University of Minnesota

Recent Articles

Students challenge who defines U of M diversity

President declines invite to meet off-campus
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Whose Diversity? is a diverse “collective” of University of Minnesota undergraduate and graduate students who came together at the beginning of the year to argue against what they call a “cosmetic” commitment to diversity at the school. After they presented a list of “diversity demands” to President Eric Kaler, the group was featured in an MSR June front page story (“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,’” June 12, 2014),

After a December 1 meeting last week with Kaler and the group at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, a University statement emailed to the MSR said, “The meeting was productive. We look forward to working with all students, faculty and staff as we continue to address the important issues affecting campus climate.”

Group members, however, say they will “push” Kaler and other school administrators to do more. “I want to believe [Kaler] is sincere,” said Tanja Andie, a U of M sociology graduate student who was among the dozen Whose Diversity? Continue Reading →

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Longtime friends from Puerto Rico reunite on Gopher volleyball team

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. In an occasional series throughout the 2014-15 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. Junior Outside Hitter Daly Santana is the only one of her class on this year’s Gopher volleyball team, a young squad with two seniors, six sophomores and five freshmen. Before the season began last month, U-M Coach Hugh McCutcheon pointed to the third-year player from Puerto Rico as an expected leader on his squad. “Daly has done a really nice job over the summer to become more consistent as a volleyball player, and also become a leader on this team,” he says. Continue Reading →

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Young entrepreneur works to close the ‘access gap’

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

 

In a day and age when the Civil Rights Era clarion “We Shall Overcome” increasingly has changed for many Black people to “I have overcome,” Ernest Comer III’s sense of commitment to community is a refreshing rarity. “In all the work that I do,” he states, “my purpose lies in building pipelines to success through making connections and empowering others.” An already experienced community relations professional at 27, with a degree in communication studies from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis on African and African American studies, he has been employed at organizations where his desire to do for others was a perfect fit. For instance, in 2010, at Pillsbury United Communities, Comer was Public Allies program manager and recruitment director in a capacity that to this day reflects his ambition to effectively help bridge the gap between haves and have-nots, seeking to empower the disenfranchised. “The Measure,” he says, “is a Black male youth initiative that I’ve been working on with a couple of good friends who are also dedicated to this work. Continue Reading →

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Clinton decries growing U.S. political polarization

Ex-president, in Humphrey school speech, sounded alarm that we are ‘drifting apart’
 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

Barack Obama, or for that matter Jimmy Carter, or even former president Bill Clinton himself would not have been elected U.S. president if it wasn’t for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, said Clinton during a June 9 speech last week at the University of Minnesota Northrop Auditorium. The school’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, named after the late senator and vice president Hubert H. Humphrey, has co-sponsored a yearlong series of events to reflect on the 50th anniversary year of the law’s passage that’s largely believed to have ended de jure segregation in this country, primarily in the South. University of Minnesota Trustee Emeritus Dr. Josie Johnson, who introduced Clinton, told the audience that everyone should “challenge misinformation and seek truth.” She reiterated afterwards to the MSR that “the focus on justice, equity, civil rights, etcetera” must continue. “I wish we could create an environment where we could talk together,” she said. “Until we can pass legislation that opens opportunities for all of our children, and when our children understand their place in history and in society, until we do that I don’t think the future of our civil rights resonates with our children. Continue Reading →

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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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Black nurses celebrate their contributions to health care

By Brandi Phillips

Contributing Writer

 

MN Black Nurses Association is an organization that is dedicated to providing support, advocacy and programs to further advance the nursing profession and eliminate health disparities through the delivery of culturally competent, quality health care in our communities. Under the direction of Association President Shirlynn LaChappelle, RN., SNP, and Association Treasurer Hazel Tanner, BSN, RN, MPH, the organization’s primary mission is to reduce health disparities among African Americans. They also work from a collectivist perspective in order to investigate, define and determine what the needs are of African Americans across the healthcare spectrum. Overall, the MN Black Nurses Association wants to empower the African American community and improve their health. In an effort to continue the organization’s mission, the Association held its 2nd Annual Gala “Circle of Care — One Person at a Time” at the Boulevard Hotel in Brooklyn Center on Saturday, May 3. Continue Reading →

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MSR’s ‘Only One’ at the NCAA softball regionals

After a long winter, our “Only One” reporter finally got out and spent last weekend as the only Black media member in the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium press box at the NCAA Minneapolis Regional softball tournament at the University of Minnesota. Again I seemingly wore my invisible suit as the passing-out-stats people passed me by on a couple of occasions. Before last weekend’s four-team double elimination tournament, I promised Gophers’ Tyler Walker and Madie Eckstrom that I would attend. The two previously were featured a couple of weeks ago in our Gopher 100 series.  

“We are going to see a whole lot of each other,” exclaimed Walker. Continue Reading →

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