I, Self, Devine at April 20 Day of Education Credits A.


Table of Contents
Preface: Whose University? Contradictions at UMTC....................................................................................page 4 Timeline: Alternative Histories
Four moments of crisis and change at UMTC............................................................page 5

Chapter 1: Whose Excellence?
Contesting the vision of the elite, research institution ..................................................page 7

Chapter 2: Whose Opportunity?
Racial/economic exclusions in higher education.......................................................page 15

Chapter 3: Whose Education?
Movement Strategy ............................................................................................page 19 talk about the classroom, page 21 deconstruct neoliberalism, page 22 organize people, resources, and ideas and action, page 23 think through your demands, page 25 don’t depend on bureaucracy, page 26 organize in multiple sites and watch out for divide and conquer, page 27 question the metrics, page 28 pose for your own camera and broadcast your own messages, page 30 Resources: Text & Ideas ....................................................................page 32 References: Appendix & Citations...............................................page 35 About this Zine........................................................................................page 39 About the WhoseU Campaign........................................................page 40
*The star means there are more graphics, citations, and discussion for this topic. See appendix. *The image above shows the newly constructed Science Teaching and Student Services building, completed in 2010 for over $70 million dollars.


developed as part of a summa thesis project in consultation with r.brewer, l.s.zaragoza, and j.desai. Countless others have influenced the content and framework, both at UMTC and beyond. Credits to b.sears for her work in graphic design to help create this zine as a printable electronic document so that you can now read it. To contact the author- ha78na.mail@gmail.com also @ha78na on Twitter

Preface: Whose atUniversity? Contradictions UMTC
At the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities (UMTC), as within our public education system as a whole, it is only in moments of larger ‘crisis’ that public needs and public voices have taken over the institution. Moments of crisis magnify the pressure of community demands and reveal contradictions in the status quo. These contradictions are only visible because of contestation, push-back, and dissent. In Fall 2010, the WhoseU campaign formed at the intersection of continued racial and economic exclusions in higher education and push-back against elitist policies at UMTC. This autonomous organization included students of color and low income students who wanted to hear new stories about ‘whose’ interests and ‘whose’ communities should be prioritized at the university. By focusing on the future of student cultural centers, the university admissions policy, and the ethnic studies departments, WhoseU took over space at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities to show that regardless of what happens here- the effects go beyond individuals to entire communities. This kind of occupation is the basis of continued movement. Of course, the question ‘whose university is it?” extends beyond any organization or group. It is the question we should ask each other -as well as to incoming President Kaler- as we assess the priorities and practices of the university. Necessarily, this question will reveal contradictions between official rhetoric and the reality of continued disparities at UMTC. I list three points of contradiction here as the beginning, a preface to discussions that follow.
-public celebration of increasing ACT/SAT scores of incoming students every year ...paired with a lack of critical discussion regarding an admissions process that increasingly favors exclusionary measures and metrics to perpetuate inequalities from the K-12 level. -messaging to the state legislature and the media centered around the paramount importance of UMTC to the future of the state ...paired with a failure to prioritize funding and resources on campus in ways that are accountable to the needs of growing diverse communities in Minnesota and in the Twin Cities. -the marketing of students of color in official advertising and the emphasis on touring the Coffman second floor cultural centers with outside visitors …paired with a failure to attach these rhetorical, symbolic gestures to “diversity” with the continued material struggles for equity and access at UMTC.
M. Towley- artist D. Giles M. Adani

Preface: Whose University?


National Context: US Civil War/US-Dakota War.

National Context: The Civil Rights Movement.


University of Minnesota: Expansion of admissions.


In the convergence of war, race and class tensions, westward expansion, as well as the rising importance of both agricultural production and industrialization, Congress passes the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1862. This is the first instance of federal aid to higher education.* The University was shut down during the Civil War and reopened in the late 1880s as a land-grant college under the Morrill Act. This act sets forward the ideal of higher education as a basic building block for broader society (the “masses”). In practice, the vision is extremely limited and provides further justification for the seizure of Native land for economic purposes. It will take social movement and organizing to truly begin to open UMTC beyond the most privileged stratum of (white, male, upper class) society--- and make the University responsive to its violent, exculsionary histoies.

National unrest and broad-based community mobilizations associated with the Civil Rights movements end de jeure racial segregation. Laws are passed ending discrimination in regards to race and other factors across the public sector. The education system is slowly integrated as affirmative action programs become standard.*

University of Minnesota: Morrill Hall Takeover.

In January 1969, seven black students from the Afro-American Action Committee -along with some supporters- occupy Morrill Hall after over a year of organizing. Within the next months, a Black studies program is approved by the Board of Regents and the same year an American Indian studies program is established. Two years later, twenty Chicano students occupy Morrill Hall, making demands that lead to the Chicano Studies. These examples demonstrate the level of confrontation and mobilization that has been needed to truly open the university to certain segments of ‘the public.’

National Context: The Great Depression.

University of Minnesota: The General College opens.

As an access point for low income students, especially the white working class that had in reality been excluded from the land-grant ideal, the General College (GC) provides developmental education to support firstgeneration college students. The college does not grant degrees, but offers initial coursework that students can then transfer to other colleges in the Minnesota system. GC also uses a holistic admissions process.

University of Minnesota:

Push-back against limited opportunity for low income students and students of color within the exclusive vision of UMTC as a Top Three research institution in the world.

5 Timeline: Alternative Histories

Crisis & ChangE at UMTC...
Timeline: Alternative Histories 6



Mass unemployment and a growing movement of low income people (as well as fear of riots and unrest) leads to the expansion of the public services under FDR’s New Deal. This is the idea of the social ‘safety net’ - a basic level of support for working class families which includes a broader vision of public education.*

National Context: Economic Recession

Unemployment, underemployment, and high levels of private and public debt are everyday concerns. The public education system is in ‘crisis’ as well -according to some estimates, schools are more segregated and stratified today than in the 1960s. With the steady withdrawal of government funding for public institutions in the last three decades, there are minimal supports. Racial and economic inequities have low income communities of color, in particular, suffering from the effects of recession.*

chapter One
n e ose Excellerch cstit?tion Wh in u
Contesting th e elite resea
rsities in the best public research unive become one of the three “ To nsformation us and a fundamental tra requires institutional foc world ons across ns and cultural expectati th administrative operatio of bo Service and ” (2006 Administrative ) all University campuses. ittee final report, page 12 ering Comm ctivity Task Forces & Ste Produ

