Organization to save GC rallies at the State Capitol

Matt Graham

Approximately 150 people gathered outside the State Capitol on Sunday in a rally organized by the General College Truth Movement.

The event came less than a week before Friday’s Board of Regents vote that will decide whether to adopt a controversial plan for the University’s future that aims to help it become one of the world’s top three public research universities. The plan also calls for closing and reintegrating several University colleges.

Since University President Bob Bruininks presented the plan to the regents in May, protesters have lobbied several times against the plan, which would close General College.

“We are creating a system whereby the privileged have more privilege,” said Avelino Mills-Novoa, vice president of the Office for Multicultural and Academic Affairs and a former General College student.

“We’re going to have another generation of disaffected students without dreams, and without dreams there is nothing,” he said.

Speakers at the event referred to the plan as classist, elitist and racist and expressed concern that the decision to eliminate General College was being made without input from students and faculty members at the college.

But philosophy and women’s studies professor Naomi Scheman said the decision to eliminate General College was a decision of ignorance more than hatred, and said University faculty members and administrators need to learn from the diverse group of students at General College, not eliminate them.

Nursing junior Kim Miller said she had several friends who went through General College, and she was protesting at the Capitol because the college is “a great jumping-off point” for University students.

William Greuling, an undergraduate student in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science and a former small-business owner, said it is vital the state’s population has access to quality higher education like General College can provide.

“One of our most valuable resources is brain power, and it’s a renewable resource,” he said.