“Communities of Color” leaders take issue with UMD’s lack of diversity

I have been working as a radio producer lately, and I increasingly find myself in situations where I need to try and be even-handed and to try to represent different perspectives on nuanced issues. Racial diversity is one of those things that keeps popping up for me.

The issues surrounding racism and inclusion are loaded with bad history, a lot of grey area, and many answers that seem to pull good people in opposing directions. Potentially worst of all, people just stay with the status quo, trapped by indecision.

So on Friday I was out trying to cover this hastily announced press conference at UMD. (I got the announcement in my Facebook inbox sometime around lunch, and the gathering was at 4 p.m.) From the start I could see that this was a good topic for PDD. I intended to edit this up and add some captions and titles on Friday and post it here to see what folks had to say.

Then I left my laptop power cord at work and with gas at $4-something a gallon I decided to just let it go and try to just relax and spend some time with family this weekend. That was the right call because I did enjoy myself and had a great time with my wife and kids. Also, I did not have a response from the university until today.

The response from UMD Chancellor Lendley Black is posted below the video.


Representatives from a group calling themselves “Communities of Color” held a press conference at the University of Minnesota Duluth on Friday, May 19. Speakers at the press conference included Joe Bouie, Claudie Washington, Ricky Defoe, Carl Crawford and Xavier Bell. WGZS missed a few minutes of Joe Bouie’s speech, but the others are presented here completely unedited.

The speakers did not take questions from the media at this event (even though I tried).

Here’s the chancellor’s statement:

FULL DISCLOSURE: When I started blogging with PDD several years ago I went by “wildgoose” which is a DJ nickname that I have been known to use. However, I think that it is time that I started using my real name on PDD. Other relevant disclosure, I am a current UMD graduate student. And I have personal relationships and/or professional with each of the individuals who spoke at this press conference. You know how it is, it’s a small town, you get to know people.

Revised 5/21/13

14 Comments

[email protected]

about 9 years ago

This press conference was an important moment for some of the most substantial thinkers and activists for diversity, equity and social justice to speak.  I have immense respect and have learned much from men like Carl Crawford.  

What are the best ways to turn these kinds of moments of speech into moments of action-oriented dialogue?  I'm interested in being part of what to do next.

Terry G.

about 9 years ago

So much focus in the past was on Facebook issues and student stupidity. The real issue is black and "culturally different" faculty being denied tenure or equal status. The system is built and maintained for white males and until that changes, diversity will be hard to come by.

CLeTa

about 9 years ago

The UMD campus has many issues with people of color including not effectively dealing with the racist stereotyping home video made by the two white female students in the dorms. Then, the campus has shirts like this for sale at their store on Superior Street.

[img]http://www.perfectduluthday.com/wp-content/uploads/comments/what-happens-at-the-dorm.JPG[/img]

Disgusting in the least not to mention recent sexual assault reporting but that's a separate topic matter. Urgh!

BadCat!

about 9 years ago

All other incidents aside, I'm fairly sure that the shirt refers to parties in dorms, not sexual assault.

CLeTa

about 9 years ago

@BadCat!: How do you come to the party conclusion? It's completely ambiguous with no hint or inclination of what should or shouldn't "stay in the dorms." Public information I've seen about "what happens" in the dorms is dissuading reporting sexual misconduct and an extremely foul racist video. So I suppose it can be interpreted in numerous ways.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

I think it's a bit of a stretch to suggest the intended meaning of that shirt is "Hey, UMD looks the other way on sexual assaults." It's just the millionth copycat of the Vegas slogan everyone thinks is so clever.

The shirt isn't the problem, but there is a problem with unreported sexual assaults at UMD, and that has lead to the shirt slogan being interpreted as Cleta has interpreted it.

Surveys reveal big gap in sexual assault reporting at UMD

Danny

about 9 years ago

If the assaults are unreported how do we know that it's a huge problem?

jessige

about 9 years ago

A point of clarification: the store selling UMD apparel on Superior Street is not affiliated with the university.  Neither is any of the apparel you might find at big box retailers or at the shops in Canal Park.

CLeTa

about 9 years ago

@jessige: Thank you so much for clarifying it's not affiliated with the university. 

@Danny: I work at an agency that works with victims of sexual assault, whether they chose to report it or not. These numbers are much larger than the reports made to law enforcement. Many are college students and we provide on-campus hours to meet with folks who need support that report being assaulted on campus or at college parties. The numbers are even lower for victims of a minority population that decided to go forward with making a report.

BadCat!

about 9 years ago

It's a rip-off of the "What happens in Vegas" marketing. Considering that the campaign was created by the Vegas tourism bureau, I highly doubt that they were thiking of sexual assault at the time.
Stopping sales on this shirt will do nothing to prevent sexual assault in the UMD dorms. However, changing the culture and reporting systems will. Concentrate less on clothing, and more on the UMD cops that talk women out of reporting crimes.

BadCat!

about 9 years ago

Danny, a large percentage of sexual assaults are never reported, but that percentage goes up greatly when it occures in a college dorm. Imagine being assaulted, and living one floor above your rapist, or having your rapist in your group of friends, or having him be some big sports champ. And better yet, imagine trying to tell people you were raped, and have everyone blame you for drinking too much, staying out too late, or wearing the wrong skirt. That kind of culture keeps rapes from being reported, and allows the culture to continue.

JP Rennquist

about 9 years ago

BadCat! I appreciate your comments and honor your experience.  Your allegation that UMD campus police are discouraging people from reporting assaults is very serious, and that is new information to me.  Is that what you meant to imply?

[email protected]

about 9 years ago

JP -- no one is implying that the police are discouraging reporting.  Please read the linked-to article above to get some necessary background on the role of education and university services in creating a climate where reporting is not only not-discouraged, but seen as the appropriate thing to do.

BadCat!

about 9 years ago

"Discouraging" is probably the wrong word. I've heard anecdotal evidence of UMD police not properly pursuing sexual assault cases, or telling victims they probably won't succeed if they went to trial. Most recent info here: Sexual assault victims feel pressured to drop charges.
But have I or people I know experienced this? Not that I am aware of.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Read previous post:
Encounter Indoor Skatepark – Bike Night

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrYF3sm5NoI This is a video created by Higher Base Media of everyone having fun on their bikes on a Tuesday...

Close