The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

University Democrats at Iowa faces leadership changes, meeting with IDP Chair Rita Hart

Estella Ruhrer-Johnson, the president of the University Democrats at Iowa resigned from their position effective Nov. 11.
Jordan Barry
Kiana Shevling-Major speaks during a University of Iowa Democrats meeting at the Iowa Memorial Union on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023.

Leaders from the University Democrats at Iowa student organization will meet with Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rita Hart this week following a dispute over an Instagram post by the UI Democrats that led to demands for their resignation. Other democratic university groups in Iowa will also be in attendance. 

The president of the University Democrats at Iowa, Estella Ruhrer-Johnson, resigned on Saturday following changes to the president’s role.

“I will ask that Rita apologize for misquoting and misrepresenting our statement, and should a discussion ensue, I have the executive board’s stance, and we will move forward with that,” University Democrats at Iowa interim president Kiana Shelving-Major said of the meeting. “I suppose all of us will see moving forward where we’re going to be with the IDP.”

Ruhrer-Johnson’s resignation came after the Iowa Democratic Party called for three members of the UI Democrats executive board to resign after they signed a statement in support of Palestine using a controversial phrase. Ruhrer-Johnson did not sign the statement. 

Working as the interim president, Shelving-Major says she will join other University Democrat presidents from Drake University and the University of Northern Iowa to meet with Hart. It is unknown if Iowa State University’s student Democrats group will be present.  

The University Democrats are unsure whether or not they will disaffiliate with the Iowa Democratic Party.

The Iowa State University Democrats disaffiliated with the Iowa Democratic Party on Nov. 2 after the University Democrats at Iowa received criticism from the Iowa Democratic Party over their statement on the Israel-Hamas war

“Resignation was not how I saw my presidency concluding, however, due to the diminished authority of the president’s role within the executive board, I am unable to equitably lead,” Ruhrer-Johnson said in a statement obtained by The Daily Iowan. “While this is the end of my time at University Democrats, this is not the end of my advocacy and work for an inclusive Iowa.”

Ruhrer-Johnson was not immediately able to be reached for comment. 

Upcoming University Democrats at Iowa election 

Because of the vacancy in the presidential position, vice president of the University Democrats at Iowa Shevling-Major will work as the interim president until an election is held. 

Shelving-Major has already put in her nomination for the presidential position. They will have an election on Nov. 27. 

“Should I be elected, then we’ll have a vice president election either by the end of this semester or going into next semester,” Shevling-Major said. 

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About the Contributor
Natalie Miller
Natalie Miller, Politics Reporter
Natalie Miller is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to her position as a Politics Reporter, Natalie was a News Reporter focusing on Higher Education.