Posted on February 10, 2015

Minnesota Students Arrested After Holding Sit-in for More Diversity on Campus

Allison Maas, Campus Reform, February 10, 2015

A seven hour sit-in at the University of Minnesota resulted in the arrest of 13 people as the group protested a perceived lack of diversity on campus.

A group called Whose Diversity marched from Coffman Student Union to President Eric Kaler’s office in Morrill Hall with a list of eight demands, resulting in the lockdown of the building. After more than seven hours of deliberation with Kaler, Provost Karen Hanson and Vice President for Equity and Diversity Katrice Albert, 13 students and non-students were arrested for refusing to leave the building.

The 13 were arrested shortly before 7:30 p.m. and were escorted out of the building where they were taken to the Hennepin County Jail. The university said arresting the students was a last resort.

“This U has shown that it is not as welcoming or diverse as it wants to say it is,” Natia Linoo told Campus Reform.

Linoo was at the protest to show support but is not a student at the university anymore.

“The University shares a deep commitment to increasing faculty, staff and student diversity and to creating a community that welcomes and embraces all experiences and perspectives. Addressing these concerns requires partnerships with all parties working together to achieve a common goal. However, discussions and goal setting must occur without disrupting University business and with respect for the law,” the U of M said in a statement after the students were arrested.

Armed with pita bread and hummus to tide them over, the group was prepared to stay in the president’s office until their demands were met or they were forced out by police, Linoo told Campus Reform. {snip}

The eight demands included: increasing the number of faculty in the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, removing racial descriptions in university crime alerts, hiring more faculty of color, creating a program to recruit students of color from working-class families in the Twin Cities, requiring all students to take a course from an ethnic studies department, having a gender neutral bathroom in every campus building, and removing questions about past criminal offenses on university applications for potential students.


“We know that this is important, not because we are selfish or anything, but because people are literally dying. My people are dying every 28 hours in this nation by police hands,” Tori Hong, U of M graduate and one of the organizers of the rally, told Campus Reform. “And the fact that our campus is sanctioning racialized crime alerts, dehumanizing and criminalizing black people on this campus who are just trying to learn and get a degree and breathe. If we don’t change things here it’s just going to keep going.”