President, University of Minnesota
I note that the University has taken the bold move and finally has decided to enforce its policy
forbidding university teams to engage in inter-collegiate athletic events with schools whose mascot or nicknames are deemed to be demeaning to minorities. Bravo!
The question comes up immediately, though, as to why you exempted the sport of ice hockey from the policy, thus allowing the University of Minnesota’s ice hockey team to continue participating in competition in the WCHA against the University of North Dakota whose nickname is the Fighting Sioux. Why was an exemption given for hockey? Is it that like with Islam, Gopher hockey fans might be too difficult to fight if their team could no longer compete against the best? Or would too much sports income be put at risk if the Gophers had to leave this league for refusing to play the Fighting Sioux? Or would four or more forfeits a year look pretty bad on the record?
You were quoted very clearly in the controversy over the play, “The Pope and the Witch”, that the University’s Theater Department plans to perform this coming March, “that the university will not reconsider the staging of the play, but underscored that our commitment to academic freedom also includes listening and giving a forum to the views of those who have concern with the play's content."
Your commitment to academic freedom may be admirable and won’t be compromised even if the Catholic Church, its leaders and its members are mocked and abused.
And your commitment to the removal of racial inequities also may be admirable and won’t be compromised unless money and rabid Gopher fans would be involved.
As mentioned, we know you won't dare offend Muslims. On what other issues do you regularly compromise? The students, teachers and graduates of the University of Minnesota would like to know.