We are accustomed to seeing the tagline - ‘Driven to Discover’- on all official university communications, as well as on floor decals, billboards, television ads, and glossy magazine inserts around the state. However, fewer students know that since the 2000s, the entire University of Minnesota system has undergone a comprehensive “transformation” to shift the mission of the university and reposition UMTC as an elite, global, research institution. Specifically, in March 2005, the Board of Regents officially endorsed a ten-year strategic plan for systemwide change. The plan is known as

“strategic positioning” ---and it outlined steps for the

next decade of top-down restructuring and racial and economic exclusions at the university. The plan focused on the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in particular as the flagship university within the U of M system. The purported goal of strategic positioning at the onset was to achieve status as a “TOP THREE research institution in the world”. However, at the halfway point a little over five years later, a student-led space for assessment of both the effects and promises of strategic positioning is desperately needed.
“I want to assure you that the leadership of this great University is fully committed to achieving excellence in every aspect of our mission, in fulfilling the promises we have to the University community and to the state of Minnesota.” (President Bruininks Inaugural Address, February 28th, 2003). and beyond our “More than ever, we must look beyond our past and global higher borders to thrive in an increasingly competitive report, page 6) education scene.” (2005 Academic Taskforce final


Chapter One: Whose Excellence?

Chapter One: Whose Excellence?


Today’s Lucky Number: Strategic Positioning
[Excerpt from ‘ Driven to Deception,’ Minnesota Daily. 31 March 2011.] “Strategic positioning is essentially a public relations campaign. It corrupts the ambitious goal of truly becoming one of the top three research universities with cynical tricks so that the University merely appears like it is in the top three. The vapidly titled report, “Achieving Excellence,” is littered with examples.   In that report, the University touts figures that show total financial aid to undergraduates  has increased by 50 percent since 2005. Nowhere does it mention that tuition went up by almost exactly that amount in the same period of time. Loans are included in the financial  aid numbers, so while the University claims that it is giving students a better deal, cost of attendance and student debt loads are actually rising significantly. The report pulls the same trick when it brags that research expenditures have risen by $192 million over four years. Spending more does not necessarily mean higher quality, it means just spending more. It is painfully obvious that the strategic positioning agenda is obsessed with rankings. Much money and energy has gone into raising the University’s retention and graduation rates since the start of strategic positioning, and it’s easy to see why. Graduation and retention rates count for 20 percent of the formula U.S. News and World Report uses to create its rankings. The standardized test scores, class rank and acceptance rate of the incoming freshman class counts for another 15 percent, and sure enough, the University is trying to drive up those numbers as well. While these statistics can be symptoms of a healthy institution, the University is trying to boost them in order to help itself in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which do not provide a true picture of university quality.....”


Chapter One: Whose Excellence? Chapter One: Whose Excellence?


Uneven investments in ‘discovery’

Strategic positioning is essentially the top-down restructuring of UMTC described in administration documents as the transformation of the university into a “single enterprise institution”. According to reports of the steering committee, this process will “optimize the outcomes”/ “reduce duplicative and multiple processes that create high cost, unnecessarily consume institutional energy, and produce inconsistent results.”/ “reduce complexity”/ and “create a culture where the vision and goals of the University transcend those of individual units”. The hierarchical, forprofit logics of the corporate sector is central to these notions of organizational efficiency and alignment. However, there has been little space for public debate of the proposed procedural and cultural changes to UMTC. Where are the voices of students, educators, workers, and community members as key stakeholders in the future of the university? Whose ‘standards’ and ‘outcomes’ are being valued? Whose “complexity” is erased and whose “cost-savings” are served? Whose “results” are celebrated? These should be the questions we ask of UMTC under strategic positioning.

Corporate-style Restructuring

Admissions practices at UMTC have shifted dramatically in the last decade to favor competitive and high-stake test scores as well as students who graduate at the top 10% of their class. Specifically, since 2004 the average ACT score has gone up to 27.2 points, the number of National Merit Scholars has doubled, and close to nine out of every twenty incoming freshmen are in the top 10% of their high school class. These kinds of numbers are extremely important for the college ranking process. Of course, in reality test scores tell us more about trends on the K-12 level than they indicate the caliber of education at any given university. Reliance on high-stakes testing has even been shown to be inadequate as a primary measure for assessing future aptitude or potential within students.* Yet, the cherished admissions figures for incoming students continue to fulfill a key function each year: they feed narratives and practices of elitism at UMTC. They actively exclude students who may have complex placements in relation to high school achievement while also helping to groom a student body that willingly accepts notions of empty, decontextualized notions of excellence at UMTC.

Elite ‘ Talent’

The goal of becoming a research one university inevitably celebrates and rewards certain kinds of ‘discovery’ and not others. Specifically, uneven investment limits the scholarly research agenda as well as devaluing the work of educators with their students. The CLA 2015 report describes the way that the College of Liberal Arts, the largest college on campus, was the only unit to lose revenue since 2008, including funding from outside private sources. This will force several CLA programs/departments to downsize, collapse, or merge in the next years, unless the university decides to redirect funding and better support the college. Those units with smaller class sizes and enrollment (as well as less income from research grants) are particularly threatened -including ethnic studies departments and other interdisciplinary studies. The survival and autonomy of these units is tenuous, regardless of the ways that they serve individual students, the mission of the university, the pursuit of knowledge within the academy, as well as the surrounding community. Now, it is beyond the scope of this text to explore all the connections between broader social/political/economic interests and the kinds of ‘discovery’ that are supported in the university. However, at a minimum it is important to note that with the reduction in state funding since the 1980s, budgeting at the university has become overly dependent on private/corporate grants for research. This has allowed the biomedical sciences, for example to grow exponentially, while other fields of study have been restricted. Too often, faculty teaching must take second place to revenue-generating research in this context, leaving little space to prioritize lasting community engagement work and student-professor relationships. Instead, we see the increased presence of poorly resourced graduate student instructors and non-faculty professional and administrative (P&A) instructors. These workers have temporary contracts with the university and few benefits. Thus, the conditions of the workplace further confine possibilities for ‘discovery’ in the classroom and beyond.

Unaccountable and depoliticized internationalism
Elite goals require finding elite students locally, nationally, and internationally. In recent years, international students are increasingly recruited to UMTC for their higher tuition. Even as the university becomes more unaffordable to local residents each year, including the increasing numbers of students from immigrant backgrounds in Minnesota, the numbers of international students at UMTC has easily doubled since the early 2000s. In the same time, many course titles and class descriptions changed to include the word ‘international’ and ‘globalization.’ The university has expanded its internal student exchange programs alongside options for UMTC students to study abroad. The Institute for Global Studies has grown notably as well, alongside the Learning Abroad Center, the International Working Group, and the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). Yet, ‘global’ movement on campus often grates against the particular context of UMTC within urban Twin


Chapter One: Whose Excellence?

Chapter One: Whose Excellence?


