As a person of color and a University of Minnesota staff member, I take umbrage at a Feb. 11 piece from the Minnesota Daily Editorial Board that paints the Whose Diversity? protest as somehow “missing the point.” Referring to Whose Diversity? the editorial stated, “conversation regarding the issues is stymied by their resolution that Kaler immediately adopt their ‘demands.’”
A little research reveals that Whose Diversity? initiated a campaign for changes in diversity efforts at the University of Minnesota back in 2010. The group presented its demands to the University administration in April 2014 and later took direct action.
Sadly, the Daily’s editorial left out these facts, electing instead to mischaracterize Whose Diversity? as unwilling to engage in dialogue. Such attempts to marginalize a student group legitimately working to change the climate at an institution dismally ranked on a variety of diversity measures and to which they pay tuition seem disingenuous and debilitating.
A more informed editorial might have accurately outlined the group’s demands and prior efforts to spur change in and pace of campus diversity efforts, instead of blankly dismissing Whose Diversity?’s efforts to move the administration beyond what it rightly sees as window dressing, which should be the focus of any responsible move toward earnestly building a more diverse climate.
The Daily’s editorial spun the protest as somehow rash and non-constructive, a typically reactionary response to civil disobedience, one designed to demoralize and gloss over the real issues. If the administration hopes to improve the campus climate, as it says, it should proceed with a sense of urgency and sensitivity — something the Editorial Board fails to recognize.