Thousands of Iowans join together to save the University of Iowa's Labor Center
Thousands of people across the state of Iowa are working together to prevent the University of Iowa's Labor Center from closing. In July, the University of Iowa said the statewide workforce resource center would have to close because of budget cuts.
On Thursday morning, a coalition against the closure met with the Board of Regents on the University of Iowa's campus to try to get their support.
"I didn't know any of my rights. I experienced a lot of sexual harassment, but I didn't know what my rights were," said Trace Leone, one of the leading members of the Save Our Labor Center Coalition.
Leone's experiences happened before she spent time at the University of Iowa's Labor Center, where she learned how to handle similar situations.
"On issues like family medical leave, worker's compensation, leadership, organizing, communication skills," said Leone.
It's why she's leading the Save Our Labor Center Coalition, a group made up of working people from across the state and even university students.
"It's important when you're trying to finance college to know what your rights are in the work place and to not have to deal with discrimination," said Lauryn Schnack, a third-year political science student at the University of Iowa.
On Thursday, the coalition presented the Board of Regents with more than 5,000 petitions, shared their fears, and explained how the closing of the center would impact more than just the University of Iowa.
"Through their short courses that they offer, I start learning my rights and teaches other immigrants who travel all the way from their countries to Iowa," said Mazahir Salih, a city council member in Iowa City.
With the official closing of the center not taking place until the end of the school year, coalition members are working hard with one goal in mind: saving the labor center for present workers and future generations.
Coalition members tell CBS2/FOX28 News they believe the board of regents will have a chance to reverse the university's decision in November. Until then, the coalition will continue gathering petition signatures.