Sunday night saw over 40 multicultural club representatives sit-in at the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) meeting to voice concerns about recent budget allocation and overall displeasure with the treatment of multicultural clubs and, more broadly, students of color at the University of St. Thomas.
As Gabrielle Ryan, USG’s Diversity Relations Representative, began to call for USG’s accountability in representing multicultural clubs, representatives stood and held up signs expressing their frustration:
When given the chance to vocalize their concerns, club leaders and members strongly reiterated several points: feelings of neglect and disrespect from both USG and White students on campus, calls for transparency on USG’s decision-making processes related to club financing, and calls for USG representatives to intentionally engage with multicultural club representatives during decision-making processes.
Club representatives at the protest explained that many of these issues of poor representation and neglect have persisted throughout their tenures at UST. To them, this protest is the result of years of discrimination and only the beginning of a push to bring larger institutional changes to the university that make UST more accommodating of students of color.
Frankly, there is nothing different between the treatment experienced by multicultural leaders here versus their peers at Missouri, Yale, or Ithaca. These students have reported being discouraged when beginning to express frustration with mistreatment from various departments at the University of St. Thomas.
Now, with momentum and a collective voice, these students will not be quiet.
November is here, meaning our Native American Heritage Month (NAHM) celebration is about to begin!
Native American tribal cultures have unique and long-lasting influences throughout the United States. Twenty-four states have names derived from Native American words, including Minnesota (Mnisota) which is the Dakota name for the Minnesota river and also means “clear water” (University of Minnesota Department of American Indian Studies).
The programs we have for NAHM this year shed light on many unique aspects of Native American culture in the Midwest and Minnesota in particular. From art museum trips to riveting documentaries, we hope this month’s programming creates awareness of the daily influence of Native American culture as well as an understanding that the Native American population is as diverse as any other ethnic group.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts trip: Arriving at Fresh Water
This Friday, join us on a trip to the MIA for an exhibit highlighting some of the best works of Native American art from the Great Lakes region. Sign up in our office before we close on Friday (4:30 pm) if you want to come on this quick visit to this enriching exhibit.
Diversity Film Series: Mann v. Ford
On November 17, the second installment of our Diversity Film Series airs in the ASC Dining Room (ASC 366). Mann v. Ford is a documentary on the fight beteween Ramapough Mountain Indians and the Ford Motor Company over toxic waste dumping on Ramapough lands. Mistreatment of Native lands by large corporations and federal government is common, and the documentary captures one of these battles in great detail.
We also have Purple Bench on the first three Fridays of November discussing Native American communities and experiences, and T’s will be serving a Native-influenced menu on the week of November 16th.
All of that and more will be coming at you for this Native American Heritage Month. Stay tuned, continue to check our social media pages for updates, and wait patiently to hear more from Voices of Diversity!