More bias against conservatives

Vice Provost Rinehart denies administrative bias, but evidence suggests otherwise.

Sean Niemic

On last WednesdayâÄôs editorial page, University of Minnesota Vice Provost of Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart denied that conservative students and groups were unfairly targeted by the administration. Rinehart claimed that members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) were being investigated by the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity following their interruption of Convocation, but that remark was contrary to statements made by President Bob Bruininks to The Minnesota Daily on Sept. 3 (âÄúStudents interrupt ConvocationâÄù) and Sept. 14 (âÄúBruininks talks summer decisions, new stadiumâÄù). The backtracking on the part of the administration suggests that the University may be investigating the lawbreaking liberal students only in light of the exposure of their hypocrisy as a result of my letter to the Daily on Sept. 28. In a related incident, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) applied for office space on the second floor of Coffman Union, under an allocation process performed by the Board of Governors (BOG). The most prestigious responsibility granted to the BOG âÄî a collection of students who represent the student unions âÄî is granting office space. In early March, CFACT received initial word from a member of the BOG that it would receive office space in Coffman after the BOG made initial decisions without the presence of a Student Unions and Activities (SUA) administrator. Additionally, CFACT learned that the WomenâÄôs Student Activist Collective (WSAC), a liberal advocacy group, would lose their office space in Coffman. A second anonymous member of the BOG corroborated this information. When Maggie Towle, Director of SUA, learned that CFACT had received word that they would be receiving office space, she aggressively questioned CFACT on the identity of the âÄúleak,âÄù with the intent of silencing him/her. At the next BOG meeting, Jason Hancock, SUA associate director, led the administrationâÄôs effort to influence the BOG to rethink their decision in granting the conservative student group office space while revoking office space from a liberal group. As minions of the elite administration, the BOG caved to HancockâÄôs orders and denied CFACT office space while reinstating WSACâÄôs second floor office. This bias against conservative groups by the administration in the office space allocation process is blatant. However, there is a strong connection between this story and the one I wrote on Sept. 28. The four students cited for disruptive behavior in the BOG meeting concerning office space were all members of CFACT, the group unfairly denied office space. The leader of the law breaking leftists in SDS who interrupted Convocation (who Bruininks has twice said will not be academically punished) is Grace Kelley, who is also the de facto leader of WSAC, the liberal student group who received office space after initially being deemed unworthy. Rinehart can deny a bias against conservative students, but the evidence and the facts suggest otherwise. Sean Niemic University undergraduate student and vice president of CFACT