U of M statement on Morrill Hall demonstration

February 9, 2015

The University of Minnesota issued the statement below in response to today’s demonstration at Morrill Hall:

Around 11:30 this morning, 16 people, including at least three non-student supporters, began a sit-in inside President Kaler’s Morrill Hall office. They advanced eight issues they asked be addressed.

The President, Provost Karen Hanson and Vice President for Equity and Diversity Katrice Albert listened to and discussed the students’ concerns with them multiple times throughout the day. At the protestors’ request, a formal, written response to each of the issues they posed was also developed and provided to them. The response addressed or moved forward the dialogue on each issue.

The protesters received multiple communications about the time the office and building closed, and were told that they would be trespassing if they chose to stay after that time. At 6 p.m. when the building officially closed, the protesters were given the opportunity to leave freely. Three chose to do so. They were also later informed multiple times that they could choose a citation, or choose to be arrested.

Thirteen protestors chose to remain in the president’s office and be arrested. Those individuals were removed from the building by police between 7:15 – 7:30 p.m.

The University took this action as a last resort after trying to have a dialogue for nearly seven hours. We regret that individuals chose arrest over a peaceful conclusion. The protesters were cooperative and the arrests occurred without incident.

The University shares a deep commitment to increasing faculty, staff and student diversity and to creating a community that welcomes and embraces all experiences and perspectives. Addressing these concerns requires partnerships with all parties working together to achieve a common goal. However, discussions and goal setting must occur without disrupting University business and with respect for the law.

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