U of M says it will honor 9/11 victims

Despite a rejection of a Student Association resolution calling for a campus-wide moment of recognition on 9/11, the University of Minnesota today said it intends to honor victims of the attacks each year.

The U of M news release today responded to news reports about the Student Association’s vote, which came after MSA representative and Director of Diversity and Inclusion David Algadi said it might inflame anti-Muslim sentiment. But it reaffirmed a statement from the Minnesota Student Association which said the resolution was voted down because of uncertainty about the logistics of a campus-wide moment of recognition.

Here’s the U’s news release:

University of Minnesota Board Chair Dean Johnson and President Eric Kaler today reaffirmed the University’s commitment to honoring the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

This past September the Board of Regents held a moment of silence to remember the victims of 9/11. At that time, Kaler also met with students requesting a campus-wide remembrance of 9/11 and offered his support. He urged the students to bring it to student government to gain additional input.

“Remembering our shared history not only honors the victims of 9/11, but I believe should be a catalyst to bring us together as a community and allows us to advance our mission as an institution of higher education,” said Kaler.

“As a 38-year veteran, former state legislator, pastor, and Regent, I have worked to bring people together and promote greater understanding,” Johnson said. “My colleagues and I who serve on the Board of Regents applaud President Kaler’s leadership to remember the victims of 9/11 and welcome the opportunity it provides for thoughtful and constructive dialogue.”

Last week the Minnesota Student Association—which is an independent student government group — considered and voted down a resolution to establish a remembrance to honor those who died in 9/11. That action has been widely mis-reported and misunderstood. According to a statement from MSA, students rejected the resolution because it was not sufficiently developed and was not specific about plans for the remembrance. Some students also discussed the problem of anti-Muslim sentiment, and concerns were expressed by some that the remembrance not take a shape that would deepen that problem.

MSA leaders have indicated their intent to reconsider this issue, but regardless of MSA’s next steps, the University will move forward with its plans to honor and remember the victims of 9/11.

“Honoring those who died in 9/11 and respecting our Muslim community on campus are not mutually exclusive,” said Kaler. “I am confident that we can create a meaningful remembrance that is inclusive to all on campus. Hateful speech or actions are contrary to our values as a University.”