Statements from the Office for Equity and Diversity and the Vice President

Supporting DACA recipients in our community

Since the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was instituted in 2012, more than 825,000 young people have been able to pursue degrees in higher education, launch careers, and make great contributions to our communities, state, and nation. We are fortunate that DACA recipients have chosen the University of Minnesota to continue their education and build their careers. 

We are therefore deeply disappointed that DACA recipients are once again facing additional uncertainty. A Texas federal district court judge recently ruled that the DACA program is unlawful and blocked any new initial applications from being processed. Individuals who already have DACA will continue to have protection from deportation, at least for now. 

The Biden administration has stated it plans to appeal the ruling, but barring changes to the law, uncertainty for DACA recipients will likely persist. We as a University system will do everything we can to advocate for and support those affected by the recent decision. President Gabel already signed a letter joining other higher education and business leaders urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Dream Act of 2021.

Significantly, this ruling does not impact Minnesota’s Dream Act, a state law that was implemented by the Board of Regents. Students who meet the law's criteria will continue to receive in-state tuition and can apply for state and institutional financial aid. 

DACA recipients and undocumented individuals are valued members of our University community, and we must not let this ruling minimize their positive impact and tremendous success. We urge our nation’s leaders to work together on compassionate and informed policies that will protect our students and their families, and keep the promise of opportunity for all.

Sincerely,

Rachel T.A. Croson
Executive Vice President and Provost

Michael Goh
Vice President for Equity and Diversity

Meredith McQuaid
Associate Vice President and Dean of International Programs

Calvin Phillips
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Scott Lanyon
Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education

 

Resources and Support

We strongly encourage all students and employees affected by immigration policy changes to contact the Immigration Response Team (IRT) with questions about their immigration status or their situation at the University. Departments, faculty, and advisors are also encouraged to contact the IRT with questions or refer students for support and consultations. On the IRT website, you will also find more specific information on recent immigration policy changes, national resources, and ways to get engaged and affect change.

View this message on the web

Statement on the One-Year Anniversary of the Murder of George Floyd

“Six-year-old GiGi Floyd said it best: “Daddy changed the world.”  

One year after the murder of her father, George Floyd, many might argue that not enough has changed. Acts of violence based in racism, misogyny, and hatred still occur. Yet, GiGi was right. The world is different today. And that difference gives hope of profound and sustainable change.  

The University of Minnesota is examining our mission-driven role in effecting positive change through our teaching, research, and service. 

We must teach in a way that recognizes a history that has for too long been selective and operated both intentionally and unconsciously to perpetuate discriminatory systems. We must foster a climate and culture where students of different races, gender expressions, religious beliefs, and abilities do not have to question their welcome, recognizing that only through understanding and inclusion can we help prepare all students for success in a rapidly changing world. As Krysjahn Johnson (‘21, UMR, Health Sciences Major), one of the first recipients of the U of M Scholarship in honor of George Floyd, said, “The best thoughts and ideas are in a diverse group of people. They even have research on this. I wonder sometimes, why is that not already happening? I hope to be a pioneer in making sure there are all kinds of faces and bodies in every type of job and I think that will make America and the world, in general, a better place.”  

We have the ability to accelerate change through research like Dr. Rachel Hardeman’s, whose work at the Center for Anti-Racism Research for Health Equity, established in 2021, is dedicated to addressing and uprooting structural racism’s impact on health and healthcare. “As a Black child growing up in Minnesota, it was clear to me from a very young age that not everyone was afforded the same opportunities to achieve optimal health and wellbeing,” she said. “I saw very real examples of racial health inequities in my own family and within the broader community. I have dedicated my career to advancing racial justice so that Black communities can live full, healthy lives, and I see no better place to do this than right here at home.”

Our service must include University of Minnesota Law School Dean Garry Jenkins’ recognition that this response cannot be temporary. “Our students understand that the Black community has been in extraordinary pain, and that our society has real work to do to make racial equity and justice a reality for all Americans,” Jenkins explains. “Lawyers and Minnesota Law will need to address these issues head-on. Students want to understand, study, and engage with these issues now so they are prepared to make a difference in our profession.”

The death of George Floyd has accelerated efforts already underway. The University – through leadership and the actions of students, staff, and faculty – is working to advance research, teaching, and engagement that promotes fair housing, equal access to healthcare, new approaches to public safety, stronger pathways to both early and higher education, and criminal justice reform, to name only a few imperatives.

