MnSCU statement on racism and intolerance

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Recent events on campuses across the country remind us of the ugliness of racism and intolerance and its painful impact on the lives of our students, faculty, and staff. Because we are not immune to racism here in Minnesota, today we stand together – as leaders of Minnesota’s state colleges and universities – to condemn racism and intolerance and reaffirm our commitment to our core value: our colleges and universities are places of hope and opportunity where everyone can create a better future for themselves, for their families, and for their communities. And when we say everyone, we really do mean everyone.

The challenge for our nation and for our colleges and universities is how we, as a community, turn our core value into action and how we make absolutely certain that, on our campuses, hope defeats hate so that all Minnesotans fulfill their dreams for a better future.

We cannot deny the existence of racism and intolerance or pretend we do not hear racist and hateful language. And we cannot stand indifferent in the face of this historical challenge to eliminate racism and intolerance in our communities. Although we have taken deliberate steps to better understand the subtle and not so subtle ways that racism is practiced and experienced so our campuses can be more diverse and welcoming and so all students can succeed, there is much more work to be done.

When it comes to racism and intolerance, the way forward begins with a willingness to engage with each other with empathy and concern in what are sometimes difficult conversations. But, talking is not enough. We must listen – truly listen – to each other in a sincere effort to better understand our different perspectives and experiences. We must learn to build bridges across these differences. And, we absolutely must stand against racism and intolerance and work together with an abiding commitment to deliver solutions.

We must use the events of the past few weeks to rededicate ourselves to listening better than ever before; acting with a greater sense of urgency than ever before; and working together better than ever before in a spirit of trust and generosity.

Steven Rosenstone, Chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

Laura Urban, President, Alexandria Technical and Community College

Kent Hanson, President, Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College

Richard Hanson, President Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College

Larry Lundblad, President, Central Lakes College

Pat Opatz, Interim President, Century College

Tim Wynes, President Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College

Larry Anderson, President, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Merrill Irving, Jr., President, Hennepin Technical College

Patrick Johns, President, Lake Superior College

Devinder Malhotra, Interim President, Metropolitan State University

Avelino Mills-Novoa, Interim President, Minneapolis Community and Technical College

Dorothy Duran, President, Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical

Peggy Kennedy, President, Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Richard Davenport, President, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Anne Blackhurst, President, Minnesota State University Moorhead

Terry Gaalswyk, President, Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Joyce Ester, President, Normandale Community College

Bill Maki, President, Northeast Higher Education District

Barbara McDonald, President, North Hennepin Community College

Dennis Bona, President, Northland Community and Technical College

Joe Mulford, President, Pine Technical and Community College

Douglas Allen, President, Ridgewater College

Adenuga Atewologun, President, Riverland Community College

Leslie McClellon, President, Rochester Community and Technical College

Rassoul Dastmozd, President, Saint Paul College

Joyce Helens, President, St. Cloud Technical and Community College

Earl Potter, President, St. Cloud State University

Annette Parker, President, South Central College

Connie Gores, President, Southwest Minnesota State University

Scott Olson, President, Winona State University