Minnesota universities protest racism

Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Apr 12 12:24:05 MDT 2001

Minnesota universities protest racism

By Erwin Marquit

MARSHALL, Minn. - An April 3 march at Southwest State University protested the
abolition of the American Indian Studies and Dakotas Studies (AISDS) Program, the
university's only ethnic studies program.

The university administration attempted to justify this action as a consequence of
Gov. Jesse Ventura's proposed education budget. Student and faculty speakers at the
rally, however, attributed this decision to the pattern of racism that extends over
the state's four-year college system.

Ever since the AISDS program was first approved by a narrow faculty vote of 37-31, the
program's faculty and students have had to struggle constantly for its survival in
face of budget cuts, tenure struggle, staff retrenchment, hostility, harassment and

At St. Cloud State University, Minnesota's second largest university, four faculty
members have complained about systematic patterns of anti-Semitism by other faculty
and administrators.

Commenting on the charge to the Washington Post, Tamrat Tademo, an African-American
professor of multicultural education and founder of the Faculty and Staff Caucus of
Color, said, "On multiple levels, discrimination exists, both anti-Semitism and
racism, and it's entrenched."

The new university president, Roy H. Saigo, pointing to his own racist internment with
his Japanese-American parents during World War II, has asked the Minnesota Jewish
Community Relations Council to conduct a "climate study" on the campus to gauge the
extent of anti-Semitism and recommend changes.

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