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Photos by Mitchell Palmer McDonald 

Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses

to mmcdonald@spokesman-recorder.com. 

 

 

 

 

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New U of M hire advocates for students

Student Affairs Vice Provost challenges Black students
to use their voice on campus
 

First of a two-part story

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

The MSR first met Danita Brown Young at a Gopher football game this fall, just a few months after she’d assumed her duties as the University of Minnesota’s chief student affairs officer this past July. “I am a sports fanatic and love all Cleveland professional sports teams. I also love NASCAR racing,” wrote the Kent, Ohio native on her wedding website. We subsequently arranged a sit-down interview with U of M Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Young at her office in Appleby Hall during first-semester finals week last month. “I am a Midwestern,” she told us proudly. “What’s interesting about my family is that we were the first African American family to settle in Kent, Ohio. Continue Reading →

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Off-and-on student discovers it’s never too late PhD Project encourages people of color to pursue graduate business study

PhD Project encourages people of color to pursue graduate business study
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

It took a while, but V. Marcia Pruitt later this month finally will get her sheepskin. Pruitt, a St. Paul Central graduate, will receive her bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University during a December 17 fall commencement ceremony. Her journey is a testimonial to the value of formal education and the importance of taking advantage of available support along the way. “It was on my bucket list to do,” noted Pruitt, who graduates with magna cum laude honors. Continue Reading →

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One Black coach, a few Black players reach NCAA women’s volleyball playoffs

 

 

 

Each of the four teams that played in the NCAA first- and second-round volleyball matches hosted last weekend by the University of Minnesota had at least one player of color: Cheyanne James (Radford), Alexis Austin (Colorado), Victoria Hurtt and Erin Taylor (Iowa State), and two Puerto Rico-born players: Iowa State’s Neira Ortiz Ruiz and the Gophers’ Daly Santana. James was second on her squad in kills — one of a school-record five players receiving all-conference honors. Hurtt thrice led Iowa State with 20-plus kills. Colorado Coach Liz Kritza called the sophomore Austin “team-oriented.”

While seeing a low single-digit number of players of color at a volleyball match, even a post-season match, wasn’t that surprising, discovering that one of the schools was coached by a Black female was a surprise, especially since, unlike the other three schools, her photo was not included in her school’s pre-game notes. Marci Jenkins last weekend completed her sixth season at Radford (Va.) University, which won the Big South conference this year. Continue Reading →

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Spotlight on the Gophers 100

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. Beginning this week and throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Gopher sophomore volleyball player Daly Santana

Although last Wednesday’s Minnesota-Wisconsin volleyball match wasn’t billed that way, it featured an “Only One” matchup as U of M soph outside hitter Daly Santana and Twin Cities native Dominique Thompson, a U of W junior, were the

only players of color that night at the Sports Pavilion. Santana finished with 10 kills, 11 digs, and had one of the team’s three aces in the 3-1 regular-season home finale win. “You look at her performance tonight — it was really strong,” remarked Gopher Coach Hugh McCutcheon afterwards. Continue Reading →

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Upcoming TV show to address media neglect of women’s sports

Almost half of all athletes are women, but not even five percent are shown in this country’s media. This is expected to be discussed in the upcoming U of M Tucker Center-TPT2 co-produced Media Coverage and Female Athletes on Channel 2 this Sunday, December 1, at 7 pm. Tucker Center Associate Director Nicole LaVoi told the MSR during her group’s 20th-year celebration in October that the show features interviews with academic types, coaches, players and the media. Sadly, this longtime women’s sports reporter wasn’t contacted, but if I had been I would have easily pointed to these examples:

Only two women’s games were shown on ESPN’s college basketball 24-hour tip-off live telecasts despite the availability of three of their eight channels for use during that time. Fox Sports North shows every Timberwolves game live and replays them at least twice afterwards but annually only shows six Minnesota Lynx games — with no repeats. Continue Reading →

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Record win streak ends for Gopher women’s hockey

 

 

 

Now that “The Streak” is snapped, will it be truly recognized as a historic feat?  Minnesota’s 62-game women’s hockey win streak ended with a 3-2 loss Sunday against North Dakota. The Gophers hadn’t lost a game since February 17, 2012, when they also lost at home in a 2-1 overtime defeat to North Dakota. This reporter vividly remembers when the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team won 90 games in a row over a three-year period (2008-10) and too many mainstream sports know-it-alls dismissed it as only women rather than correctly placing the streak two games better than UCLA’s 88-win streak (1971-74). The UConn’s streak didn’t need an asterisk, and neither should Minnesota. North Dakota Coach Brian Idalski told the MSR Sunday after his team’s one-goal victory to salvage a split in the two-game weekend series, “It [the streak] was a pretty special thing not only for Minnesota but for all women’s hockey. Continue Reading →

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Rolling up our sleeves to take on the achievement gap

 

 

By Katrice Albert

Guest Commentator

 

It’s not surprising to hear Minneapolis/St. Paul has one of the widest student education achievement gaps — between children of color and White children — in the United States. It’s a ranking we can’t wait to shake, just as quickly as we can, for good. Doing so requires hard work on many fronts: rolling up our sleeves, listening, partnering and leading. That’s why the University of Minnesota is working with schools, school districts, parents, families, teachers and students to address this issue on many fronts. Continue Reading →

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U of M takes on Minnesota’s school achievement gap — Community organizations collaborate on Northside research

 
First of a two-part story
 

By Lauretta Dawolo Towns

Contributing Writer

Last spring’s edition of Connect, a quarterly newsletter of the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), announced a major initiative to reduce the Black-White achievement gap in Minnesota. Since it was not apparent in the story what role African Americans were playing in this effort, we decided to inquire further. Our question: Given that African American children are least proficient in reading and math (grades 3-12), where are African Americans involved in the U of M’s efforts to close one of the worst achievement gaps between Blacks and Whites in the United States? We began our look into the U of M’s response to the achievement gap with a leadership profile. Professors Michael Rodriguez, associate professor of educational psychology, Campbell Leadership Chair in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and Misty Sato, associate professor of curriculum and instruction and Carmen Starkson Campbell Endowed Chair for Innovation in Teacher Development, were featured prominently in the Connect story as initiative leaders. Continue Reading →

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Another View Extra — Coaching Gopher basketball a career killer

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

 

Only two coaches in Minnesota men’s basketball history have ever led teams to a national championship: Clem Haskins won two NIT crowns in the 1990s, and Tubby Smith won the 1998 NCAA title at Kentucky. Both Black men have the most 20-win seasons: seven for Haskins and five for Smith. However, both men also have the dubious honor to have been fired at Minnesota. Despite a 511-226 career record in 22 seasons, Smith unfortunately is a victim of college sports’ “What have you done for me lately?” philosophy. “When you let a guy go with the character and the skill of Tubby Smith, you better have an idea of somebody who can turn things around, and I don’t know of any of the elite coaches [seeking the Gophers job],” says Washington, D.C. radio host Mark Gray.  “I don’t know what direction they are going, but you are trading a sense of value when you disrespect a guy who’s a Hall of Fame-caliber coach.”

Minnesota AD Norwood Teague thinks that the next coach will have an easier time than Smith did selling the idea to blue-chippers that playing in a “classic” Williams Arena, a place that only looks good when it’s full of people, is an urban hoopster’s dream. Continue Reading →

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