This post is part of The Nation’s biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out January 16 and February 11. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
1. The Act of Diversity
On Monday, February 9, undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota acting under the banner, Whose Diversity?, staged a sit-in at President Eric Kaler’s office to press the administration to take immediate action to improve conditions for students of color and other marginalized communities at the predominantly white institution. Sixteen students informed Kaler that they would remain in his office until eight demands were met, while more than 100 people rallied outside for eight hours. Our demands include the removal of descriptions of race and complexion from university crime alerts, the hiring of more faculty of color, the installation of one gender neutral restroom in every campus building and the creation of a new program to recruit students from local, working class neighborhoods of color. The president remained unwilling to commit to these changes, instead calling on the police to make arrests for “trespassing.” In total, thirteen were arrested—the #UMN13—and spent the night in jail. We remain committed to forging a university that values the lives of all its students.
2. The Thin Blue Line
On February 20, Bob McCulloch, the prosecutor who handled Darren Wilson’s case, is scheduled to speak at the Saint Louis University School of Law at a symposium titled, “The Thin Blue Line: Policing Post-Ferguson.” On February 9, students involved in the Ferguson community spoke at an SLU community town hall meeting to ask the administration to uphold the school’s Jesuit mission by rescinding McCulloch’s invitation. We then led the room if four and a half minutes of silence to show respect for Mike Brown and the clients we serve in Ferguson. We oppose McCulloch’s appearance because of his numerous ethical violations and show of disregard for the community he serves. Students, alumni and other members of the community respectfully continue to show opposition by sending letters to the administration.