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Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

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Published June 21, 2024

Students should celebrate Coffman Union

This week is the 75th anniversary of Coffman Union. Students at the University of Minnesota should be very proud of the fact that it was students who led the efforts to build and govern the union, which is still the case today.
 
It’s also true, both historically and today, that various student issues, social justice and political movements typically occur in or near the student union. Some of it started in the early decades of the school’s history, when students protested University administrators prohibited them from taking their shoes off while dancing in the Great Hall. 
 
After World War II, the campus population grew exponentially due to the GI Bill. Hence, students led the movement to create a larger student union, which was originally built to accommodate 14,000 students.
 
In the 1960s, students closed down Washington Avenue Southeast and took over Coffman Union during the Vietnam War. Coffman was also a backdrop during the Iranian crisis in the 1980s. 
 
More recently, many of the student cultural centers started at or were relocated to Coffman Union. Today, the union plays host to a diverse student body as well as a diverse array of student programs.
 
Students should be proud of the role Coffman Union has had on this campus — after all, it’s your student union, so celebrate 75 years.
 
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