Cities. Rhetoric around internationalism unwinds when we look at the crumbling of key pipelines for students from the Minneapolis and Saint Paul public school systems as well as tensions around many of the university’s “community-based” extension programs, service initiatives, and research. Are conditions in Cedar Riverside, Frogtown, Midtown, or North Minneapolis somehow not “globalized” enough for attention? When will UMTC prioritize responsible and critical engagement with the global communities in its own backyard?

Disinvestment in key support structures for students of color and low income students

According to many students, faculty, staff, as well as college guidance counselors, high school applicants, and parents who met with WhoseU in 2010-2011, there is a lack of accountable and comprehensive supports for students of color, low income students, and first generation students. The crisis around <access> at UMTC begins with the admissions process but also extends beyond this point. This is seen in the current struggle over the second floor of Coffman Memorial Union where it is clearly impossible to limit discussion to the procedures of space allocation when the stakes are so high for the communities represented. It is also seen in ongoing debates over the future of ethnic studies departments A good place to begin understanding the current moment is with the closure of General College. GC was shut down in 2005, amidst mass protests and community push-back. The proposal was a key element of the initial strategic positioning plan even though today many new students don’t realize that GC even existed. However, whether remembered or not, for many years the General College provided a key pipeline for students color and low income students from Minnesota. The school actively admitted students who may not have benefited from AP, IB, and Honors curriculum in high school but still had promise and potential as university students. GC was also nationally recognized as a site for developmental educationsupporting and retaining students who otherwise would not be able to access the resources of the university. Since 2005, many key components of GC have been re-purposed and quickly forgotten. Initially, a ‘general studies’ program was integrated into the College of Education and Human Development, a school which now definitely does not reflect the racial diversity or the mission of the original GC. Other measures were also put in place, most notably the Access to Success (ATS) program and the Summer Bridge Program. Resources for these programs were substantial for the first couple years even though the scope of ATS was much smaller. However, ATS has been weakened through defunding and a lack of administrative support and commitment. Scholarships like the Multicultural Excellence Program and the Founders/UPromise have also been significantly downscaled.

Five Pillars of Strategic Positioning
The current vision of UMTC: an official plan for ‘excellence’ through the exclusionary values of strategic positioning.* Incoming President Kaler inherits this vision of procedural and cultural standards at UMTC.


Chapter One: Whose Excellence?

Chapter One: Whose Excellence?


chapter Two
ic exclusio Racial/Econom

se Opportunity? Who
ns in higher edu


“As Minnesota’s only comprehensive research and land-grant university, we have an essential role to play in developing human capital, creating innovation, and sharing knowledge in support of our businesses and industries, our families and communities.” - President Bruinicks, legislative testimony February 22, 2011

Lets make it real simple: Opportunity is...

1. an appropriate or favorable time or occasion 2. a situation or condition that promotes the attainment of a goal.
a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.

in 3rd grade, compared to 86% of white students. By 10th grade they were at 36% and 42% accordingly in comparison to 78 % of white high school students. Clearly, the notion of “equal playing grounds for all students” who apply to UMTC from the local school systems cannot hold up in this context. Rather, unequal opportunities and outcomes that begin in elementary school become impossible to ignore. The college admissions process perpetuates racial exclusions even beyond what happens on the K-12 level. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics the racial gap in college enrollment nationwide has grown since 1977 even as the racial gap in terms of high school drop outs has lessened. Recent studies also show that elite schools like UMTC are increasingly shutting out low income and students of color.* Thus, the struggle to expand admissions to UMTC is central- not periphery- to any discussion of racial disparities in the Minnesota public education system more broadly. UMTC could expand its notions of merit and evaluate ‘talent’ in ways that truly attend to what is going on in our Minnesota K-12 schools. This would mean prioritizing low-income and students of color from the state who have the potential to graduate from college with support but who may have come out on the wrong side of the achievement gap after high school. However, in the last ten years it seems that just the opposite has occurred- the university has restricted access points, emphasized racist and classist high stakes testing, and openly promoted community colleges as the ‘alternative’ for this exact cohort of students.

...Admission to a four year college
The University of Minnesota- Twin Cities is a Research 1 university that provides many options and opportunities for students in Minnesota. It is one of the largest universities in the nation and has the capacity to greatly impact broader trends and investments within higher education. With 40,000 undergraduates, high school students from across the state come to campus each year in hopes of eventually attending the university. Yet, a local high school student who submits an application to UMTC is really submitting a record of their experiences within a racialized and stratified education system. After all, Minnesota specifically has one of the largest K-12 achievement gaps in the nation.* The gap persists even when data is aggregated to account for socioeconomic class. According to Minnesota Office of Higher Education projections by 2015, students of color will comprise about 20 percent of Minnesota high school graduates. Yet, in 2008 African American and Latino students in Minnesota were only 55% and 53% likely to be at “proficiency” level on the MCA Reading tests It does not help that the University continues to use demographics in ways that divert attention from the problem at hand. For an example, see the recent 2010 Accountable to U report, which claims that -“...the University is among the leading Midwest public research universities in the percentage of entering freshmen of color, along with the highest differential between its percentage of new entering freshmen of color and its state’s percentage of high school graduates.” (page 17). However, this does not necessarily mean that more students of color from the state are being admitted to UMTC, particularly not low-income, first-generation students, or students from the metro area public school systems (MPS and SPPS) . Rather, it is seems likely that the minimally expanding student of color population at UMTC is drawn mostly from


Chapter Two: Whose Opportunity?

Chapter Two: Whose Opportunity?


suburban school, out of state, as well as from abroad. When we talk about admissions to UMTC we are talking about more than individual opportunity- we are talking about opportunity for entire communities and populations. So ask yourself- whose communities and whose opportunities are valued at UMTC?

...and graduation with a degree
Graduation from a well-recognized university will influence any individuals’ future economic and social opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only college graduates, when compared with other education levels, have experienced growth in median weekly earnings since 1979. This is the education wage premiumthe tangible difference in a paycheck between someone with a college degree and someone without.* Of course, higher education provides access to networks of power far beyond actual employment. The internships at the state legislature through the department of political science, that fraternity alumni event you attended last fall, your experience doing lab research with published faculty in the field, or the connection you made with a guest speaker at the college job fair last week cannot be underestimated. Even the language and ‘professional’ manners one has to master to navigate within the university has value. Yet, in April 2011, the Minnesota Daily reported that less than half of all UMTC African American students graduate in six years. The statistics for American Indian students were often worse. Students of color have much lower graduation rates than their white counterparts in general, whether in reference to the four year or six year benchmark at UMTC.

