Guest Columnist

Iowa public university students face economic and racial oppression

Regent Nancy Dunkel (from left), Regent Sherry Bates, Regent Jim Lindenmayer, Regent President Michael Richards, Regent
Regent Nancy Dunkel (from left), Regent Sherry Bates, Regent Jim Lindenmayer, Regent President Michael Richards, Regent President Pro Tem Patty Cownie, Regent Nancy Boettger, Regent Rachael Johnson, and Regent Larry McKibben look on during a Board of Regents meeting at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City on Thursday, Sep. 13, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

• Editor’s note: This is a letter sent from Iowa Student Action members to the Iowa Board of Regents.

We are your students. We bear the consequences of your decisions. We have come to your universities because we believe your promise that an Iowa education will provide access to a future that is better than our past.

Unfortunately, that promise is becoming harder to believe every day. Over the past year, your promise of an accessible education has increasingly become a fantasy for all but the rich and white. The rest of us — Black and brown students, LGBTQ+ students, female students, and working class students — struggle to pay exorbitant tuition and survive the rising tide of racial and gender violence on our campuses.

When you passed the Multiyear Tuition Model, we warned you that tuition hikes would make our campuses more dangerous for students of color and poor students. We wish we had been wrong, but we were right.

Since the Multiyear Tuition Model was passed — continuing the twenty year trend of rising tuition costs — enrollment has declined at all three of Iowa’s public universities, the national student debt crisis has reached over $1.6 trillion, and we have seen an explosion of white supremacist violence on campus. As the financial and mental cost of attending your universities rises, enrollment will continue to fall. More and more students will leave the state to seek the education they deserve.

At the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Iowa, and Iowa State University, our members have heard countless stories of racial discrimination and white supremacist violence. Throughout the public comment section of your meeting on Nov. 14, you heard stories from students about the economic and racial oppression we are experiencing on our campuses. Unfortunately, three minutes is not enough time for us to fully explain the problem.

That is why we, as students and as citizens, are requesting that this Board of Regents listen to us. We request that you attend forums hosted by Iowa Student Action in the spring semester at the University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, and Iowa State University. Together, we will discuss the impact of tuition hikes and the dangerous rise of racism on our campuses.

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Our universities should be spaces for honest, rigorous discourse. In good faith, we implore you to accept our invitation to attend these joint town halls.

Signed by the following members of Iowa Student Action:

Denise Cheeseman

Gisselle Herrera

AJ Matulla

Zachary Grewe

Hannah DeBruin

Grace Pagán

Alexander Escalada

Darian Thompson

Carey Wellington

Makayla Kuhrt

Vanessa Pérez

Josephine Marchant

Ally McKeone

Lucas Anschel

Alexandra Weaver

Casey Hodson

Carter Martin

Michaela Bissen

Nolan James Hanson

John Henry Green

Jennifer Cano

Adelina Canganelli

Brian Nilles

Carolina Nicasio

Chance Bodart

Dulce Escorcia

Isabelle Breitfelder

Joe Derry

Jose Muniz Jr.

Joseph Verry

Joshua Nuti

Katie Cheeseman

Kelli Spaur

Lexa Sandquist

Lydia Nesslar

Madi Holm

Megan Barloon

Naomi Georgina

Marroquin

Nathaniel Garcia

Samuel Eck

Amelia Thoreson

Brittany Honkomp

Austin J. Derr

Taber Squibb

Genevieve Swink

Emily Wieder

Julie Start

Richard Mull

Jacob Daugherty

Tori Cassady

Maya Altemeier

Cordejha Lewis

Miriam Susannah Ochs

Oliver Cricjer

Robert Van Orden

Katelyn Kempkes

Kennisha Entsminger

Jacquelyne Chu

Anaya Mccutcheon

Sarah Lambert

Alissa Kremer

Lillian Jones

Melissa Martínez-Raga

Zoe Swinton

Elisabeth Neruda

Austin Wu

Tristan Schmidt

David Merchan

Salma Rios

Waddah I. Moghram

Samer Suleman

Sayles Kasten

Thim Moth

Daisy Segura

Klarissa Gonzalez

Madison Mason

Sara Castro

Rachel Snodgrass

William Isaac

Throndson

Aarzoo Dhimani

Abraham Teuber

Alexa Dolinko

Alexandria Baumann

Allison Rogers

Amanda Na

Anna Bundy

Aranya Dang

Audrey Enerson

Bjorn Larson

Brenna Hanlon

Bryce Cook

Carlos Piedrasanta

Cat Ton

Chiri Mutwol

Claire Pollard

Clara Dingle

Clare Newman

Daniel Zhu

David Gales

David Hudson

David Ryan

Delaney Gaughan

Devon Mitchell

Ellyonna Glenn

Emma Liddle

Erin Ritter

Eva Gemrich

Evangeline

Bolles-Rioux

Hannah Bentley

Hannah Boyd

Hua Lin Hsu

Jacob Gerber

Jax Seiler

Jennifer Lopez

Jocelyn Shackelford

Joe Fitzpatrick

Keir Hichens

Kiran Loewenstein

Leo Barr

Lily Keane

Lucia Cheng

Mabel Eppler

Madeline Nelson

Malcolm Hasan Davis

Mallory Graham

Mark Gambeslii

Marli Ramash

Mary Binzley

Mary Dillon

Matt Lieberman

McKenna Doherty

Michael Spicer

Nate Williams

Oona Miller

Paige Oamek

Rachel Byerly-Duke

Rudy Vega

Rylee Beltran

Sam Naik

Sam Stein-De Turck

Sarah Licht

Sarina Kopf

Sharene Gould

Dulahaum

Shiraz Johnson

Sky Cohen

Sofia Carr

Sofia Hokanson

Steven McDowell

Steven Saada

Sunaina Butler

Sylvia Alf Rippee

Tommy Hexter

Vanessa Jennings

Zoe Mahler

Josephine Blumenthal

Lila Podgainy

Ty Kiatathikong

Jaime Izaguirre

Nick Mitchell

Danny Flynn

Janice Luo

Claire Gugerty

Victor Adiel Murimi Oduor

Miles Ross

Johan Avila

Evelyn Santillan

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