Alumni association addresses memorial

The Association sent a message to U alumni about Sept. 11 memorial plans.

by Nick Wicker

Officials for the University of Minnesota’s Alumni Association sent an email to its members last Thursday after the group received complaints about the Minnesota Student Association’s Nov. 10 veto of a resolution for a memorial commemorating the Sept. 11 attacks’ 15th anniversary.

The email — written by Alumni Association Board Chair Alison Page and President and CEO Lisa Lewis — explained why MSA members voted down the measure, including a lack of specifics for implementing the commemoration. It also assured alumni the motion would be revisited.

On Wednesday, University President Eric Kaler  also released a statement after the resolution became widely discussed on blogs and in newspapers around campus and MSA members received threats.

“I am confident that we can create a meaningful remembrance that is inclusive to all on campus,” Kaler said in the statement Wednesday. “Hateful speech or actions are contrary to our values as a University.”

Lewis said the association sent the email after receiving a flood of complaints from alumni.

“There was a lot of confusion about what the students [in MSA] did and why,” she said. “A lot of people thought we were stopping a 9/11 recognition rather than starting one.”

Some alumni withdrew their names from the Alumni Association’s call list, closing off their line to request donations, Lewis said.

In several emails from alumni, Lewis said senders were upset that the University wouldn’t respect those killed in the 2001 attacks.

She said the alumni concerns were largely based on misinformation, and since the letter went out, many have responded to thank the association for clarifying MSA’s vote, she said.

“A lot was based on not having all the facts,” Lewis said. “At this point, I think the alumni now have the accurate picture of what happened.”