All eyes were on Minneapolis in 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). That year, University of Minnesota president, Joan Gabel, appeared to be listening to the student community when she announced that U of M would be cutting ties with MPD. However, in 2022, U of M abruptly reneged on that promise and began reestablishing ties with MPD. Not only did U of M betray its students, but it missed an important opportunity to show leadership in how to invest in real community safety.
According to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News in 2020, "employees associated with the campus police department had used Clearview [facial recognition technology]" despite prior avowals from the University of Minnesota that it would never use facial recognition on its campus.
This year, U of M brought in Jeff Ettinger, the former CEO of Hormel Foods, the maker of SPAM, as interim president. Ettinger, a nonacademic with no experience in university administration, promised to "restore the U’s reputation with lawmakers and the general public." Robyn Gulley, the only regent who voted no on Ettinger's hiring, should be praised for raising valid concerns about “corporate influence in higher ed.”
In bright news this year, graduate students at U of M voted by a 97% majority to unionize.
While the nature of her disability allows her some privilege as a visibly able-bodied person, she said she’s often seen as lazy or faking it.
“People will give me really dirty looks when I take disability seating, to the point where I will pass out before I ask someone to give up their seat for me,” she said. “I hate having people question my disability just because they can’t see it.”
But while her professors give her accommodations because she’s registered with the Disability Resource Center, she says her classmates don’t always understand the reality of her disability. She’s been docked in peer evaluations for not showing up to group work despite informing her classmates she physically can’t get there.