Students for Life appeals to president

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  • Steve Schmadeke, UNI Public Relations Manager, is expecting to release a decision regarding the case by the end of the week.

  • Students for Life has asked President Nook to overturn the NISG Supreme Court’s decision and allow them to be an organization on campus.

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Following a controversial decision by Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) to deny a pro-life group the right to form a student organization on the UNI campus, the group in question has officially appealed to UNI President Mark Nook to overturn the decision.

UNI Students for Life, an affiliate of the national pro-life group Students for Life, was first denied the right to form a student organization by the NISG Senate during their Oct. 7 meeting. The group subsequently appealed to the NISG Supreme Court, who upheld the Senate’s decision in an Oct. 14 hearing, despite the Senate having pled guilty to violating university policy in their initial decision.

The group’s next step was to submit an appeal to President Nook, which they did on Tuesday, Oct. 20, according to UNI Students for Life representative Sophia Schuster, a sophomore history education major.

“We just explained the situation,” she said. “We told them what happened, we reiterated what Students for Life is about, and we just asked President Nook to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Schuster added that university administration had been supportive throughout the appeal process.

“I’ve had some support from the administration; they’ve been helping me get all my stuff in, because some of this stuff was kind of technical, and otherwise I would have had no idea what I was doing,” she said. “They’ve been helping a lot.”

UNI Public Relations Manager Steve Schmadeke confirmed to the Northern Iowan in an email Wednesday evening that university administration had received the appeal and expects to release a decision in the next few days.

“In accordance with our policies and procedures, the university will conduct a thorough review and issue a decision by the end of the week,” he wrote. “The university will ensure compliance with our policies, and with state and federal law.”

Schuster said she is anticipating a favorable outcome for UNI Students for Life.

“I’m expecting them to overturn it,” she said.

The situation has gained regional and national attention, with multiple media outlets, including the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, the Des Moines Register and even Fox News reporting the story. The national Students for Life organization has also released several statements on the situation through their website, noting in an Oct. 16 update that legal counsel had been contacted on behalf of UNI Students for Life.

The Northern Iowan will continue to report on this developing story in subsequent issues.