Perspectives

"A Campus Divided" and our work forward: President's and Provost's Advisory Committee on University History

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The following statement is also posted on the Office of the President website:

On the occasion of the official opening of "A Campus Divided: Progressives, Anti-Communists, Racism and Anti-Semitism at the University 1930-1942," President Eric W. Kaler issued this statement today and announced the formation of the "President's and Provost's Advisory Committee on University History" to guide the University community's thinking going forward about appropriate modern responses to historical issues on our campuses. 

Our University of Minnesota is founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding.  Our university is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.

Thus, it is part of our mission to examine and acknowledge our own history. “A Campus Divided: Progressives, Anti-Communists, and Anti-Semitism at the University of Minnesota, 1930-1942,” sheds light on a critical piece of our history that some may find unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It highlights actions by some in the past that we would condemn today. As an institution of learning and respect, we must acknowledge our past and commit each and every day to our mission of education and progress for all Minnesotans.

Furthermore, we owe it to the courageous figures who fought for change to not forget the inequities they overcame and the progress they made.

To continue our examination of the University’s past and guide our responses going forward, Provost Hanson and I today asked Twin Cities College of Liberal Arts Dean John Coleman to chair and assemble “The President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee on University History” to guide our thinking about appropriate modern responses to historical issues on our campuses.

Our Committee on University History will include our University Historian, University Archivist, faculty, students, and other representatives from all of our campuses, and representatives from University Services, the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and University of Minnesota Foundation.

Dean Coleman will lead the system-wide conversation and research, and he will bring recommendations to the Provost and me that we will then discuss with senior leaders and, as appropriate, the Board of Regents.

Thank you to co-curators Professor Emerita Riv-Ellen Prell and Ph.D. candidate Sarah Atwood for their scholarship, and to other members of the advisory team who helped make “Campus Divided” possible and powerful.

By reflecting on our past, we can and will continue to move forward.

Perspectives

"Perspectives" stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.