Students at the University of Iowa are voicing concerns about their experiences with discrimination as part of a campaign under the heading #DoesUIowaLoveMe?
Dozens of students, faculty and staff told personal stories during an on-campus demonstration Thursday, stories of roommates moving out because they’re gay, or facing criticism for speaking with an accent.
UI senior Dawson Davenport is Meskwaki and says the Iowa City school should recruit more Native American students.
“If we want to build a great college and a great community and an environment, we all need to be a part of that,” Davenport says. “We can’t be afraid of people who are different, or people who bring a different perspective, who challenge things that have already been there.”
Many at the demonstration spoke of the pressure they feel as persons of color on the mainly-white campus. Davenport related to that sentiment.
“They tell us, you come here, we’ll help you get a better life,” he says, “and then you deal with this in different stuff and you see how you’re treated different when you’re in a classroom full of people who don’t look like you.”
Online, students cite issues with accessing disability services or seeing a school counselor.
UI Vice President Melissa Shivers calls the students “brave” and says she’ll work to improve the campus culture while the university finalizes its diversity plan, due in April.
Thanks to Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio