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Safety & justice for UMN students/staff of color/from Muslim, GLBTQ, or disabled community

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Dear UMN Twin Cities Administration and Board of Regents,

As UMN alumni, students, staff, white allies, and the broader community, we are appalled at racist incidents that happened to several current UMN Asian-American students Pajoua Chang, Enoch Kan and another student, who chose to be anonymous, early last week.

Here are their stories:

Pajoua Chang: ‘These two White men, maybe upper class men, as I walked past them, whispered "get out". And then laughed. As a college student, as an Asian girl, I wanted to stop them and ask them to repeat. I found myself clueless, afraid, trembling, mad, and angry at myself why I couldn't do anything about it. This is realty, it's painful. I thought that the U of M campus is a much better place, turn out that it is not. I am deeply sad and disappointed.’

Enoch Kang: ‘So today in class someone who sat behind me shouted "let's make America great again" and whispered to his friend "oh wait awkward... those Asian boiis might be able to understand us". Bruh, there's a reason why I'm enrolled in a 4-year accredited college in the United States. It's because I know English -duh. Regardless of who the US president is, people need to stop being so ignorant.’

Anonymous student: ’Last night, after an evening of being a nervous wreck, I walk home around 1am through Dinkytown. A car of two males and 1 female drove past me and decided to say something. "Go Trump!" "Make America great again!" "Go back to China, you chink."

Seriously, Last night. Not even 24 hours since the election was over, it already began. This is what people think is okay now. If our president can be racist and sexist: so can we. I have not been called that term since the third grade. I thought this country was past that point of ignorance. This happened in Dinkytown, right in Minneapolis, a city I have always been proud to say I live in because ever since I stepped foot in it 4 years ago, people have been so understanding, progressive, and open to inclusiveness. A city and university where there are so many educated, brilliant people... It is not okay to be racist. It is not okay to be sexist.’

Many of us have personal incidents of racism that have happened to us or to our fellow students during our time here at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Sadly, many times they were never addressed or resolved.

We request that Administration take this incident seriously and enact an immediate plan to ensure that current students and staff who are Muslim, disabled, GLBTQ, women or a persons of color are ensured their safety to study, live, and work on and nearby campus.

We demand the following to be enacted by Fri. Nov. 18th, 2016:

1. Enforce section IV, subd 6 & 7 in your Student Conduct Code, which warrants sanctions including suspension for students who are causing harm and threatening a student’s welfare or acting in a behavior that causes stress upon another student.
2. Issue an official statement of solidarity, resources and policy of immediate suspension and share this with all students, staff and UMN community.
3. Carry out this statement via a visible campus and media campaign with posters, signs and banners that outwardly show support for these communities and condemn hateful, racist, bigoted, xenophobic, sexist language and actions.
4. Have all staff and professors read a statement of solidarity, resources and policy of immediate suspension at the beginning of each class.
5. Enact a visible buddy system made up of campus security and volunteers to ensure their safety on the campus bus and on campus. 6.Train the campus security and police and precinct police to recognize these type of incidents and ensure that the correct offender is detained instead of the victim(s).
7. Open a walk-in safe space and counseling space for Muslim, disabled communities, GLBTQ, women and people of color as well as allies, to come and express their emotions and connect with others in a safe and welcoming environment.
8. Ensure all security cameras are working and visible on campus.
9. Ensure all areas of campus are well-lit.

While we recognize that the University of Minnesota is a complicated system, we know that if you have the power to dismantle General College (Spring 2005), revamp the Multicultural Academic Educational Center, and raise tuition by 53% since 2004, then you can swiftly enact and enforce these policies and procedures.

These UMN incidents are not rare: Since this past weekend, over 200 incidents of hateful harassment and intimidation has been reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The diversity, multiculturalism and safety of your student body matters now more than ever. Your students are the lifeblood of the University of Minnesota and the reason for Its existence. Please take action now.

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