Opening of Coffman’s second floor shows improvement

by Jay Abdi, University student

I decided to take advantage of the Second Floor Advisory Committee’s invitation to attend the Ribbon Cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate the opening of Coffman Union’s second floor March 12. The event featured short speeches by Board of Governors President Paul Rudeen, Second Floor Advisory Committee member Grace Doherty and past Second Floor Advisory Committee member Lolla Mohammed Nur, as well as a speech by University President Eric Kaler.

The event was very unusual because there were many students carrying signs and protesting the opening. I didn’t understand why they were protesting the event until I asked an onlooker about it. He told me that some students are angry about how the second-floor renovation was handled because they were not consulted. He also told me about a host of other controversial matters that the students wanted to bring attention to.

Being a second-year student, I don’t see anything wrong with the renovation. The floor has a more inviting feeling now, if you ask me. The space seemed secluded and
uninviting before the renovation. The floor seemed like it was reserved for students of color and to aid in the school’s diversity initiative.

It’s hard to say that I’m coming from a place of misunderstanding because I am also a minority student at the University of Minnesota. These protesters should be glad that University administration has used some vital resources to improve the second floor and re-energize Coffman as a whole. Some students are just itching for a worthy cause to fight for, and unfortunately, this isn’t it.