Skip to main content

U of M student group wants to rename the Coffman Memorial Union

It comes after they learned more about the its namesake's tenure as U president.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

What's happening? 

First Lake Calhoun reverted to Bde Maka Ska, now a University of Minnesota student group is seeking a name change for the Coffman Memorial Union.

The MSA's Diversity & Inclusion Committee is drafting a resolution and launching a petition to gather support, and is calling for President Eric Kaler to sign.

Related: 

– Lake Calhoun's name change has been approved.

How did this come about?

Ironically, an exhibition called “A Campus Divided” at the U brought to the attention of students some of the past views of former university leaders, among them former President Lotus Coffman – after whom the union was named.

During his tenure between 1920 and 1938, the student group says he "created and enforce discriminatory policies," including overseeing segregation in student housing, and "surveillance of Jewish and leftist students" during the 1930s.

"The main student union, Coffman Memorial Union, is named after President Coffman for his support of student activities," the petition says. "However, Coffman deliberately excluded minority students from their full rights as University students.

"As Coffman is home to many of the cultural groups, housed on the second floor, it is antithetical to the University's stated values and commitment to inclusion to bear Coffman’s name on the building."

The Minnesota Daily reports that following the opening of the exhibit in the Andersen Library, Kaler called for an advisory committee on university history.

What happens next?

The Minnesota Student Association's forum body will vote on a resolution to rename the union on March 6.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-17 at 9.39.38 PM

Jordan Greenway runs into Darcy Kuemper, sparks fight

Kuemper got knocked out of the game, leading to the brawl.

Kirill Kaprizov

MacKinnon's controversial goal helps Avalanche top Wild

Kirill Kaprizov's two goals were spoiled by a questionable call.

powell itasca jail jan 2022 resize

Attorney accused of sex assault misses hearing, DMs judge

He was arrested the next day after a warrant was issued,

lorie shaull vulcan snow park st paul winter carnival 2018

Winter Carnival: Get vaccinated or test negative before coming

Organizers are also reminding people to be mindful of the city's emergency regulations.

hospital, emergency room

Driver, 15 years old, hurt when car collides with SUV

The road was wet at the time, the State Patrol said.

Tyler Wahl

Minnesotans have the Badgers back in the national spotlight

Three of Wisconsin's four leading scorers are from Minnesota.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano retires: Remembering his meteoric rise as a rookie

There was no one better than Liriano from mid-May to late-July in 2006.

Related

Here's why some U of M students want to change the name of the student union

An exhibit takes a new look at the namesake of the U of M's student union

U of M Regents vote against name changes for 4 buildings

President Eric Kaler recommended the changes due to the dubious pasts of the buildings' namesakes.

The King and Queen are dead, long live the homecoming 'Royals' at the U of M

The U of M isn't the first to make this type of decision.

U of M students told new apartments won't be ready till December

They must now find a new place to live with just weeks to go until the new school year.

University of minnesota sign

U of M president promises students 'comprehensive' refunds

It comes after the offer of a $1,200 refund for room and board costs drew criticism.

Record number of U of M students moving into residence halls

Of the estimated 5,500 new freshmen, about 87 percent have chosen to live on campus, the U reports. Thousands of first-year students are moving into residence halls and apartments this week. University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and his wife, Karen Kaler, were greeting first-year students moving into the U of M SuperBlock residence halls Monday.