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College Possible responds to statements concerning diversity on Morris campus

During a University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting on Oct. 13, Vice Chair Steve Sviggum asked, “Is it possible that at [the University of Minnesota campus at] Morris, we’ve become too diverse?” Sviggum went on to state that he has heard from two people whose children chose not to enroll at University of Minnesota, Morris because it was “too diverse… they just didn’t feel comfortable there.”

Sadly, that one question revealed more than the biases of a single individual, or the racism that pervades the collective decision making that has been prevalent within our higher education institutions for decades. After all, it is the norm – not the exception – for our nation’s colleges and universities to allow the economics of admissions to drive enrollment decisions. These practices privilege white students, prioritizing their comfort in the classroom at the exclusion of students of color’s participation in higher education.

The leadership of the University of Minnesota should support, embody and advocate for the Board of Regents’ stated mission, which includes a commitment to a diverse university community of educators and learners. Minnesota students deserve leaders that embrace and value diversity.

As a national nonprofit founded in Minnesota that has helped more than 80,000 students from under-invested backgrounds nationwide and more than 15,000 within Minnesota get to and through college, we know firsthand the strength that diversity brings to institutions. We believe – and evidence strongly supports – that more diverse higher education experiences benefit everyone. Diverse campuses directly support a more diverse, college educated workforce, which in turn drives greater innovation, more equitable economic mobility, and stronger communities. More than 85% of our program’s enrolled students identify as persons of color.  By nature of pursuing their goal of a college degree, each of them has enriched not just classrooms, but the workforce at large, and their broader communities. They are business and civic leaders, who – through their presence and actions — are eroding the systemic racism that undergirds the college admissions establishment.

Their accomplishments upend the pervasive assumption that higher education exists solely for white students, with BIPOC students permitted conditional entry as guests.

We are eager to share the experiences of College Possible students and alumni with the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, with the goal of challenging troubling assumptions and building institutions that are not only more just, inclusive and equitable, but better, because they are more diverse.

Contact Information:
College Possible Minnesota
Isaiah Allen, Sr. Director of External Relations

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