Demands by Whose Diversity? aren’t new

Since the first students attended the University of Minnesota, we have been embroiled in a struggle for equal access, democracy and social justice.

The conflict between those dedicated to elitism and exclusion and those struggling for equality has saturated every pore of the institution — from the 1969 Afro-American Action Committee takeover to the recent arrests of campus activists at Morrill Hall.

I wrote those same words in the Minnesota Daily in 2005, except I wasn’t talking about members of Whose Diversity?

I was writing about those enmeshed in the struggle to save the General College.

Over and over, current administrators have said these issues “take time.”

Ten years ago, the General College Truth Movement engaged in similar discourse and actions as Whose Diversity? In 2005, former University President Robert Bruininks and his administration announced their desire to become one of the top public research institutions.

Ostensibly, Bruininks believed the General College (which by and large served underrepresented students) was an obstruction to that goal.

An elite private ad hoc committee wrote the “strategic positioning” report that recommended closing GC and set off mass protest throughout campus.

There was a takeover of Morrill Hall on May 4, 2005. University police arrested nine General College Truth Movement members.

Two students were pepper sprayed.

There were trumped-up “obstructing legal process” charges against a union president who condemned police brutality.

But “this takes time,” they say. How much time?

Recent protests are a direct consequence of continued apathy, micro-aggressions and an unreserved denial by the administration (and others) to value the narrative of underrepresented students.