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  • Molly Higgins

President Wilson Offers Timely Statement on North Carolina State Arson Law


barbara wilson fire

Earlier this summer, many University of Iowa students felt seen and validated when President Barbara Wilson sent out an email to the Hawkeye community acknowledging the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Now, the president appears to be continuing the trend of presenting a politically relevant image as she speaks out about the recent passage of North Carolina House Bill 315, which increases the state’s prison sentences for arson.


“The recent signature of House Bill 315 by the North Carolina governor represents a politically polarizing moment for many in our campus community,” stated Wilson in a campus-wide email. “We know that arson is a topic that provokes strong feelings among students on both sides of the political debate.”


Despite this acknowledgement, Wilson’s own feelings about arson remain a mystery. “I will not be sharing my personal opinions about arson because, as the leader of a public university, I want to ensure students feel comfortable engaging in respectful dialogue and debate about this pressing issue.”


Wilson also addressed the questions many potential arsonists on campus may have during this tumultuous and confusing time. She reaffirmed that “despite the change in North Carolina law, there will be no change to the policies impacting students on the University of Iowa campus who choose to set fire to property. As of this message, arson remains illegal in the state of Iowa, and arsonists will still face the same amount of prison time as they did before this bill.”


Wilson ended the email with an inspiring statement encouraging students to remain civil and open-minded. “The passage of North Carolina House Bill 315 presents an opportunity for our campus community to reflect on our own values and engage in meaningful conversations. I ask that whether you are pro-arson or anti-arson, you continue to respect the viewpoints of those around you and be open to what the other side has to say. From anti-arson activists to pyromaniacs who regularly set fire to local buildings, we are all Hawkeyes.”


No matter how you reacted to the passage of North Carolina House Bill 315, it’s safe to say we can all take pride in the fact that our president holds space for the relevant political issues of our time.

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