Institutional outcomes at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities matter. At this point we still see both barriers to access and barriers to success in reference to students of color and low-income students at UMTC. As a large state school and a four year university, these trends at UMTC are part of shaping opportunities and outcomes for entire communities in the state at large. Thus, there is incredible potential for the University to take up leadership in confronting not only institutional inequities but structural exclusions across education in Minnesota.

institutional outcomes matter.

In addition, according to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Minnesota more generally has one of the largest gaps in the nation between white students and persons of color when it comes to degrees awarded per 100 college students. Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that low graduation rates for students of color at UMTC also align with the racial employment gap in the state. Statistics show the state unemployment rate for African Americans in 2010 was 22.5%, compared to around 8% for their white counterparts. Again, Minnesota is notable nationally for high disparities in employment - which exist for other communities of color as well.*


Chapter Two: Whose Opportunity?

Chapter Two: Whose Opportunity?


chapter Three

Movement Strategy

Whose Education?
Movement S trategy

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”- Paulo Freire

It is essential that organizing at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities moves to connect with broader communities and struggles. What follows below are some <strategies> for raising our demands at UMTC from policy reform to also encompass a vision of education justice- a call for education that is anti-oppressive and forwards students and educators as agents for social change in their communities. Importantly, this text focuses on ‘movement strategy,’ acknowledging any discussion of tactics or specific campaigns should occur in relation to broader movements----struggles to end social disparities, segregation, unfair workplace conditions, the forced isolation of the classroom from the rest of society, the policing of the bodies, behavior, and knowledge, the insistence on oppressive and competition-based pedagogy, and other forms of violence within our schools and universities. Whether on the local, state, national or global scale- movements for education justice are increasingly in progress and in the news. From the Dream Act, to protests at the University of California, to the “community school” movement in South Africa, to organizing against school shutdowns in Minneapolis, to student revolts across Europe----organizing around education reveals both “the logic of the present system” that we must confront and “the practice of freedom” we desperately need.

Chapter Three: Whose Education?


hed by all people are enric d in the belief that r truth; Minnesota, founde g and the search fo “The University of ncement of learnin and to dicated to the adva verse community; understanding, is de h education for a di n, and the is knowledge throug the state, the natio to the sharing of th nefit the people of be this knowledge to the application of n statement issio world.” - UMTC m

deconstruct neoliberalism
A sustained critique of the neoliberal education system is essential for countering notions that education is a private, individual choice rather than a public, common good. Neoliberalism is seen in the ways that the language of supply/demand and the use of cost/ benefit models continue to justify making public higher education at UMTC less accessible and less accountable to the community. We must contest these logics - which means confronting the assumed rationality of capitalist economics as the primary framework for discussing the practices and priorities of the university. Students as consumers, universities as businesses, research grants as income generated, academic departments as financial units, and a degree as a standardized product... these comparisons are all examples of the ways conversations about education can become strictly conversations about producers, consumers, and profits. As already described, the basic framework of strategic positioning at UMTC, the single enterprise institution, perfectly reflects the neoliberal model.

talk about the classroom
Talking about our experiences in the classroom is a good way to begin conversation and start envisioning solutions. In WhoseU, we found that one of the easiest ways to understand the exclusive values of the elite, research institution was through discussing the effects on students’ experiences in the classroom. For example, our class sizes, the priority placed on teaching/learning, and the other kinds of labor that educators and students have to complete outside of school (in the workplace, at home, in the military, etc.) all greatly affect our education. The existence of accessible equipment, critical and provocative course readings, and varied class offerings impacts how we learn. Yet, we saw in WhoseU that the ways that subjugated voices and knowledges are valued or not in the classroom is especially important for what we take out of our educations. The classroom can either perpetuate the suppression and silences of dominant society- through curriculum that supports eurocentric ideals and teaching that fails to provide concrete applications for lofty intellectual concepts and theories- or classrooms can be spaces of imagination, respect, and collaborative learning. After all, University of Minnesota- Twin Cities is more than the campus, the buildings, or the individual students, faculty and staff who come here every day. It is also part of a broader intellectual project- the American academy- that has its own contentious histories and philosophies. For years, this project has supported classrooms based on competition, ridicule, exclusion and erasure. The current institutional vision of UMTC too often perpetuates this, as already outlined.

movement strategy

“The trouble is, there is a fundamental differ ence between being a ing a consumer. Educ student and beation is not a produc t but a relationship an process by which know d a process... and the ledge transfor ms the individual. When so a hamburger, he or sh meone buys a car or e is purchasing a pre-p ackaged, readymade a specific need. Educ commodity to satisfy ation is about creating critical thinkers whos ability to challenge ide e skill is precisely the as that are pre-packa ged or readymade or a need” - malik, kena designed to satisfy su n. What is education ch for? goteborgs-poste n, 31 december 2010

movement strategy


Chapter Three: Whose Education?

Chapter Three: Whose Education?


The basic goal of community organizing is to build power for people to solve problems in their lives based on their own networks, resources, and skills.


that will help pay for bagels as well as help account for the labor of the group? For WhoseU, access to media equipment and space for an unofficial student group to host meetings was essential. We also had to work hard to figure out how to fund our ‘Day of Education’ event and how to pool resources among student groups that may have never collaborated together before.

the smallest unit you can organize is a relationship between two people. Relationships are the glue that holds everything together- your relationships with others and the relationships that are facilitated (or not) within the group are key to the long term sustainability of the work. To be clear: Who is in the room -or not- matters greatly. In WhoseU, we saw the importance of actively recruiting students who had not been involved in organizing work before but were most directly impacted by the policies under discussion. This was the difference between a campaign that discussed ‘what’s happening to them’ and a campaign that actually built power to confront ‘what’s happening to us’. We also tried to limit participation initially from allies who were more experienced activists but also did not represent our base constituencies (i.e. students of color, low income students, first generation college students). We asked some people to step back to allow new leadership and voices to come forward. Through this process, we saw over and over again that who is in the room influences the content of conversation (the results, the questions that are asked, the issues that remain, the decisions that are made, the topics that are addressed) as well as the nature of conversation (who speaks and when, how tension or silence is present, who facilitates, who is able to participate).

movement strategy

Do not assume that ‘everyone is on the same page.’ Ever. Just because we may be on similar emotional registers or find ourselves seated together in the room today does not mean that we have already established ‘what’s wrong’ and ‘what to do about it’. Organizing ideas requires a willingness to see that we need to build a shared political literacy to build a shared political movement. And this literacy will require not only that we synthesize and analyze information -about the policies, histories, and current conditions at UMTC- but also that we organize messages about the purpose and practices of the University in the first place.

movement strategy

This is the last element to consider. Organizing action is like directing a play- you need to have the actors, the props and costumes, and the script already established- even while there can still be space for improvisation. Through this process, organized action will allow a group to focus and direct their efforts to achieve a common goal.

