original story. The Iowa State Daily regrets this error.

Students protested recent controversial events with a march around campus and a list of demands for Iowa State’s president.

On Wednesday, students gathered at the Memorial Union in order to bring attention to the recent controversial events that have occurred on campus. Protestors shut down Lincoln Way and then marched to Beardshear Hall to speak with Iowa State’s president, Wendy Wintersteen, demanding change on campus and in Iowa State’s administration.

“I knew we needed to escalate the situation,” said Javier Miranda, former Iowa State student. “Ames depends on the university, but if we obstruct a part of Ames, that isn’t just the university, then we’re drawing the connection between the two.”

Miranda and Alexa Rodriguez, sophomore in political science, were a part of the main coordinating team that executed the protest.

Originally, Rodriguez was the one to come up with the idea of the protest, following many controversial events on campus the organizers said were not addressed by the Iowa State administration.

“Javier was the one that caught the ‘Heil Hitler’ sidewalk chalk on campus, and he approached me about it, and I knew that with both of our backgrounds in organizing,” Rodriguez said. “We needed something concrete that the administration could say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to, and get them to take a side.”

Rodriguez and Miranda said they were involved in making a list of demands with the main goal of creating a zero tolerance policy toward racism and antisemitism. The list of demands included “Expel the neo-Nazis, Expel the students who vandalized Geoffroy Hall, Fire the advisor who wore blackface, zero tolerance of neo-Nazi threats and ISU Admin[istration] holds an open meeting to all students and campus workers in two weeks.”

Various clubs and organizations were also a part of the protest and its planning, including Pride Alliance, Hillel, Lambda Theta Alpha, Latinx Student Initiatives and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at Iowa State.

During the protest, Miranda said the administration and Student Government aren’t the ones who will bring out a change, it will be the students affected by this. 

The organizers said the goal of this protest was to demand change from Wintersteen and to accomplish this by using a large group of students — a demonstration of student power.

The protestors sat in a conference room in Beardshear Hall and waited to meet Wintersteen while chanting and sharing stories as to why this protest was important to them.

“For Wendy this is just another business day, but to us this is personal,” said Araceli Lopez-Valdivia, senior in political science.

Wintersteen agreed to look at the students’ demands and meet with the organizers to find solutions within the next two weeks. Wintersteen also agreed to attend the Student Government meeting Wednesday night, where students planned to speak at the open forum.

Organizers said they are planning a meeting in two weeks. They also plan to have an open discussion about these topics during Campus Conversations from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday in Parks Library, room 198.

“Looking at the big picture as for what happens next, is showing other students that we should hold the administration accountable at all times,” Lopez-Valdivia said. “Because we can, we proved that today.”