The University of Minnesota’s College of Design held a commencement ceremony that featured a lengthy “land acknowledgment” and the claim that police kill black Minnesotans because they are racist.
Carol Strohecker is the dean of the College of Design. She opened the commencement last month. This was the school’s first in-person commencement ceremony in two years.
“To set the stage, I’d like to offer a land acknowledgement and statement of unity,” she said. “Let’s remember that the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota people.”
She went on to say the U of M is “committed to recognizing the complex history of this land by honoring the truth of violence, displacement, migration and settlement in the context that brings us together now.” Despite this, the university (which sports a $5.4 billion endowment, controls a significant portion of downtown Minneapolis and maintains holdings in northern Minnesota) has not made any efforts to return its land or wealth to indigenous peoples.
Strohecker then “acknowledge[d] the need to end the violence against missing and murdered indigenous women, a local and national epidemic.” This statement was sandwiched between renouncements of white racism.
The dean then blamed racism for the deaths of a number of black men in Minnesota.
“We resist the culture of anti-black racism in our own community which has led to the deaths of Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Winston Smith and Amir Locke, among countless other black Americans across our nation.”
Finally, she reminded the graduating class that the school “stand[s] with our Mung, Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities against the rise of xenophobic violence since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”