Kaler expresses concern with Regents’ renaming discussion

President Eric Kaler expressed his disdain at the Board of Regents March 8 discussion in a campus-wide email sent Thursday.

The University's Board of Regents convene at the McNamara Alumni Center on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Jack Rodgers

The University’s Board of Regents convene at the McNamara Alumni Center on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

Kait Ecker

President Eric Kaler responded in disappointment to some of the Board of Regents’ concerns about a report recommending the renaming of four University of Minnesota buildings.

Just one week after Kaler announced his support of recommendations to strip the names of Coffman Union, Nicholson Hall, Middlebrook Hall and Coffey Hall, the board criticized the process and raised additional questions and issues.

“We are troubled … that some portions of the March 8 discussion reflected a lack of respect for the efforts and the sincerity and integrity of our distinguished faculty,” Kaler said in a Thursday email to the University community. “While there may be deeply felt differences of opinion about the appropriate course of action in the matters under scrutiny, it is surely a core tenet of our University that we make progress in our quests for truth and deeper understanding when we engage in dialogue respectfully.”

The March board meeting was contentious, with several regents asking for more research and evaluation and raising concern about the Task Force on Building Names and Institutional History’s report. 

“It did not come off as fair as I expected,” Regent Michael Hsu previously told the Minnesota Daily. “I just have a concern that the quality of work here is not quite what it needs to be before we make a decision.”

The regents asked for additional information for the next board meeting in May, where they may discuss the matter further and possibly take action, according to the statement.

“Perhaps with better advance communication we might have avoided a situation that made an already sensitive and contentious situation more unsettling,” the statement read.

This is a breaking news report. More information will be added as it becomes available.