State Sen. Jim Carlin spoke last week at Iowa State University. He addressed the Young Americans for Freedom group.
Carlin is also running for U.S. Senate.
And that’s where Iowa State officials decided the event might not be allowed.
Tim Reuter, the Service Learning & Student Organizations Coordinator, (his preferred pronouns are he/him/his if you were curious), contacted YAF organizers to let them know the Student Activities Center office noticed an article in the Iowa State Daily about YAF hosting Carlin.
“Since Jim Carlin has announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate, this would now be considered a campaign event,” Reuter declared. “Unfortunately, student organizations cannot reserve space for, and host, candidates actively running for public office. A candidate can still host an event on campus, and your student org can volunteer at it, but it needs to go through the proper channels and there are certain buildings/spaces on campus where campaign activity is allowed.”
Reuter told YAF that the campaign would have to work with the Conference Planning and Management Office in order to reserve space for the event to happen. And the campaign would have to pay any associated fees.
“Given that your meeting was originally scheduled for tonight, I don’t know that CP&M will be able to find space on such a tight turnaround,” he said. “But they might be able to give the campaign some options.”
The YAF student organizer replied that the group is hosting Carlin as an individual in the conservative arena.
“There is no campaigning, no distribution of campaign materials and no petitioning that will be occurring on behalf of Carlin’s campaign,” the student said. “YAF is a 501.c3 organization so we are prohibited from making any contributions, assisting or receiving contributions from any political campaign or party as well.”
YAF hosted Randy Feenstra last spring and was allowed due to the constraints of their organization as well as the setting it occurs in.
The student also asked for the policy about hosting a candidate, noting that Carlin has not filed with the Secretary of State and therefore may not qualify as a candidate.
Reuter replied that, after further discussion, the office was “OK” with the group moving forward with the event as planned.
“I’m assuming that this event is taking place during your group’s regular meeting time,” he said. “Which normally doesn’t need to go through Event Authorization. However, with meetings like these where there are higher-profile speakers, candidates or even elected officials being invited to campus, we do ask that you submit an event form to the Event Authorization system as soon as you know the speaker is coming.”
At that point, Elizabeth Salton, the course and event scheduling coordinator (who has preferred pronouns of she/her/hers), said she gave YAF its room reservation back and even let the campus officers and advisor know the event was confirmed.