Coffman renaming taskforce receives another delay

The delay was made to give the taskforce more time to conduct research.

Passersby walk next to Coffman Union on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. 

Jasmin Kemp

Passersby walk next to Coffman Union on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. 

by Michelle Griffith

The process to rename the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Union and three other campus buildings has been further delayed, according to a University release sent Thursday.

The University announced Thursday the task force charged with creating recommendations to rename Coffman and three other campus buildings was granted an extension on Oct. 26. University President Eric Kaler granted the extension after receiving a letter on Oct. 25 from the task force co-chairs stating its six-week timeline was insufficient. 

The task force asked for more time to establish a framework for future discussions of name removal and changes. “[I]n order to provide adequate time to complete our research inquiries and evaluate each building on its own merit as thoroughly as possible, we kindly request an extension to mid-December 2018,” the letter read. 

Kaler granted the request, with a deadline for the task force to report back to him by Dec. 17, according to his reply letter. The task force was originally scheduled to finish the report by Nov. 15. 

The extension comes after University community members expressed frustration over what they say is a slow process

In 2017, a University committee created a set of recommendations to guide the process of renaming the four buildings, which are the namesakes of figures with controversial histories. Using the recommendations, Kaler created a task force to analyze the information and establish more recommendations for the process. 

According to an all-campus email sent by Kaler Thursday morning, he will present final recommendations to the Board of Regents in spring 2019.  

“It’s important that the recommendation of the task force is thoughtful and thorough,” said Minnesota Student Association President Simran Mishra in a statement sent to the Minnesota Daily. “For this reason, I understand the extension requested and look forward to seeing the insights.” 

Mishra also said in the statement: “It’s important to note the overall time frame of the decision has not changed.” 

Some students have already moved away from using the Coffman name. MSA sent a petition to students last month encouraging students to use different names such as “Memorial Union.” 

Board Chair David McMillan said last month the process may seem long because it was put on hold over the summer. 

“I see no reason not to grant an extension on this important effort, with the goal of a complete report with recommended actions on all four buildings named in the Oct. 4 charge,” Kaler said in his response to the request for an extension.