Bill 1099

Members of the LGBTQ+ community raise their hands for recognition during their sit in protest of student government's Senate Study Bill 1099 during the student government meeting on March 6 at the Memorial Union. 

On Wednesday, March 6th, Iowa State Student Government voted to rescind support of Iowa Senate File 274 and House File 316. This bill was focused around free speech on college campuses in the State of Iowa.

I am currently serving as a College of Engineering Senator in Student Government. I unfortunately was not able to attend the full meeting on Wednesday evening. However, I was able to hear the arguments during open forum on Wednesday and the previous Wednesday about how this bill was an endorsement of discrimination.

I come to a different conclusion on Section 3.3 (the section that would allow for clubs on campus to set their own parameters for leadership in their organization) of the Free Speech bill currently in the Iowa Legislature than many of peers do for reasons that I explained in the Student Government Senate meeting on Wednesday, February 28th. I still believe personally that the full legislation should be supported. However, had I been in attendance Wednesday, I would have voted in favor of rescinding support for Section 3.3 because that is what my constituents wanted.

What I would not have voted in favor of is the full rescinding of support for Iowa Senate File 274 and House File 316. I believe that it is dangerous for any institution of higher learning to not fully endorse free speech on its campus.

I hear the arguments about there already being free speech on campus and that this bill does nothing. To that I ask, why didn’t we support it then? Reaffirming our commitment to free speech is something that we as a student body should be doing every single day. Open and honest debate is the only way that society has ever been moved forward. It is the true bedrock of our constitutional republic.

I hear the arguments about how this can open the door for hate speech on our campus. To this point I ask, hate speech defined by whom? We all know that there are hateful people in this world, and we all as decent people believe that these individuals should be condemned. However, hate speech has no formal definition. Where does the line get drawn? Who has the power to draw that line? Since we cannot answer these questions effectively, free speech of all kinds is protected. We all might believe that this is not the ideal solution, but it is the best solution that we have for protecting the rights of all, at all times, equally.

The best way to approach horrendous ideas is with better ideas, not with attempts to silence them. Silencing doesn’t change minds. It only deepens hate. I would rather openly know the people I need to defeat in intellectual battle than have those people living in the shadows. Hateful people need to be exposed and made to defend their ideology, because the only time hate speech wins is when the other side is not allowed to combat it with their own speech.

Wednesday night, Nicholas Fuentes spoke in the free speech zone near the tree of oppression. In my opinion, Fuentes represents the worst of ideas out there, that the color of your skin matters when it comes to being a productive member of society in a creedal nation like the United States. Many other students agreed with me, and by the Daily’s own reporting, more protestors were at the event than supporters. The good ideas won out, and I can guarantee that more good than bad will come from this event because we as a society rally when we believe injustice is being done.

Free speech works when we allow it free reign. The Iowa State Community would do well to remember that.

Opinion Policies

Editorials are longer opinion pieces that are written by a group of community members recruited across campus who address relevant issues on a local, national and international level. Editorials are research-based. The purpose of the Editorial Board is to promote discussion concerning relevant issues in the community while advising on possible solutions. Topics are chosen via relevancy and interests of the members, which are then discussed by the Editorial Board in order to reach a general consensus concerning the topic or issue.

Feedback policy

If you have a grievance concerning the content or argument of the Editorial Board, please contact either Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel ( or the Editorial Board as a whole ( Those wanting to respond to editorials can also submit a letter to the editor through the Iowa State Daily website or by emailing the letter to Opinion Editor Peyton Hamel ( or Editor-in-Chief Sage Smith (

Column Policy

Columns are hyper-specific to opinion and are written by only columnists employed by the Iowa State Daily. Columnists are unique because they have a specific writing day and only publish on those writing days. Each column undergoes a thorough editing process ensuring the integrity of the writer, and their claim is maintained while remaining research-based and respectful. Columns may be submitted from community members. These are labelled as “Guest Columns.” These contain similar research-based content and need to be at least 400 words in length. The following requirements should be met: first and last name, email and relation or position to Iowa State. Emails must be tied to the submitted guest column or it will not be accepted or published. Pseudonyms are prohibited and the writer will be banned from submissions.

Read our full Opinion Policies here. Updated on 10/7/2020

(2) comments

Steve Gregg

Sarah, we can’t have free speech on campus. This is a university! If you let everyone just say what they please and think what they please, then they will think wrong things which are not politically correct. We’ve got to crack down on this free speech fad and force people to accept Good Think and reject Wrong Think before they start thinking for themselves.

Steve Gregg

By Sarah, I meant Michael. I confused the photographer who took the photo at the head of the column with the author of this letter. Regrets.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.