U of M students accept deal on sit-in charges

A U of M student engaging in a Feb. 9 sit-in of the president’s office talks to reporters. Alex Friedrich | MPR News

Now that the University of Minnesota is changing its policy toward the use of suspect descriptions in campus crime alerts, I thought I’d check in with the student group — called Whose Diversity? — that had been pushing for the elimination of racial descriptions in those alerts.

You may remember that 13 students were arrested at a Feb. 9 sit-in of the university president’s office. They had an arraignment on their misdemeanor trespassing charges on Tuesday.

A Minneapolis city spokesman said all 13 have accepted an offer that will, in effect, suspend their cases for a year. If they keep a clean record — which means not picking up any additional trespassing-related charges — those cases will be dismissed.

A university spokesman said the U has also prohibited the 13 from entering Morrill Hall — the administrative building that houses the president’s office — for a year unless they are invited or have official business to conduct there.

Below is a document from the U that contains the administration’s responses to eight main demands of the group:


Group member and feminist-studies graduate student Joanna Nunez says she’s happy with the progress Whose Diversity? has made so far.

“We believe that Pres. [Eric] Kaler is interested in creating some change at this university around diversity issues,” she said, “but there’s a lot more that needs to be done. What we’d like is for him to commit to meeting the rest of our demands.”

Nunez said the organization will be working with others on campus to push for more change. Future “direct action” — events such as protests and sit-ins — is still possible, she said, but would not comment further.