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Minnesota Student Association
Resolution to Rename Coffman
Created 1 December, 2017
Passed March 6, 2018
Authors: Nikil Badey, At-Large Representative
Emma Dunn, Student Group Representative, Minnesota Hillel
Apoorva Malarvannan, At-Large Representative
Sami Rahamim, Student Group Representative, Student Legal Services
Natasha Sohni, At-Large Representative
Chloe Williams, Student Group Representative, Black Student Union
Jael Kerandi, First Year Intern, MSA Sexual Assault Task Force
Co-Sponsors: Monica Delgado, President, Student Unions & Activities Board of
Governors
Brianna Hanson, Representative to the Student Senate Consultative
Committee
Mike Kenyanya, President, University of Minnesota Duluth Student
Association
State Representative Ilhan Omar
Trish Palermo, President, Minnesota Student Association
Guillermo Pérez, Ranking At-Large Representative
Student Group Sponsors: African Student Association
Al-Madinah Cultural Center
Alpha Epsilon Pi
American Indian Student Cultural Center
Asian-American Student Union
Beta Chi Theta Fraternity
Black Student Union
Carlson School of Management Business Board
College of Biological Sciences Student Board
College of Liberal Arts Student Board
College of Science and Engineering Student Board
Hmong Minnesota Student Association
Interfraternity Greek Council
La Raza Student Cultural Center
Minnesota Hillel
Minnesota International Student Association
Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences
Multicultural Greek Council
National Association of Black Accountants Student Chapter Board
Queer Student Cultural Center
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity
Sigma Nu Fraternity
Student Legal Services Board of Directors
Student Unions & Activities Board of Governors
Faculty Sponsors: Ronald Aminzade, Professor, Department of Sociology
Bianet Castellanos, Professor, Department of American Studies
Anna Clark, Professor, Department of History
Susan Craddock, Professor, Department of Gender,
Women, and Sexuality Studies and Institute for Global Studies
Sara Evans, Regents Professor Emerita, Department of History
Allen Isaacman, Regents Professor, Department of History
Amy Kaminsky, Professor Emerita, Department of Gender, Women,
and Sexuality Studies and Institute for Global Studies
Erika Lee, Director, Immigration History Research Center
Keith Mayes, Associate Professor, Department of African American
and African Studies
MJ Maynes, Professor, Department of History
Jennifer Pierce, Professor, Department of American Studies
Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor Emerita, Department of American Studies
Naomi Scheman, Professor Emerita, Department of Philosophy and
Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
Chinh Truong, College of Liberal Arts First Year Experience
Coordinator
Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor, Department of American Studies
and History
Terrion Williamson, ​Assistant Professor, African American and African
Studies
Concerning: ​The name of Coffman Memorial Union, the legacy of President Lotus Coffman, and the “A
Campus Divided: ​Progressives, Anticommunists, Racism and Antisemitism at the University of
Minnesota 1930-1942​” exhibit in Andersen Library;1
Whereas: ​Former President Lotus Coffman was the architect of publicly financed, segregated student
housing at the University of Minnesota, despite segregation being illegal under Minnesota law and2
uncommon in northern higher education institutions;
Whereas: ​President Coffman targeted and monitored African American and Jewish students during the
1930s;3
1
​http://acampusdivided.umn.edu/
2
​http://acampusdivided.umn.edu/index.php/person/lotus-d-coffman/
3
​http://acampusdivided.umn.edu/index.php/person/lotus-d-coffman/
Whereas:​ In August 1935, President Coffman and the Board of Regents refused to integrate Pioneer Hall
in, stating that the “housing of Negro students in Pioneer Hall...would not be conducive to their best
interests, nor to the interests of the other students who may be residing there;”4
Whereas:​ Other senior administrators including, but not limited to Comptroller William Middlebrook,
President Walter Coffey, and Dean of Student Affairs Edward Nicholson, created and enforced similarly
discriminatory and harmful policies, indicative of an institutional problem at the University of Minnesota;
Whereas: ​The main student union at the University of Minnesota is dedicated to Coffman for his support
of student activities. However, Coffman deliberately excluded minority students from student activities;
Whereas: ​Eight of the University’s multicultural groups are housed on 2nd floor of Coffman Memorial
Union;