As we remember George Floyd, we must also remember that the world changed not just because he died, but because 17-year-old Darnella Frazier had the courage not to look away. By filming his murder, she enabled the world to see injustice more clearly than before and, by seeing, to act more decisively to build a world where equity is part of everyone’s lived experience. We too shall not look away.

Sincerely,

Michael Goh
Professor and Vice President for Equity and Diversity

PDF icon View PDF version of this statement, which includes U of M Resources, information on Governor Walz's moment of silence in honor of George Floyd on May 25 at 1 pm, our strategic priorities, and more.

Statement on the Murder Conviction of Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin (4/20/21)

“We are the epicenter for change.” Courteney Batya Ross, George Floyd’s partner outside the Hennepin County Courthouse before the reading of the verdict 

“I am hoping this verdict will finally help me get some sleep” – Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd before the reading of the verdict 

Earlier today, our community, state, nation, and world collectively stopped and waited together, hoping for justice as news spread that the jury had reached a verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Together, we held hope for a verdict that might allow George Floyd’s family some measure of peace and closure; a verdict that might allow Philonise Floyd to, finally, get some sleep. We recognized that in this moment, as George Floyd’s partner Courteney Batya Ross said outside the Hennepin County Government Center before the verdict was announced, Minneapolis was indeed the “epicenter for change.”  Their voices reflect our aspirations and our humanity.

The jury delivered. Twelve people held Derek Chauvin accountable for the murder of George Floyd. If your response was anything like mine, it was difficult to contain the emotions I felt when three guilty verdicts were read. Profound relief, yes, but also great sadness.

I recognize that it is important to allow room to feel thankful for the work of those involved in the trial, the dedicated service and courage of the jury, and for those who raised their voices in support for our communities. It is important to take time to reflect on and process the outcome for which so many have waited and prayed for. But it is also important to recognize that a verdict cannot return George Floyd to his family, and cannot compensate for the pain of his loss. We continue to grieve with the family and friends of George Floyd who mourn his death. Profound wrongs cannot be corrected by legal redress and can only be prevented in the future through collective action and social change. 

As we move forward, we will continue to say his name. George Floyd. We will say the name of Daunte Wright. Police-involved acts of violence have taken many more lives across the nation, including thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago less than a month ago. It is essential that the systems that allow this violence be changed.  

As President Gabel said in her message earlier today, our collective advocacy, allyship, and action in the fight against structural racism has never been more critical. The Office for Equity and Diversity is committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and access through our education program and resources, initiatives, faculty and staff directed groups, affinity spaces, community and University facing unit offices, and funding to support BIPOC students, faculty, and staff. We are working daily to achieve our goals of access, justice, and equity at the University and in all of our communities. We welcome your partnership as we challenge and reimagine the systems that allow racism and hate to persist – and work to truly be an epicenter for change. 

PDF icon View PDF version of statement

University of Minnesota Supports Our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Communities (3/17/21)

Yesterday we learned of a series of violent attacks in the Atlanta area that claimed the lives of eight people, six of the victims identified as Asian. This incident is one of many in the alarming rise of violence and hate against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly condemn these horrific attacks and denounce all forms of racism and xenophobia.

We have heard from community members that have been impacted by the news of the shootings and understand the ongoing fear of being targeted based on race, ethnicity, and identity. The University and the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) are working to ensure that our campus is one where all feel welcome and safe. We encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed bias at the University of Minnesota to report the incident to the Bias Response and Referral Network at z.umn.edu/bias. Please know that we are here to support you. It is my sincere hope that you will access University resources available to you as needed. Links are provided below for your convenience.

Our commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all of our community members includes addressing bias incidents that occur, supporting impacted individuals, and providing education and resources to address and combat bias and hatred. We welcome and appreciate your partnership as we continue to work together to uphold and advance our University values in these challenging times.   

Sincerely,

Michael Goh
Professor and Vice President for Equity and Diversity

PDF icon View PDF version of statement


U of M Resources

For Students

For Faculty and Staff

U of M Campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Units

Anti-Racism Resources

Office for Equity & Diversity Statement on the Murder of George Floyd (6-4-20)

We are reeling in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Department officer. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, George Floyd was pinned down, pleading for the officer to spare his life. “Please, I can’t breathe.” “Everything hurts.” “They’re going to kill me.” Bystanders tried to intervene, but the officers refused to listen.

