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Monday, March 19, 2012

Open Forum on Campus Governance on April 10, 2012

Dear Campus Community:

Please join me and the Executive Committee of the Campus Assembly for an open forum on campus governance on Tuesday, April 10, from 1:30 - 3:00 in the Kirby Ballroom. This forum will be an opportunity for faculty, staff and the student leadership to come together and discuss our campus governance structure and processes. I have enjoyed my meetings this semester with many of you, and I appreciate hearing the different opinions and perspectives you have expressed regarding shared governance. I believe our next step is to have an open discussion about these various perspectives and to move forward in a collaborative way toward the structure that best serves us in the future.

I would like to focus on two questions: What about our current structure needs to be changed? What governance system will best facilitate the achievement of our new strategic vision and goals?

The purpose of this forum is not to reach a final decision about needed changes. That will have to be done through our current governance process. Our purpose is to take a major step forward toward clarifying the issues and deciding what needs to be done in order to facilitate change.

I look forward to seeing you at this important forum.

Thank you,

Lendley C. Black

Thursday, March 1, 2012

White Supremacists coming to Duluth; Responding with Constructive Resistance

To: UMD Community

From: UMD Diversity Commission
Chancellor Lendley C. Black

We are writing to express our concern about events planned on Saturday in Duluth by white supremacists. We invite you to participate in a constructive response that helps us build the fair and inclusive community we envision. On March 3, the Supreme White Alliance (SWA) plans to hold a "White Pride" Rally in Duluth.

The SWA is promoting extreme racist ideology in reaction to Duluth's Unfair Campaign, an anti-racism campaign that is backed by 15 local partners, including UMD. The rally is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and could last as long as three hours. Between 20 to 100 people are expected from outside of the area, including some from as far away as Arizona and New Mexico.

The term "white pride" is not actually used by the SWA to denote an actual feeling of pride in being white, but rather as a false justification for systematic verbal and physical violence directed at people of color. In contrast, many local community members are organizing events that affirm racial justice and raise awareness about racism and white privilege.
As part of this effort, The UMD Diversity Commission is taking pledges to raise money for scholarships awarded through the Multicultural Center at UMD. We are asking that people pledge to give money for every minute the rally continues. The longer they stay, the more we raise! You can also choose to make a one-time gift to this same scholarship fund by clicking on the following link: www.d.umn.edu/development/diversity.html. Several community organizations have also launched fundraising efforts in light of the rally to raise money for the Unfair Campaign and other projects. We want to thank them for their efforts as well.
Through the media and Internet, the Diversity Commission will make sure the SWA is aware of this fund raising activity. As a result, when they come to Duluth, they will need to decide whether to rally all afternoon and make money for our cause, or to pack up and go home.

For those of you interested in joining the community in rallying against SWA, a Party at the Bridge is scheduled on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Also watch for other celebratory events taking place on campus and in the community on March 3, such as the Feast of Nations and the Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival Concert.

The SWA is opposed to the Unfair Campaign and its mission "to raise awareness about white privilege in our community, provide resources for understanding and action, and facilitate dialogue and partnership that results in fundamental, systemic change toward racial justice," and is using the campaign as an opportunity to spread their message of white supremacy and hate.

In response, we believe this pledge drive and the other activities sends the message that we will not condone hatred directed toward anyone in our community, nor will we stand idly by so that they might construe our inaction as complicit agreement with their message. We invite you to join us in creating a just, fair, compassionate and inclusive campus and community.