Whereas: ​Foot traffic in Coffman on an average business day is 15,232, during an average business week
is 77,107, and during an average business month is 327,143;
Whereas: ​The University History Committee, led by College of Liberal Arts Dean Coleman, is working
on a University-wide renaming policy which will coincide with and complement the work of the Rename
Coffman Resolution;
Whereas: ​Vice Provost Maggie Towle recognized the importance of student voices in this conversation
at Minnesota Student Association Forum on 2/20/2018;
Whereas:​ During the 2016-2017 academic year, the University’s Campus Climate Workgroup
established the Bias Response and Referral Network, a system that “works to respond to bias incidents on
the Twin Cities Campus in ways that ​support those most impacted​, promote education and dialogue,
and affirm the University’s commitment to equity and diversity, free speech, and academic freedom;”5
Whereas:​ The Campus Climate Workgroup also launched a poster campaign titled, “We All Belong
Here.” This campaign seeks to promote tolerance through the following highly visible messages: “Our6
differences drive our greatness;” “Respect everyone every day;” “Rise above intolerance;” “Stand up to
injustice;” and “Strive to be inclusive;”7
Whereas: ​The persistence of Coffman’s name not only makes the University of Minnesota’s student
union less welcoming, but it also directly contradicts the “We All Belong Here” campaign, as former
President Coffman actively divided students and explicitly stated that not all types of students belong at
the institution;
4
​http://acampusdivided.umn.edu/index.php/text/coffman-rejects-integrating-pioneer-hall/
5
​https://bias-response.umn.edu
6
​https://campus-climate.umn.edu/content/‘we-all-belong-here’-campaign-launches
7
​https://bias-response.umn.edu
Whereas:​ The University is a public land-grant institution and held to a higher obligation to serve the
communities of Minnesota;
Whereas: ​The University has an opportunity to address its past and ensure that future honors bestowed
by the U reflect inclusive values. As stated in the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents Mission
Statement, “the University strives to sustain an open exchange of ideas in an environment that provides an
atmosphere of mutual respect, free from racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and intolerance;”8
Whereas:​ Universities throughout the United States, both public and private, are examining the histories
of past donors and leaders and concluding that some of these buildings should be renamed;
Whereas:​ Issues pertaining to racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia are still present on campus today;
Whereas:​ According to the Bias Response and Referral Network Year-One Report (2017) , BRRN9
received 76 bias incident reports between February 2016 and February 2017. 25 bias incidents were
related to religious-based discrimination and 16 were related to race-based discrimination;
Whereas​: 22 of the BRRN-reported incidents were reported in one month, February 2017. 9 of the 22
were categorized as “anti-Semitic” incidents, including swastikas and Nazi propaganda on University
property. This trend reflects a national rise in anti-Semitic and bias-related incidents;
Therefore: ​Minnesota Student Association (MSA) requests the removal of Lotus Coffman’s name from
Coffman Memorial Union.
Therefore:​ MSA requests the establishment of a committee of relevant and representative ​students​, staff,
and faculty to select a new name for the student union that aligns with the University’s current stated
principles -- to be done by the end of calendar year 2018.
Therefore:​ MSA recommends renaming Coffman Memorial Union as ​Memorial Union​, in memoriam to
the voices lost during Coffman’s administration as well as a neutral name comparable to the St. Paul
Student Center.
Therefore: ​MSA requests placement of a plaque inside Coffman Memorial Union that denotes the history
of the building and the legacy of President Lotus Coffman, including all contributions to the University.
Therefore: ​MSA requests establishing a permanent “A Campus Divided” exhibit on campus; incoming
students should understand the complete history of the university and have the opportunity to engage with
the exhibit.
8
​http://regents.umn.edu/sites/regents.umn.edu/files/policies/Mission_Statement.pdf
9
​https://bias-response.umn.edu/sites/bias-response.umn.edu/files/brrn-year-one-report.pdf
Therefore: ​MSA requests complete acknowledgement of past University presidents’ contributions on the
Presidential History website.10
Therefore:​ MSA supports future discussions on renaming buildings connected to individuals who
perpetuated similar discriminatory policies as President Lotus Coffman.