So you have people in the room, what else do you have? An important part of building power is leveraging resources within and outside the group. Often, these resources are simple but essential- Who has access to a laptop? What are some skills we can share in the group through a training or a teach-in? Where can we get free printing? Where are the pots of money – grants, in-kind donations, fundraising events-


Chapter Three: Whose Education?

Chapter Three: Whose Education?


Think through your demands
olar200 full sch .... lish at least We demand nesota estab dents. of Min h school stu high school e University hig d....... that th s of Black Minnesota vileged Black ent agencies “We deman for underpri clas d recruitm graduating inate tuition e unseling an l to elim oard to ships for th guidance co e establishment of a b f a proposa ent of ation o d... that e establishm full consider and... th an .. th dem e demand.. letes. We dem udents. We students. W ds Black ath ing, Jr. We demand... of Blacks st d the needs tment towar K er s. geared towar ies of the athletic depar Martin Luth ining group olic amed after licy deter m t Bank be n ns of Black niversity po review the p tio Wes or u the contribu rary on the ts on all maj e 1969 ty to reflect the new lib lack studen ands from th the universi ntation of B iculum at al represe -list of dem equ al curr ica.” ... education h and culture of Amer We demand monwealt e com people to th keover rrill Hall ta Mo

“Today, the project of transforming the University…. does not rest solely on the shoulders of university administration but increasingly depends upon the active participation of undergraduate and graduate students, tenured, non-tenured and adjunct faculty, and staff…Many of us have sat on dead-end university committees, taskforces, and “representative governing bodies” simply to signal to employers and tenure committees that we have participated in the governance of our institution. This bureaucratic laundering of time and labor is not just an innocent waste of time; it helps stabilize the image of the University as a democratic and collectively managed institution.” -from paper by Kamola and Meyeroff, ‘Creating Commons’ page 1, page 21-22

A demand is a concise and pointed statement of ‘what we want specifically and immediately’ that can help catalyze and focus energy. In context of a movement, well employed demands will allow tangible, concrete ‘wins’ as well as build political literacy. However, a risk in the process of synthesizing down a demand is that you can easily start generating demands that are addressing the symptoms of the problem rather than the root cause. For example, one has to consider, ‘should our fight be over a 3% raise in the numbers of faculty of color at the institution or is it about redefining tenure or is it about both as well as a racial equity analysis of hiring and faculty placement decisions across the college.’ Find ways to make demands that address the overall priorities and vision of UMTC and not only specific policy and practices. Also, remember that demands alone are not sufficient to organize a group. You can send out an inflammatory email, visit classrooms to say ‘end student debt now’, or take a megaphone out on the mall. In fact, you can make demands all day long. But, most likely you won’t be able to turn out many more people than those already mobilized. It can be hard to break through the layers of apathy, cynicism, and indifference. In a society where we are increasingly encircled within ‘private spaces and private lives,’ demands are most useful when developed collectivity in ways that speak to multiple constituencies and stakeholders.

What matters are the outcomes and effects of a given policy decision, regardless of individual intent. These effects are never “neutral” or “unbiased.” All decisions come from somewhere and have certain consequences- they are not flat, random, abstract choices that fall out of the sky. So, negotiating over the details and minutia of bureaucratic process and policies in order to somehow make things more “objective” is not a good use of time. UMTC has enough layers of decision-making to run anyone to burnout. Depending too much on bureaucracy is a sure path to failure. Of course, it is still important to understand how the UMTC bureaucracy works. Yet, it is more essential to see that substantial change comes only through organizing and mass movement. As a student, it is especially unlikely that you will have much more than a symbolic “voice” in administration decision-making, unless you have relationships and connections within the university that allow you to bypass bureaucratic hurdles. This is why lobbying the MSA, or sitting in other tedious meetings mostly run through popularity contests, was not the main focus of WhoseU. Instead, we built an autonomous student organization connected to an extensive network of community support. Bureaucracy – layers of hierarchical authority that are part of the ‘governing’ structure of liberal institutions– appears to disperse power and decision-making away from any one centralized decisionmaker.* Many people participate in the bureaucratic ‘governing’ of UMTC- a school of some 60,000 students. This includes individuals well beyond what we call ‘the administration.’ Participation could be part of paid full time employment (as staff or faculty of the University), a part of involvement in ‘voluntary’ decision-making bodies (committees, working groups, boards, taskforces, advisory councils), or an outgrowth of having to adhere to official codes and policies for conduct (as registered student groups, teams, clubs). Regardless of the form, this participation requires a level of “self-regulation” – that is, we have to police our conduct and politics carefully to work inside bureaucracies.

movement strategy

movement strategy


Chapter Three: Whose Education?

Chapter Three: Whose Education?


The university is a workplace and a life chance-- this means that the stakes are high when the context of organizing on campus may threaten salaries, class credits, scholarships, coursework, and key relationships. Organizing work will always have consequences for individuals and units who are committed to building larger movements and critique. Also, the precarious placement of individuals in relation to their jobs, their research, and their coursework can also be manipulated; at UMTC, for example, the interests of undergraduate, graduate student, faculty, and other staff are often divided against each other. This allows struggles over student issues to become separated from organizing to ensure adequate wages and feasible schedules for staff and faculty- even though many students work on campus jobs and will benefit if their teachers and advisors have better working conditions. From the beginning, WhoseU organized across sites to connect high school students, educators, workers, and community members. We purposefully built up understanding and capacity around several issues -admissions, cultural centers, ethnic studies- that connected to different core constituencies. We saw that these linkages between sites are incredibly necessary, particularly when the divide and conquer tactics often prove so useful in the university. Specifically, the more that our struggles as individuals and communities are embedded within each other the more difficult it is to drive a wedge between them. An essential move in this process is to speak to folks off campus about what is happening in our classrooms, our departmental meetings, and in daily life at UMTC. We should speak to the connections between local and national events in higher education, and show how conditions at the university relate to trends in broader society. As pressure builds to silence individuals who are inside the institution, community memory and community leaders can then help preserve the message and demands. While suppression or disillusionment within the university may confine the organizing, our connections to broader communities will help ensure that we are not totally isolated and cut off from each other.

