UI Undergraduate Student Government changes bylaw wording of ‘Latinx’ to ‘Latine’

The University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Student Government passed a bill to alter its bylaws to change the term “Latinx” to “Latine” on April 5.


Braden Ernst

An undergraduate student senator speaks about a bill that would change the term “Latinx” to “Latine” to senators during a USG meeting on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

Alliyah Lipsit, News Reporter

The University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Student Government passed a bylaw change to use the word “Latine” instead of “Latinx” regarding constituency senator position for more inclusivity.

USG previously used the word “Latinx” in place of “Latina,” “Latino,” “Latine,” but Sen. Sara Koppy, who serves at the Latine Constituency Senator, said the terminology does not represent all students on campus and their gender identities.

The bylaw change was the first legislation she wrote in her first year as a constituency senator, Koppy said.

“I figured since I would be representing them in student government, I should have a term associated with my role on campus that is actually affirming to the students and their identities,” Koppy said.

Sen. Jaden Bartlett, who works within the internal affairs department, said the terminology change ensures students know USG will listen to them and take their opinions into account when creating new legislation.

“A lot of times in politics nothing actually happens when people get into office, and this time it is, and that’s great to see,” Bartlett said.

Koppy said she’s heard about a lot of dialogue on campus concerning the previous terminology used over the last few years.

She sent out a survey a couple of weeks ago to the entire student body to gauge their responses on what term they prefer and found an overwhelming number of responses advocating for the term “Latine” instead of the previously used terms.

A 2021 poll conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International found that only 2 percent of respondents with Hispanic or Latin American origin used the term Latinx, and 40 percent of respondents said it bothered or offended them to some degree.

UI first-year student Alex Gutierrez, who is Latine, said the change will create a more inclusive campus in terms of both culture and gender.

“I know some Latine people get frustrated by terms like Latinx, Latina, or Latino,” Gutierrez said. “I think this a great change that is necessary to make all Latine people feel more comfortable and welcomed on campus.”

The terminology replacement is a bylaw change, which means USG voted twice to pass it, once initially and proposed amendments for it the second time.

Because the bill is a bylaw change, it will only affect the constituency term and any documents coming out of USG in the future where the term “Latinx” is used.

The bill passed for the first time the week before spring break, and again last on April 5 unanimously. There were no amendments passed specifically concerning the terminology change.

The legislation will better represent USG through bylaw changes, including ending the secretary position as it was found to be unnecessary and decreasing the number of office hours per week to two hours per week.

These changes have already gone into effect.

“To a lot of people, it seems really small, just a terminology change, but the impact and the way it affirms people’s identities culturally and in terms of their gender is such a huge foundational step,” Koppy said.