10
​https://president.umn.edu/about/presidential-history

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Msa resolution to_rename_coffman_union

  • 1. Minnesota Student Association Resolution to Rename Coffman Created 1 December, 2017 Passed March 6, 2018 Authors: Nikil Badey, At-Large Representative Emma Dunn, Student Group Representative, Minnesota Hillel Apoorva Malarvannan, At-Large Representative Sami Rahamim, Student Group Representative, Student Legal Services Natasha Sohni, At-Large Representative Chloe Williams, Student Group Representative, Black Student Union Jael Kerandi, First Year Intern, MSA Sexual Assault Task Force Co-Sponsors: Monica Delgado, President, Student Unions & Activities Board of Governors Brianna Hanson, Representative to the Student Senate Consultative Committee Mike Kenyanya, President, University of Minnesota Duluth Student Association State Representative Ilhan Omar Trish Palermo, President, Minnesota Student Association Guillermo Pérez, Ranking At-Large Representative Student Group Sponsors: African Student Association Al-Madinah Cultural Center Alpha Epsilon Pi American Indian Student Cultural Center Asian-American Student Union Beta Chi Theta Fraternity Black Student Union Carlson School of Management Business Board College of Biological Sciences Student Board College of Liberal Arts Student Board College of Science and Engineering Student Board Hmong Minnesota Student Association Interfraternity Greek Council La Raza Student Cultural Center Minnesota Hillel Minnesota International Student Association Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences Multicultural Greek Council National Association of Black Accountants Student Chapter Board Queer Student Cultural Center
  • 2. Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity Sigma Nu Fraternity Student Legal Services Board of Directors Student Unions & Activities Board of Governors Faculty Sponsors: Ronald Aminzade, Professor, Department of Sociology Bianet Castellanos, Professor, Department of American Studies Anna Clark, Professor, Department of History Susan Craddock, Professor, Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and Institute for Global Studies Sara Evans, Regents Professor Emerita, Department of History Allen Isaacman, Regents Professor, Department of History Amy Kaminsky, Professor Emerita, Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and Institute for Global Studies Erika Lee, Director, Immigration History Research Center Keith Mayes, Associate Professor, Department of African American and African Studies MJ Maynes, Professor, Department of History Jennifer Pierce, Professor, Department of American Studies Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor Emerita, Department of American Studies Naomi Scheman, Professor Emerita, Department of Philosophy and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Chinh Truong, College of Liberal Arts First Year Experience Coordinator Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor, Department of American Studies and History Terrion Williamson, ​Assistant Professor, African American and African Studies Concerning: ​The name of Coffman Memorial Union, the legacy of President Lotus Coffman, and the “A Campus Divided: ​Progressives, Anticommunists, Racism and Antisemitism at the University of Minnesota 1930-1942​” exhibit in Andersen Library;1 Whereas: ​Former President Lotus Coffman was the architect of publicly financed, segregated student housing at the University of Minnesota, despite segregation being illegal under Minnesota law and2 uncommon in northern higher education institutions; Whereas: ​President Coffman targeted and monitored African American and Jewish students during the 1930s;3 1 ​http://acampusdivided.umn.edu/ 2 ​http://acampusdivided.umn.edu/index.php/person/lotus-d-coffman/ 3 ​http://acampusdivided.umn.edu/index.php/person/lotus-d-coffman/
  • 3. Whereas:​ In August 1935, President Coffman and the Board of Regents refused to integrate Pioneer Hall in, stating that the “housing of Negro students in Pioneer Hall...would not be conducive to their best interests, nor to the interests of the other students who may be residing there;”4 Whereas:​ Other senior administrators including, but not limited to Comptroller William Middlebrook, President Walter Coffey, and Dean of Student Affairs Edward Nicholson, created and enforced similarly discriminatory and harmful policies, indicative of an institutional problem at the University of Minnesota; Whereas: ​The main student union at the University of Minnesota is dedicated to Coffman for his support of student activities. However, Coffman deliberately excluded minority students from student activities; Whereas: ​Eight of the University’s multicultural groups are housed on 2nd floor of Coffman Memorial