What Dayton told St. Cloud State University demonstrators

St. Cloud State protestors upset over the recent firing of Mahmoud Saffari, the university’s associate VP for enrollment management, interrupted a groundbreaking yesterday to appeal to Gov. Mark Dayton, who was attending the event, the St. Cloud Times reports.

When protestors’ chanting disrupted the proceedings, the paper writes:

Dayton calmed the situation by walking down from an elevated stage to meet the protesters who had gathered. Dayton offered a deal: He would hear the protesters’ concerns after the ceremony, if the protesters allowed the groundbreaking ceremony to proceed without disruption. After the ceremony, Dayton met with them behind the stage that had been erected for the ceremony.

He spent about 30 minutes listening to the frustrations of students and faculty members and said he would help to facilitate communication between the protesters and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities officials. Potter reports to the MnSCU chancellor and board of trustees, not the governor, Dayton told the protesters. So there’s a limit as to how much Dayton can do directly, he told the crowd.

An interesting little tidbit:

Dayton told the crowd that the idea of protest was one with which he was quite familiar. He, too, protested as a university sophomore, he told the crowd, when his favorite professor got fired.

That’s the latest happening over the firing.

Students and faculty met days earlier with St. Cloud’s provost at a public meeting, but he said data privacy laws kept him from saying much.

Here’s a video of that: