President Nook addresses Racial and Ethnic Commission and campus

Elizabeth Kelsey, News Editor

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, UNI President Mark Nook addressed the campus in an email regarding the Racial and Ethnic Commission (REC), a group of students formed at UNI in spring of 2019 following the events of the Waka Flocka Flame concert. 

In February 2019, the UNI administration limited ticket sales and changed the venue for a student-organized concert featuring rap artist Waka Flocka Flame due to “solid evidence that area gang members from rival groups were going to attend the concert,” according to an apology issued by President Nook on February 15, 2019. As stated by a Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier article that same day, Waterloo police denied providing any information regarding gang violence to the UNI administration.

As mentioned in the Oct. 30 email from President Nook, Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) recently passed a resolution in support of REC, condemning the inaction of the UNI Senior Leadership Team to follow through on short-term goals mutually established by REC and the Senior Leadership Team in April 2019. 

REC members, including Mahlia Brown, senior psychology major, and Ryan Frank, senior social work and Spanish major, said that the Senior Leadership Team has not “taken seriously” the concerns and demands of REC. In an interview on Tuesday, Oct. 29, Brown and Frank said that the Senior Leadership Team failed to complete the goals, which include clarifying the Senior Leadership Team’s responsibilities and providing administrative support for multicultural organizations, by the agreed-upon deadline of Sept. 12, 2019. According to Brown and Frank, the Senior Leadership Team also failed to complete these goals satisfactorily when granted a one-month extension, prompting the passage of the NISG resolution. 

NISG and REC had asked that this resolution be shared with the general campus, but Frank wrote, in an REC statement, that the coalition does not feel Nook’s campus-wide message on Oct. 30 was sufficient. 

“We wanted the entire resolution to be sent out on its own and for the words to speak for themselves,” Frank wrote. “Instead, Mark Nook sent out an inadequate and watered-down apology, with a link inserted that eventually leads to the resolution.”

The Northern Iowan is currently conducting an investigation and will provide more details in a subsequent print and online edition. 

A link to NISG’s resolution to Condemn Senior Leadership on their inaction toward the requests by students of color can be found here.

A link to President Nook’s campus-wide message can be found here.