. .question the METRICS
Our narratives as subjects who are constantly measured within the education system is important. The reality of demographic shift and the news that the United States is close to ‘minority majority’ in the next few decades means that it is a perfect time to develop a more critical approach to the use of racial/ethnic demographics. This critical approach should reveal the ways that changing ‘the numbers’ -increasing the faculty of color employed, numbers of students who graduate each year - cannot be the sole focus of our demands. There are so many other factors that are still unmeasured- including campus climate for underrepresented groups, support structures for first generation college students, culturally responsive and critical curriculum materials, and the presence of staff and faculty who are accountable to students’ needs and experiences. “The numbers” will always erase, limit, and exclude so we must center our voices-- not just percentages and pie charts. Thus, our wording and analysis has to become more nuanced and sophisticated. In WhoseU, we made an effort both to point to numbers -the lack of discussion of admissions figures from the MPS and SPSS school system for example- while also being attentive to the ways that stories often speak to current conditions more than any data point or chart. Demographics are a useful tool but they can also unnecessarily work against the kinds of broad critique we want to develop.

movement strategy

movement strategy


Divide & Conquer


The idea of “divide and conquer” has been a standard practice in Western political strategy going back for over a thousand years. Breaking apart alliances by manipulating self-interest (whether through “the carrot” or “the stick) should be understood as an essential tool for empire building. In fact, the “divide and conquer” strategy was explicit in many campaigns in the colonial age, including the British takeover of India, the German rule of Rwanda, and Spanish rules in the Americas. It can be seen through the tactics of purposefully spreading uneven resources, creating new social categories to enforce hierarchy, using language as a tool for isolation, and exploiting cultural differences.

noun, the study of statistics such as births, deaths, income, or the incidence of disease, which illustrate the changing structure of human population. Demographics assist in regulation of a population -charting who people are, where people live, and what they do. This process is supposed to ensure that the needs of a population are met and resources are distributed.* The development of demography in the United States is embedded within the university as a site and a subject of analysis. As a starting place, the university is crucially linked to the conceptual grounding and technical innovation of the national census- the largest demography project in the country. The first official census in the

United States emerges in 1790. The politics of these ‘numbers’ are clearly wrapped up within issues of racialized labor and citizenship as well as the economics of industrial production. At the time, African Americans are ‘counted’ as 3/5th a person while most American Indians are not ‘counted’ at all. 1960s and 1970s social movements bring a different meaning to the census project both in higher education and elsewhere. Comparison of ‘the numbers’ becomes a key tool for assessing the progress of civil rights and antidiscrimination policy. This is why the politics of collecting racial/ethnic demographics becomes a key focus of national debate for the next several decades.



The University of Minnesota spent over $1 million dollars this year on advertising for the Driven to Discover campaign. A few years ago, it was double this amount. The images and soundbites produced by this campaign – of students cleaning test tubes and building robots- tell a story about UMTC that is detached and decontextualized from the surrounding communities. Through the repetition of the same imagery and narratives the goal of a ‘top three research institution’ comes to seem more feasible and more logical. The fact that the billboards, television ads, and floor decals are everywhere only works to further flood our minds and lives with messaging that affirms the exclusive values of strategic positioning in the first place. On-the-ground organizing must confront institutions as well as the dominant narratives around the purpose and goals of education in the first place. The recent ‘Because’ campaign asks the question ‘why are we driven to discover?’ Some examples of taglines: “because the unsolvable was invitation enough”“because we can change the course of history”- “because tomorrow’s visionaries need focus today” and “because creativity fuels the new economy”. At WhoseU, we solicited our own ‘because’ statements in order to talk about textbook prices, about belonging and community on campus, about concerns regarding the content of curriculum, and about forgotten histories and events at the university. This process was part of reframing dominant narratives around the norms of student life and
Resources on strategic messaging: Canning, Doyle and Patrick Reinsborough. Re:Imagining Change - How to Use Story-based Strategy. PM Press. April 2010. See also www.smartmeme.org Praxis Media Productions. Fair Game: Guide to Racial Justice Communications in the Obama Era. Praxis Project. 04 April 2011.

Develop a precise, shared, and well-circulated counternarrative.

movement strategy

scholarly inquiry at UMTC.


In the pages that follow are some additional resources to use for generating alternative narratives around the problems/solutions within our education system.

(key texts for organizers)


° Alliance for Education Justice- http://www.allianceforeducationaljustice.org/ ° Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 2000. ° Giroux, Henry A. “Locked Out: Youth and Academic Unfreedom,” Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability? New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. (Chapter 3). ° the third world liberation front. “The Third World College,” Daily Cal. 27 January 1969.

° ° ° ° °

Nur, Lolla Mohammed. “Don Devalue, Defund, or Deprioritize Diversity.” 2 May 2011. Robinson, Alex. “U undergoes largest building boom in 20 years.” 30 October 2008. Rushmann, Anhalese. “University Invests Large Sums in Research Sites.” 8 May 2008. Shine, Conor. “Kaler’s top priority: increasing diversity.” December 2010. Wobbema, Taryn. “Driven to Discover operates with less.” 23 January 2010.



° Arrastía, Lisa. “Capital’s Daisy Chain: Exposing the Chicago Corporate Coalition,” Journal for Critical Education Policy 5.1 (May 2007) 1-25. ° Aspen Institute. Structural Racism and Community Building. June 2004. (See section on Education) ° Forman, James Jr., “Why Prison Instead of Preschool?” (2007). Georgetown Law Faculty Working Papers. Paper 35. http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/fwps_papers/35 ° Hing, Julianne. “The Education of Jose Pedraza: Why Fixing Schools Isn’t Simple Math,” Colorlines.com. 10 May 2011. See http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/05/educationreform.html ° Kohn, Alfie. “Poor Teaching for Poor Children … in the Name of Reform.” Education Week. 27 April 2011. Kozol, Jonathan. The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. New York: Crown Publishers, 2005. ° Oakes, Jeannie. Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2005. ° Wise, Tim J. Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2010.

° CLA 2015: CLA 2015 Committee Final Report to Dean James A. Parente, Jr. 8 November 2010. ° Transforming the University: Report of the Systemwide Academic Taskforce on Diversity. 3 February 2006. ° Transforming the University: President’s Recommendations. 6 May 2005 ° Office of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. “Achieving Excellence: Academic Strategic Positioning 2005-10” ° Office of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. Accountable to U 2010 Report. September 2010. ° “University of Minnesota: Advancing the Public Good” Strategic Positioning Report


° Aronowitz, Stanley. The Knowledge Factory: Dismantling the Corporate University and Creating True Higher Learning. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000. ° Giroux, Henry A, and Susan S. Giroux. Take Back Higher Education: Race, Youth, and the Crisis of Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. ° Hong, Grace. “The Future of Our Worlds”: black feminism and the politics of knowledge in the university under globalization. Merdians. 2008, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 95-11 ° Kamola, Issac. Producing the Global Imaginary: Academic Knowledge, Globalization, and the Making of the World. University of Minnesota Department of Political Science- Dissertation. Pages 111- 146 ° MPRNews Midmorning. “The High Stakes of College Admission.” 9:06 am. 1 April 2011. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/04/01/midmorning1/ ° Roediger, David. “What’s Wrong with These Pictures? Race, Narratives of Admission, and The Liberal Self-representations of Historically White Colleges and Universities,” Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 203-222, 203 (2005)


