On Monday, March 11, the Iowa Senate passed SF 274 with a full floor vote (35-11-3). The bill would allow student organizations at public institutions to access school funds and facilities while violating equal access policies.
One Iowa Action Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel condemned SF 274 in a statement.
“Freedom of speech is a necessity and bedrock principle of higher education,” One Iowa Action Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel said. “However, this bill goes farther than ensuring freedom of speech on college campuses. It gives campus groups the ability to discriminate against others because of who they are while accessing public funds and publicly subsidized venues.”
“This bill was amended on the floor to try and address this, but the amended language does not fully protect students from discrimination. All it does is encourage student organizations who want to discriminate to change their language slightly when doing so.”
“No student should be excluded from participating in groups or activities they’ve already paid for because of who they are. This bill isn’t fair to students paying activities fees or taxpayers who don’t want to subsidize discrimination.”
“Under this bill, a student group could deny members leadership roles because of their gender, race, religious belief, or even disability status and still receive public funding. For example, if a student organization claimed their beliefs do not allow women in leadership positions, they could deny women access to those roles.”
“We are disappointed that the Iowa Senate has voted to allow taxpayer-funded discrimination on our state’s college campuses. We call on the Iowa House to put a stop to this unnecessary and misguided bill.”