Student government mobilizing students for Friday’s regent meeting

In campuswide email sent to students Thursday morning, the Minnesota Student Association is calling for students to mobilize around renaming discussions.

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.

Niamh Coomey

In a campus-wide email sent to students Thursday morning, the Minnesota Student Association is calling for students to mobilize around discussions of the un-naming of several campus buildings.

After months of debate, the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents is scheduled Friday to discuss building renaming and potentially take action. If the board does vote on whether to rename campus buildings, it is unlikely regents would vote to rename based on past discussions. In response to regent reaction, MSA is planning a sit-in at the board meeting and encouraging students to attend. 

Earlier this year, a University task force recommended Coffman Union, Middlebrook Hall, Nicholson Hall and Coffey Hall to be renamed due controversial histories of their namesakes, which include anti-Semitic and racist actions.

The email advocated for University student attendance at the special meeting and encouraged them to wear white in solidarity. MSA will also provide posters for students who plan to attend the special session.

“MSA has already raised its voices on this issue with our resolution, petition, pledge, statement of support, and response to the Board of Regents. We must now ensure that the Regents hear us. And so far, the student voice has not been at the forefront of this conversation,” the email read. 

MSA President Simran Mishra said she hopes the tone of this board meeting will be different, saying that student voices have often been disregarded in the past. 

“Our hope is that … this meeting will have a different tone, a tone that acknowledges the hurt that our campus has felt but also a tone that is respectful of all students, staff, faculty, our campus community as a whole,” Mishra said. 

MSA Diversity and Inclusion Committee Director Tala Alfoqaha said conversations about renaming will continue regardless of the outcome of the Friday Board meeting.