Union; Whereas: ​Foot traffic in Coffman on an average business day is 15,232, during an average business week is 77,107, and during an average business month is 327,143; Whereas: ​The University History Committee, led by College of Liberal Arts Dean Coleman, is working on a University-wide renaming policy which will coincide with and complement the work of the Rename Coffman Resolution; Whereas: ​Vice Provost Maggie Towle recognized the importance of student voices in this conversation at Minnesota Student Association Forum on 2/20/2018; Whereas:​ During the 2016-2017 academic year, the University’s Campus Climate Workgroup established the Bias Response and Referral Network, a system that “works to respond to bias incidents on the Twin Cities Campus in ways that ​support those most impacted​, promote education and dialogue, and affirm the University’s commitment to equity and diversity, free speech, and academic freedom;”5 Whereas:​ The Campus Climate Workgroup also launched a poster campaign titled, “We All Belong Here.” This campaign seeks to promote tolerance through the following highly visible messages: “Our6 differences drive our greatness;” “Respect everyone every day;” “Rise above intolerance;” “Stand up to injustice;” and “Strive to be inclusive;”7 Whereas: ​The persistence of Coffman’s name not only makes the University of Minnesota’s student union less welcoming, but it also directly contradicts the “We All Belong Here” campaign, as former President Coffman actively divided students and explicitly stated that not all types of students belong at the institution; 4 ​http://acampusdivided.umn.edu/index.php/text/coffman-rejects-integrating-pioneer-hall/ 5 ​https://bias-response.umn.edu 6 ​https://campus-climate.umn.edu/content/‘we-all-belong-here’-campaign-launches 7 ​https://bias-response.umn.edu
  • 4. Whereas:​ The University is a public land-grant institution and held to a higher obligation to serve the communities of Minnesota; Whereas: ​The University has an opportunity to address its past and ensure that future honors bestowed by the U reflect inclusive values. As stated in the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents Mission Statement, “the University strives to sustain an open exchange of ideas in an environment that provides an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and intolerance;”8 Whereas:​ Universities throughout the United States, both public and private, are examining the histories of past donors and leaders and concluding that some of these buildings should be renamed; Whereas:​ Issues pertaining to racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia are still present on campus today; Whereas:​ According to the Bias Response and Referral Network Year-One Report (2017) , BRRN9 received 76 bias incident reports between February 2016 and February 2017. 25 bias incidents were related to religious-based discrimination and 16 were related to race-based discrimination; Whereas​: 22 of the BRRN-reported incidents were reported in one month, February 2017. 9 of the 22 were categorized as “anti-Semitic” incidents, including swastikas and Nazi propaganda on University property. This trend reflects a national rise in anti-Semitic and bias-related incidents; Therefore: ​Minnesota Student Association (MSA) requests the removal of Lotus Coffman’s name from Coffman Memorial Union. Therefore:​ MSA requests the establishment of a committee of relevant and representative ​students​, staff, and faculty to select a new name for the student union that aligns with the University’s current stated principles -- to be done by the end of calendar year 2018. Therefore:​ MSA recommends renaming Coffman Memorial Union as ​Memorial Union​, in memoriam to the voices lost during Coffman’s administration as well as a neutral name comparable to the St. Paul Student Center. Therefore: ​MSA requests placement of a plaque inside Coffman Memorial Union that denotes the history of the building and the legacy of President Lotus Coffman, including all contributions to the University. Therefore: ​MSA requests establishing a permanent “A Campus Divided” exhibit on campus; incoming students should understand the complete history of the university and have the opportunity to engage with the exhibit. 8 ​http://regents.umn.edu/sites/regents.umn.edu/files/policies/Mission_Statement.pdf 9 ​https://bias-response.umn.edu/sites/bias-response.umn.edu/files/brrn-year-one-report.pdf
  • 5. Therefore: ​MSA requests complete acknowledgement of past University presidents’ contributions on the Presidential History website.10 Therefore:​ MSA supports future discussions on renaming buildings connected to individuals who perpetuated similar discriminatory policies as President Lotus Coffman. 10 ​https://president.umn.edu/about/presidential-history