George Floyd’s final words force us to confront graphic and undeniable evidence of systemic racism and violence against Black communities. We cannot look away.

Protests have erupted in Minnesota and across the country and world, calling for us to fight against systems of oppression that are built to marginalize, harm, and kill members of our communities. We cannot wait for more Black lives to be lost. 

We support President Gabel’s action to limit work with the Minneapolis Police Department. We thank Jael Kerandi, President of the Minnesota Student Association, and the many students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members who are advocating and calling for immediate and swift action. 

We know that more work needs to be done. The Office for Equity and Diversity is committed to partnering across the University to dismantle systemic racism. We hear and support the demands for leadership and accountability. We also hear the questions about what each of us can do while we work on longer-term efforts. As a start, consider the following actions

  1. Listen: Listen to members of Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color who continue to experience the damaging effects of historical trauma, oppression, and systemic racism. Our communities have knowledge and lived experiences that must be elevated. 
  2. Learn: Learn about anti-Blackness and its pervasive and harmful impact on Black communities. Learn more about your role in creating change. Dismantling systemic racism cannot happen without an understanding of the history of our University,  state, and nation. 
  3. Support: Support impacted communities. Donate. Volunteer. Create intentional spaces to process anger, sadness, and grief. There are many immediate and long-term needs.
  4. Advocate: Make your voice heard. Get involved in efforts to create change within and beyond the University. Systemic change cannot happen without direct action and advocacy. 

The University is closed this afternoon in honor of George Floyd’s memorial service. We will take this time to reflect. We know that immediacy and grief will fade, but we cannot forget George Floyd. Tanisha Anderson. Michael Brown. Philando Castile. Jamar Clark. Eric Garner. Botham Jean. Tamir Rice. Breonna Taylor. There are many more names. Many more Black lives taken by police violence. Say their names. Remember them. Commit to action. 

PDF icon View PDF version of statement

Fighting COVID-19 Related Bias (4-27-20)

Dear University Community,

Over the past several weeks we have done our best to adjust to difficult circumstances that have disrupted our daily lives and threatened our health and wellbeing. I am proud of the strength and resilience of our University community. I know we will continue working together to care for ourselves and one another during this crisis. 

An important part of that care is offering support to our Asian and Asian-American community members who are experiencing an increase in incidents of racism and xenophobia related to COVID-19. These incidents harm our students, staff, and faculty, and leave many feeling unsafe and unwelcome at a time when there is heightened fear and anxiety due to the number of bias incidents occurring in Minnesota and across the country. 

The University does not tolerate racism and xenophobia. We are deeply committed to creating an inclusive environment for all of our community members. To combat COVID-19 related bias, we are communicating openly and often, encouraging reporting and tracking, offering direct support to impacted individuals, and providing opportunities for education. 

President Gabel’s messages to the University community have included information from the CDC on reducing stigma related to COVID-19 and campus-specific resources for those who believe they have witnessed or experienced bias. When reports are made, we are able to track overall trends, learn more about what types of incidents are occurring, and provide support and resources to impacted individuals. Please visit Safe Campus for more information on reporting resources.   

We also know that education is key in the fight against bias. The Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) recently launched Equity Certificate Hosted Online (ECHO), a new online equity and diversity certificate program. We hope that ECHO and other educational opportunities will increase understanding and proactively address climate on our campuses. 

I want to assure you that we are taking all incidents of bias, racism, and xenophobia seriously. I encourage you to reach out to my office with feedback and suggestions for how we can continue to create an inclusive and welcoming climate for all. 

I invite all of us to be intentional in continuing to show compassion, empathy, and kindness during these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Michael Goh
Professor and Vice President for Equity and Diversity

PDF icon Download PDF

Statement on New Zealand Mosque Shootings (3/15/19)

Once again, we stand witness to the most recent mass shooting in New Zealand that claimed the lives of 49 people as they gathered peacefully in prayer. At our University, we hear the call to go beyond the extension of thoughts and prayers in response to this all too common pattern of violence against groups based on their identities.

Nonetheless, my heart pains for those affected directly by the loss of loved ones, friends, and colleagues in New Zealand. It aches as well for those here closer to home and around the globe who are grieving for the senseless loss of life.

