President Wendy Wintersteen and other senior administrators participated in a town hall meeting in room 198 of Parks Library Wednesday night.
The town hall was conducted by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), and gave graduate students an opportunity to ask questions or voice any concerns.
“We really want to be always listening to the graduate students, to hear about their experience, to learn how they have found their time here at Iowa State University,” Wintersteen said. “What are their opportunities and what are their challenges?”
The Associate Dean of the Graduate College Carolyn Cutrona spoke about graduate student well-being and proposed training for graduate faculty and anti-bullying policies to help improve the relationships between graduate students and their professors.
“We are developing a list of suggested first steps for when a student is feeling mistreated in some way...” Cutrona said. “What we are trying to do is spell out a number of people who can advise graduate students right from the start.”
President Wintersteen addressed a leaked document from the Federal Department of Education regarding changes to Title IX policy on college campuses.
Wintersteen said that the important thing is it is only a leaked document and that nothing has been finalized yet. She continued by saying that when new rules are released there will be an opportunity to comment, and that she and her colleagues will take that opportunity seriously.
“I think what all the presidents would agree on is that we take seriously the safety and well-being of our students,” Wintersteen said. “And what we want to do is believe all parties, there is always more than one side.”
Wintersteen said they must investigate situations involving alleged sexual assault to find evidence. She said sometimes the evidence is clear and leads to a certain course of action, and she is concerned about the well-being of all the students involved.
Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Martino Harmon talked about mental health and where to find help on campus.
“Mental health is something that is critically important that we increase support, not just on Iowa State’s campus but across the country,” Harmon said. “It is a major issue that all students, undergraduate and graduate, are dealing with.”
Harmon talked about the Division of Student Affairs and how it has started a student wellness office to help raise awareness and help students suffering with mental health issues. He said the wellness office promotes a holistic approach to student health, and the wellness office and the Division of Student Affairs is dedicated to preventing mental health problems and other ailments students may face.