April 09, 2015

University of Minnesota SDS Delivers People's State of the University Address

Just an hour after UMN President Eric Kaler delivered his annual State of the University address, Minneapolis activists, led by Students for a Democratic Society members, delivered their own address. Dubbed a "People's State of the University Address", the address centered on the struggle of students, staff, and faculty, including inflated administrations, the need for a diversified campus, tuition hikes, and greater difficulties for workers. This was in contrast the the address delivered by Eric Kaler which was little more than a PR stunt for the university.

Speakers included representatives from SDS, the Morill Hall occupation in February, the Student-Labor-Action Coalition, AFSCME local 3800, and a professor critical of the Universities research practices.

Kaler spoke at length about the gains that have been made by the university, including talking about gains in diversity, women's safety, as well as the current tuition hike, the panel was quick to point out that the university fought these issues tooth and nail, and that victories in these areas were won by committed activists. The panel also asserted the need for more action, and more focus within the community towards winning greater demands.

While the university attempts to laud itself as a bastion of progress in Minneapolis, the activists dug in for a new year of struggles and victories.