The university board of regents member, Steve Sviggum (for some reason, I always think of him as a Ralph Sviggum), who suggest that maybe the University of Minnesota Morris is
too diverse, is still squatting on the board, despite calls to resign. The latest comes from student leaders at all the branch campuses.
Dear Regent Sviggum:
We write to you today asking for your immediate resignation from the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
Your question at the October 13th Mission Fulfillment committee meeting, in which you asked whether or not the Morris campus had become ‘too diverse’, demonstrated your inability to fulfill the University’s institutional commitment to equity and diversity as written in Board of Regents policy.
While we acknowledge your public apology, what students have shared about your visit to the Morris campus last month make it clear that your apology was meaningless. We do not believe that your reported behavior when interacting with Morris students from marginalized communities is consistent with someone who truly believes that diversity is a strength.
Finally, we acknowledge that many of our campuses are currently facing enrollment struggles. We firmly believe that encouraging students from diverse backgrounds to attend our colleges will be a part of the solution to those struggles. A recent study conducted by Niche found that diversity was one of the top aspects high school seniors want out of their college experience. With that in mind, we are concerned that your continued presence on the Board of Regents will signal a hostile attitude toward diversity and deter prospective students from choosing one of the five University of Minnesota campuses.
He’s lingering on like a foul odor, and it’s quite clear that he has no intention of leaving until he is forced out. The latest bit of petty bullying from him occurred at a board of regents meeting to which student leaders were invited.
Yeah, he’s not leaving. Right now he’s clinging to his position out of spite.
By the way, here are the stats on Morris enrollment.
The University of Minnesota’s strategic plan calls for the Morris campus to have 1,700 students by 2025, but it had just 1,068 at one recent count. About 41% of students describe themselves as a person of color, up from 21% a decade ago.
I was here a decade ago (two decades ago even), and I’m here now. We’ve had no decline in the ability, the enthusiasm, or the brilliance of our students over that time. So much for “too much diversity”!