° Brady, Tim. “The Way Spaces Were Allocated Part II: African Americans on Campus. Minnesota Magazine. November-December 2002. ° Ford Pictures. Legacy of Opportunity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaOx7mwfoZ4. Uploaded 11/27/07 ° General College Truth Movement Charter ° Helms, Marisa. U of M and Diversity Linked in Debate over General College. Minnesota Public Radio. 20 April 2005. ° Hughes, Art. The Legacy of the Morill Hall Takeover. Minnesota Public Radio. 21 April 2006. ° J. L. Higbee, D. B. Lundell, & D. R. Arendale (Eds.), The General College Vision: Integrating Intellectual Growth, Multicultural Perspectives, and Student Development. In collaboration with the Center for Research on Developmental Education and Urban Literacy. 2005. ° Souleyefilms. “Morrill Hall YouTube 5 2 11” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYFheLTP_eE. Uploaded 5/2/11. ° University of Minnesota Disorientation Guide 2011-2012. Zine. Forthcoming. ° Williams, Marie B, Rose F. Massey, and Horace Huntley. “Nerve Juice” and the Ivory Tower Confrontation in Minnesota: The True Story of the Morrill Hall Takeover (at the University of Minnesota). Jonesboro, AR: GrantHouse Publishers, 2006. ° Whose University?. Alternative Histories, 2010. Whose University? Archives. ° Whose University?. Whose University? Public Service Announcement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeBr1iLwX2M. Uploaded 4/16/11. ° Whose University?. SHOUTOUT TO WHOSE U: Voices from the April 20 Day of Education. Film. Forthcoming.

° ° °

Collins, MacKenzie. “Race on Campus: a work in progress.” 4 April 2010 Henry, Devin. “The price to pay...to be top three.” 5 May 2010. Johnson, Andrew. “U aims for more out-of-state students. 2 February 2011.

(graphs, citations, additional information)
1. Critical Sources on the Morrill Act ° Duemer, Lee Stewart. The Origins of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862: A Convergence of War and the Threat of War, Agricultural Influence, Modernization, and the American University Movement. Ph.D. diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1996. ° Madsen, David. The Land-Grant University: Myth and Reality. In Land-Grant Universities and their Continuing Challenge, edited by G. Lester Anderson, 23- 48. Ann Arbor: Michigan State University Press, 1976. ° Key, Scott. Economics or Education: The Establishment of American Land-Grant Universities. Journal of Higher Education 67 (March-April 1996): 196-220. 2. Critical Sources on Affirmative Action and “Diversity” initiatives in education ° Aguirre, Adalberto Jr. Academic Storytelling: A Critical Race Theory Story of Affirmative Action. Sociological Perspectives. Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer, 2000), Pages 319-339. ° Aguirre , Adalberto Jr. Diversity as interest-convergence in academia: a critical race theory story. Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture. Volume 16, Issue 6, 2010, Pages 763 – 774 ° Harris, Cheryl. Whiteness as Property. Harvard Law Review. Vol. 106, No. 8 (Jun., 1993), Pages. 1707-1791 ° Martinez, Elizabeth . Willie Horton’s Gonna Get Your Alma Mater: The War on Multiculturalism. De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1998. ° VanDeventer Susan Iverson. Camouflaging Power and Privilege: A Critical Race Analysis of University Diversity Policies. Educational Administration Quarterly. Vol. 43, No. 5 (December 2007), Pages 559-600. 3. Critical Sources on Race and Recession in the 2000s ° Applied Research Center. “Race and Recession,” May 2009. arc.org/recession ° Lui, Meizhu and United for a Fair Economy. The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.s. Racial Wealth Divide. New York: New Press, 2006 ° Rivas, Jorge. “Melissa Harris-Perry Explains the Current Racial Wealth Gap,” Colorlines.com, 11 July 2011 . Cites MSNBC NEWS video. ° Shierholz, Heidi. “Ten Facts about Recovery,”Economic Policy Institute. Issue Brief #307, 6 July 2011. More commentary on the values of strategic positioning The Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost released a report called “Achieving Excellence” in the past year assessing the progress of strategic positioning. I think it is useful to quote this document at length as further example of the institutional values that are celebrated currently at UMTC- “Since the announcement of this ambitious goal, undergraduate applications have doubled and a new honors program attracts students who could have attended MIT, Stanford, and other prestigious institutions. Faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize and nine Guggenheims, and eight faculty have been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, six into the Institute of Medicine, and four into the National Academy of Sciences. In the 2010 National Research Council’s assessment of doctoral programs, the University of Minnesota had 13 programs rank within a range that extends into the top five, 19 programs within the top 10, 4.

and 45 programs within the top 25 in the country. Total research and development expenditures have grown 41%, the third largest growth rate among the top 20 universities in the country. The University now is ranked, in terms of research expenditures, among the top 10 of all universities, public and private. Research expenditures from these competitively awarded funds generate $1.5 billion in economic impact and support over 16,000 jobs inside and outside the University. As a whole, the University generates $13 for every $1 invested by the state and creates $8.6 billion annually in total economic impact in Minnesota,” (Achieving Excellence: Academic Strategic Positioning 20052010, introduction, page 6). 5. Critical sources on the use of competitive and high-stakes testing ° Atkinson, Richard. “College Admissions and the SAT: A Personal Perspective,”* Invited address at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego (4/14/04). Subsequently published in: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Observer, Vol. 18, 15-22, 2005 ° Atkinson, Richard. “Achievement Versus Aptitude in College Admissions. December 2001 ° Cloud, John. “Should SATs Matter?,” Time Magazine. 4 March 2001 ° Douglass, John A. “Anatomy of Conflict: The Making and Unmaking of Affirmative Action at the University of California,” in David Skrentny, Ed., Color Lines: Affirmative Action, Immigration and Civil Rights Options for America (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2001). ° Klein, B., McNeil, J.D., Stout, L.A. (2005). The achievement trap. Education Week, 25, 32 ° Horn, C. (2003). High-stakes testing and students: Stopping or perpetuating a cycle of failure? Theory into Practice, 42, 30-41. ° “College Readiness” and comparative ACT test scores. See the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership. 2009 State of Students of Color and American Indian Students.


