Tori Hong

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Student group presents ‘diversity demands’ to U of M officials

‘Whose Diversity?’ resists cooptation, wants more than ‘sprinkling a few faces of color in catalogues’

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

The issue of diversity is ever-present at the University of Minnesota. However, this may be the only thing both top administrators and a diverse group of students can easily agree upon. “We all want to make the university a better place, and we are glad that they are raising these issues,” declares U of M Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita Brown Young when asked about an independent student group calling itself “Whose Diversity?”

The “Whose Diversity?” collective is a diverse group of both undergraduate and graduate students “from underrepresented and marginalized communities.” They presented a list of “diversity demands” to top school officials in late April, including Brown Young, President Eric Kaler, and Vice President for Equity and Diversity Katrice Albert that included “substantive engagement,” a high priority on recruiting, retaining and graduating students of color, and a “comprehensive educational experience for all students,” according to the document. “We decided as a collective that we didn’t want to [be] backed by the university and be formally recognized as a student group or student organization,” said Rahsaan Mahadeo. “We’ve seen examples of how student groups have become co-opted by the university and made to adhere to their demands, and we didn’t want to do that.”

Both Albert and Brown Young told the MSR in separate interviews that efforts to meet with “Whose Diversity?” leaders have been unsuccessful. Continue Reading →

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