U of M leaders urge students to solve 9/11 remembrance debate

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University of Minnesota leaders have said they will continue to hold their own remembrances for victims of 9/11 attacks, amid the ongoing debate among students over a campus-wide commemoration.

In a statement on Wednesday, Board of Regents Chair Dean Johnson and President Eric Kaler cited the importance of honoring those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and urged students to find a solution to a campus-wide remembrance proposal that has proved controversial.

The U says the reasons for the Minnesota Student Association's decision to turn down a campus-wide remembrance at its latest forum meeting have been "widely misreported and misunderstood."

There were reports that it was due to concerns the commemoration could create an "unsafe space" for the college's Muslim students and increase Islamaphobic attitudes on campus.

But the MSA said while the impact on Muslim students was discussed at its forum, the reason it was rejected was because it was an undeveloped proposal, without enough thought given to how the commemoration could be held and in what form.

The MSA said it wants to work with the College Republicans, who introduced the idea, to come up with a workable commemoration that could be reintroduced for a vote at its next meeting.

"Honoring those who died in 9/11 and respecting our Muslim community on campus are not mutually exclusive," Kaler said. "I am confident that we can create a meaningful remembrance that is inclusive to all on campus. Hateful speech or actions are contrary to our values as a University."

“Remembering our shared history not only honors the victims of 9/11, but I believe should be a catalyst to bring us together as a community and allows us to advance our mission as an institution of higher education,” he added.

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