Mpls council member circulates petition urging U of M to ‘uninvite Amy Coney Barrett’

Robin Wonsley took to social media "to demand the (University of Minnesota) uninvite Justice Barrett" from its Oct. 16 law school lecture series.

council member
A Minneapolis City Council member who represents the University of Minnesota campus has publicly stated she wants the college to uninvite Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. (Left: Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States. Right: Robin Wonsley/City of Minneapolis)

A Minneapolis City Council member who represents the University of Minnesota campus has publicly stated she wants the college to uninvite Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett from an upcoming speaking event at its law school.

“Hate has no place on the University of Minnesota campus!” Robin Wonsley wrote in a social media post over the weekend. “Students are organizing to demand the U uninvite Justice Barrett. Join me in signing their petition.”

Coney Barrett will appear as the keynote speaker at the U of M Law School’s Monday, Oct. 16 Robert A. Stein Lecture.

The lecture is hosted by Robert A. Stein, a former U of M Law School dean and president of the American Bar Association. Over the last decade he’s brought a number of Supreme Court justices to the lecture series, including Elena Kagan in 2019, John Roberts in 2018, Sonia Sotomayor in 2016, Antonin Scalia in 2015 and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2014.

The petition, which Wonsley linked to in a tweet she posted on Saturday, was created by the University of Minnesota chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America. It states that Coney Barrett’s “actions and rhetoric contradicts the University’s Mission Statement and supposed caring for the well-being of the marginalized.”

Wonsley, a first-term Ward 2 representative on the Minneapolis City Council, did not return requests for comment on Monday.

Wonsley, also a former program coordinator for the University of Minnesota Women’s Center, is the only candidate who filed this fall to run for the Minneapolis City Council Ward 2 seat that represents the University of Minnesota campus and its surrounding neighborhoods (which includes Cedar Riverside, Marcy Holmes and Prospect Park). She’s unopposed in her bid for re-election despite the fact that she narrowly won a tightly contested three way race for the seat in 2021. On her affidavit of candidacy Wonsley lists “Democratic Socialist” as her party affiliation.

Leftist student groups plan to protest outside event

Last month another U of M student group, Students for a Democratic Society, published a social media post with a graphic entitled: “FUCK ACB! RESERVE TICKETS NOW!” The tweet went on to state that, “We want Amy to know she is not welcome at this university.” It then encourages its audience to secure tickets to the event. The justice is depicted in a black and white photo with the red letter X superimposed over both of her eyes.

One of the members of the U of M chapter for Students for a Democratic Society, Gillian Rathtold the Minnesota Daily student newspaper that the organization has to “use our voice and do what we do best to make sure that not only the University, but Barrett knows that that kind of forces are not welcome here.”

Rath is an intern for state Sen. Lindsay Port, DFL-Burnsville. Her campus organization plans to also protest outside the event that takes place at Northrop Auditorium on Monday.

Officials with the law school told the Minnesota Daily student newspaper they intend to hold the event while also allowing space for “non-disruptive protests.”

“My role and the law school’s role is to support our faculty and students when they want to exercise speech rights,” Law School Dean William McGeveran said in a Sept. 23 interview with the Minnesota Daily. “Whether that’s bringing speakers, responding to speakers or engaging in non-disruptive protests, we want to see lots of different perspectives.”


Hank Long

Hank Long is a journalism and communications professional whose writing career includes coverage of the Minnesota legislature, city and county governments and the commercial real estate industry. Hank received his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where he studied journalism, and his law degree at the University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota native lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and four children. His dream is to be around when the Vikings win the Super Bowl.