This attack was directed explicitly toward Muslims and the Muslim community. At our University we condemn Islamophobia, racism, bigotry and violence in all forms. To dismantle the systems that allow hatred to flourish, we must take action in addition to extending our thoughts and prayers to victims.

Each one of us can commit to learning more about those who are different from us. Each one of us can commit to behaving in ways that embody kindness. Each one of us can commit to engaging in a collective effort to be and do better in confronting bias.

Our University can continue to provide space for education that addresses all forms of hatred. Our University can continue to work towards ensuring that our community is one where everyone can feel safe, both physically and psychologically. Indeed, our University can work to promote systems that support, encourage and endorse the constructive expression of differences and the ability to hear such expressions of difference in a non-defensive way.

Together, we can and we must continue to counter hatred in all its forms so that we can work collaboratively to ensure a more peaceful future.

Response to Pittsburgh Tragedy (10/31/18)

Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger. These are the names of the innocent people who lost their lives in the hate-driven attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue. It is important to say and remember their names, their families, and the significant pain that many are feeling after this horrific attack.

Across the University, students, staff, faculty, and leaders are coming together to mourn the loss of life, offer support to our Jewish community members, and find ways to ensure that our campuses are a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

This tragedy followed potential violence targeting politicians and journalists and an apparent hate-driven killing of two African-Americans in a grocery store in Louisville, Kentucky. We recognize that acts of violence, even those that do not occur at the University of Minnesota, lead to fear and anxiety on our campuses. Although we cannot alleviate those fears completely, we want to send a strong message of support to all who are impacted.

That we live in such times where hateful acts dominate our daily existence is reason to pause. That we have to write many such statements, too frequently, demands action more than words. That we want to convey more than “thoughts and prayers” means that every single one of us must consider what “I” (not “they”) can do to promote learning, understanding, healing, and peace.

If we truly want to become campus communities within a system, then we must spend as much energy bridging our differences as we are prone to highlighting our differences. Higher education, and our campuses, must be spaces where we can hold tensions and differences in robust yet respectful ways. We must recover dignity in our discourses, and we must seek out the common humanity in us all. We must also rediscover kindness and caring.

It is our responsibility to support one another, especially in times of tragedy. We will provide education to address all forms of hatred, bigotry, and anti-Semitism. We will continue to condemn acts of violence. We will continue to promote peace. We will continue in our efforts to create communities where everyone feels safe and valued.

This is the University of Minnesota I hope we can imagine.

Expression of Support and Policy Update (10/30/18)

Dear University Community,

With current national discussions around issues of access, rights, and the safety of transgender and gender non-conforming communities, it is an appropriate time to update our campuses about the University’s priorities and commitments. The state of Minnesota and our University have a long history of advocating for LGBTQ rights. In 1993, Minnesota became the first state to include gender identity protections. Similarly, the University of Minnesota is home to the first LGBTQ program office to include “T” in its title. We are proud to carry this legacy forward.

We must ensure that everyone feels safe, welcome, and valued on our campuses. This cannot be realized with words alone; our statements must be followed by action. Our draft administrative policy entitled Equity and Access: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Names and Pronouns, and the intensive process to engage and receive feedback during its development, demonstrates this commitment.

The draft policy is a response to students, staff, and faculty asking for guidance on how to create an inclusive environment for transgender and gender non-conforming communities. While the University’s anti-discrimination policies prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression, we need more clarity about how to navigate this complex and fast-changing area of human rights. The draft policy and the discussions we are having about its implementation with student, faculty, and staff governance groups provides a highly visible, accessible, and centralized resource.

Consultation with students, staff, and faculty across the University system began in 2017 and will continue this fall. We expect the policy to be presented to the University Senate in Spring 2019, and implemented in Fall 2019. This process fosters broad collaboration to develop the best and most comprehensive policy that considers everyone’s rights and needs. Strong support for the draft policy has been expressed throughout the consultation process, and we are proud of the University’s commitment to achieving inclusive excellence.

We are not alone in our work. Institutions and organizations across the country are formally declaring support for transgender and gender non-conforming communities. We will continue to lead by example through our words and our actions. Now is the time for us to show how we come together, even with our many differences, to lift up and protect the rights of all members of our University community.

Sincerely,

Michael Goh
Professor and Vice President for Equity and Diversity

Accessibility

Please contact OED at oed@umn.edu or 612-624-0594 if you would like these statements provided in an alternate format.