Message to campus community 9/13/18

  Office of the President

Dear members of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities community,

As you may have heard, in July I announced that this year would be my last as president of this great university. I am energized and excited about everything we’ll accomplish together in the next 10 months, and one of my top priorities will be advancing the work on building naming and institutional history.

Here’s a brief update on the President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee on University History (Coleman Committee) and immediate next steps: 

  • Over the summer, Executive Vice President and Provost Hanson and I met with College of Liberal Arts dean John Coleman, who chaired the committee. We discussed the committee’s report (May 2018 Coleman Report), which outlines guiding principles and a process for renaming or removing names: a way we can reflect on our core institutional values to shape how we move forward together.
  • Soon, EVPP Hanson, Faculty Consultative Committee Chair Joe Konstan, and I will announce a task force to be cochaired by Dean Coleman and Susanna Blumenthal, William Prosser Professor of Law and professor of history.  
  • By November 15, this group, with representation from faculty, staff, and students, will provide to us recommended actions on the specific buildings mentioned in the recent  “A Campus Divided” exhibit and on the proposal from MSA to rename Coffman Memorial Union. 

Our full response to the Coleman Committee goes beyond naming, as is recommended in the Coleman Report; more information can be found on the President’s website. As we finalize the formal charge to the task force, we will also post that to the website and continue to provide updates there on the ongoing work.

I am extremely grateful for the exceptional work by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members reflected in the Coleman Report. I also offer thanks to “A Campus Divided” curators Professor Emerita Riv-Ellen Prell and doctoral student Sarah Atwood, to University Libraries staff who contributed to this work, the activists and allies—also highlighted in “A Campus Divided”—who believed in the ideals of our University, and those who will follow in the continued examination of University of Minnesota history.


Eric W. Kaler

This email was sent to Twin Cities faculty, staff, students, and the AEL. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

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