More commentary on UMTC and ‘the global’ “....this impulse to “globalize the university” affect what knowledge the university produces, how its presents itself, what it prioritizes, and the practices of those who inhabit it. For example, Strategic Positioning creates a system of “strategic initiatives” which, in effect, shift money from the liberal arts to the sciences and engineering, making academic production in the social sciences increasingly precarious. Furthermore, by prioritizing “interdisciplinary knowledge” and “global affairs”—while simultaneously cutting programs designed to meet the needs of Minnesotans (i.e. General College, the extension services, community health programs, affordable undergraduate education, etc.)—the University privileges those aspects of the institution deemed necessary for “global” competitiveness. This affects what research gets funded, what classes are taught, how the university presents itself to the public, the workloads in various departments, how much graduate students get paid, what research gets funded, etc.” (Kamola 2010, 135-136; cited in resources page)


7. K-12 Achievement Gap in Minnesota ° Correlation between race and economic status in the education system, (as seen through the free/reduced lunch program). See the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership. 2009 State of Students of Color and American Indian Students. ° Gap in math and reading scores and the odds that a 3rd Grader scored “Superior performance”on Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment Test. See Minneapolis Foundation. “Minnesota’s Academic Achievement Gap,” All Kids Learn:A Minnesota Meeting Series on K-12 Education. February 2004.

° Bastedo , Bielby, Posselt, Jaquette. “Access without Equity: Longitudinal analyses of institutional stratification by race and ethnicity, 1972-2004 Paper prepared for presentation at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Indianapolis, IN, November 18, 2010.” 9. Higher education and impact on future economic opportunities ° Baran, Madlines. “Minnesota #2 in nation in racial gap in jobless rate.” Minnesota Public radio. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/05/24/race-and-unemployment-in-minnesota/ ° Leonhardt, David. “The Value of College,” New York Times 17 May 2010. <http://economix. blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/17/the-value-of-college-2/> ° Mean Earnings of Workers by Race and Educational Attainment. See Applied Research Center. “Race and Recession,” May 2009. arc.org/recession

8. Racial gaps in College Access ° Racial Gaps in Education. The racial gap college enrollment gap is growing even as the gap in high school drop out rates has narrowed. See the Digest of Education Statistics 2008, National Center for Education Statistics.

10. Critical sources on bureaucracy ° Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Pantheon, 1978. ° Foucault, Michel, “Governmentality.” Translated by Rosi Braidotti. I & C 6 (Autumn 1979). ° Kamola, Issac and Eli Meyerhoff. “Creating Commons: Divided Governance, Participatory Management, and Struggles Against Enclosure in the University.” Polygraph Journal, 2009. ° Weber, Max., “Bureaucracy”, In From Max Weber, eds. Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mills, 196-244. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946. 11. Critical sources on demographics ° Foucault, Michel, “Governmentality.” Translated by Rosi Braidotti. I & C 6 (Autumn 1979). ° McCann, Carole R. Malthusian Men and Demographic Transitions. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 2009, 30:1, 142-171. ° Nassy, Jacqueline Nassy. The Racial State of the Everyday and the Making of Ethnic Statistics in Britain. Social Text, Spring 2009; 27: 11 – 36. ° Willse, Craig. “‘Universal Data Elements,’ or the Biopolitical Life of Homeless Populations,” Surveillance and Society 5:3. ° Scott, James C. “Cities, People, Language,” Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

° Aspirations to go to college in spite of racial disparities.in college access. See See the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership. 2009 State of Students of Color and American Indian Students.

Statement to President Kaler

A recent article (8/27/11) by Jenna Ross of the Star Tribune offered some “First-day-of-school advice for U’s Eric Kaler.” Along the same lines, a brief statement for incoming President Kaler.

grows out of the work of the Whose University? Campaign from springsummer 2011. My involvement and the amazing leaders I met during this time has profoundly impacted my life. I make this document as a way to document conversations and ‘lessons learned’ as well as to offer my own insights for future leaders, activists, and student organizers-- particularly undergraduate students.

Strategic Positioning is a product of the Bruinick’s administration. However, planning for this elitist shift in the University’s focus began much earlier (for example, see President Keller’s: Commitment to Focus-1985).  Without significant intervention,  the effects will continue in upcoming years.
Within the community: public priorities and public agenda matter to the broader state Strategic positioning perpetuates racial and economic disparities in Minnesota. In particular, administration priorities in regards to expanding college access for low income and students of color  (from admissions through graduation) influence the shape of future opportunities for these exact populations across the state. President Kaler, you have a chance to promote higher standards of accountability in public agenda setting in relation to these communities. At a minimum, this would require establishing strong commitments to admit and support these students through graduation at UMTC- the flagship institution at Minnesota- as well as designing equity assessment procedures that could be implemented system-wide within the next few years. Within the university: ‘listening’ is not enough Spaces for listening are not enough-- there is a difference between talking to individuals and working with stakeholders. We need leadership that is invested in public and democratic decision-making. This will require new structures of governance. The current ad-hocs committee practice – best modeled under strategic positioning- encourages students to participate in mostly powerless decision-making bodies that rarely influence agenda-setting.   We need  the university administration to establish avenues for “student voice” that extend beyond “listening” to actually respond and translate these voices and experiences into a policy framework. We also desperately need a structure of governance that can responsibly incorporate the views of diverse constituencies on and off campus. This would also include but extend beyond creating a higher profile position for a chief officer on diversity to help institutionalize this vision within the first layer of administration leadership.  After all, the university’s  structure of governance (informal and formal) influences all aspects of the official policy and   ‘vision’ for the University of Minnesota system at large. The Research 1 Focus When the priority of becoming a ‘top three’ research institution in the world – necessarily entails deepening exclusions and exacerbating inequalities – then its time for a new public agenda at the University of Minnesota. As has already been pointed out from various angles, the TOP THREE goal is neither realistic nor responsible. Constituencies across the political spectrum are calling for a new vision of public education at the University of Minnesota.


explores several contradictions surrounding the placement of students of color and low income students at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. Specifically, I critique the current vision of “excellence” at UMTC as an elite, research institution. I show the ways that this vision informs institutional priorities and practices embedded in racial/economic exclusions. This includes who is admitted, what kinds of “discovery” are celebrated and whose opportunity is supported through graduation.


shows that how we learn, teach, and work in the education system is integrally connected to what happens in the world around us. The images above are from the April 2011 Day of Education event- one space, one takeover, which re-imagined the terms and the shape of struggles for change- both in higher education and in our communities at large.



“The University of Minnesota has much to celebrate. The strategic plan has guided the University into a new era of excellence, as evidenced by the initiatives and investments highlighted in this report. Despite financial challenges, the effort to become one of the top three public research universities continues. Expectations of academic rigor from faculty, staff, and students will not waver. The second half of the 10-year strategic positioning effort should produce results as exciting and noteworthy as the first.” -----2010 ‘Achieving Excellence’ report.

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