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UMN Students, staff, faculty and community members demand no cuts to ethnic and gender studies

By Sorcha Lona

Protesters march up Washington Avenue on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN – On Friday April 28, 150 protesters, including students, staff and faculty, gathered at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities McNamara Plaza to protest administration's proposed cuts to ethnic and gender studies.

The proposed cuts communicated by administration to faculty in the College of Liberal Arts included but weren’t limited to: 50% of American Indian Studies, 30% of Chicano and Latino Studies, 30% of Afro-American and African Studies, and 10% of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.

Protesters first gathered at McNamara Plaza, the building that houses many administration offices, as well as the board of regents. There speakers stressed the importance of defending ethnic and gender studies, as well as seeing this crisis for what it is: a distribution crisis, not a budget crisis.

Jasper Nordin spoke for Students for a Democratic Society-Twin Cities, recounting, “Students fought hard to win [ethnic and gender studies programs], and we’re going to fight hard now to defend them from disgusting attacks like this!” Additional speakers included Jae Yates from the Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar, Cherrene Horazuk from AFSCME 3800, Eric Diagre from the American Association of University Professors, and Siobhan Moore from Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

After the first part of the program, protesters marched from McNamara Plaza to Johnston Hall, home of the College of Liberal Arts administration offices, chanting “Chop from the top!”

Upon arrival at Johnston Hall, speakers included Joleece Pecore and Taryn Long from the American Indian Student Cultural Center (AISCC), Fa’aumu Kaimana from SDS, and Ren Wischmann from SDS.

During their speech, Pecore and Long from the AISCC spoke to the lack of action on behalf of administration to heal relations with the indigenous peoples of Mni Sóta Maḳoce, and recounted the American Indian Studies faculty’s 14 demands in response to the TRUTH (Towards Recognition and University-Tribal Healing) project. These demands are recommendations for concrete, measurable actions that are to be made by the university. As Long stated, “words are not enough, we must ensure that our institution provides support, resources, and programs that increase access to all aspects of higher education for our American Indian Studies students, staff, faculty, and community members.”

Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities stands firmly in opposition to any proposed cuts to these vital programs. Through this protest it is also clear that other staff, faculty, and students demand that these programs remain prioritized.

The TRUTH project can be found at; The AIS department’s demands can be found at

#MinneapolisMN #EthnicStudies