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.

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.


– 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.

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