Support for Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama

(Updated 4/5/2018)

Augsburg University is sharing this background about the immigration case involving Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama to keep our campus and the public informed.

The most recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement check-in appointment for Dr. Wanyama and his wife, Mary, was Thursday afternoon, April 5. The outcome of the meeting was that ICE has allowed the Wanyamas 90 days to depart the United States.

Augsburg University statements
Augsburg issued a statement from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow following the Wanaymas’ April 5 ICE meeting, as well as statements before and following the previous ICE meeting, on March 9. These statements are posted below:

Augsburg University Faculty Senate statement
The Faculty Senate of Augsburg University wishes to express our unanimous and unconditional support for our friend and colleague, Professor Mzenga Wanyama. We urge all those who care about Professor Wanyama to consider signing the petition on his behalf at https://www.change.org/p/augsburg-university-support-augsburg-professor-mzenga-wanyama.

Website
A website, www.mzenga.com, has been created by friends and supporters of Mzenga and Mary Wanyama. The site includes a statement from the Wanyamas, information about the next Immigration and Customs Enforcement meeting, and information about getting involved and providing support.

Work authorization and sponsorship
Augsburg University complies with federal law that requires employers to verify that employees are eligible to work in the United States. Dr. Wanyama has authorization to work in the United States, issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Sponsorship for permanent resident status is not an option at this time due to a restriction related to a J-1 two-year home residency requirement. The two-year home residency requirement means that those who come to the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status, or get work or family-based visa status until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively. A request to waive the two-year home residency requirement was filed several years ago, but the waiver was denied. Augsburg is working with legal counsel to pursue all options available to us under the current scenario.

Advisory: Augsburg officially becomes ‘Augsburg University,’ welcomes most diverse class in 148-year history

University’s first-year undergraduate class more than 53 percent persons of color

(MINNEAPOLIS) — As Augsburg celebrates becoming “Augsburg University” on Sept. 5, it also welcomes an incoming first-year undergraduate class of more than 53 percent persons of color.

“As ‘Augsburg University,’ we embrace our leadership role as a university at the forefront of intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Augsburg University President Paul C. Pribbenow.

“We are proud and grateful to welcome to our community the Class of 2021, made up of students of academic ability from an array of diverse backgrounds — including ethnicity, faith, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and more. We know that learning in a diverse community prepares young people to become engaged, thoughtful citizens, and problem solvers.”

The Augsburg University celebration at the Minneapolis campus includes food stations and opportunities for getting an Augsburg University logo T-shirt screen printed on-site, participating in a photo booth, assembling hygiene kits for the Augsburg Health Commons, which serves unsheltered persons who live in Minneapolis, and more. On Sept. 18, the Augsburg University teaching site in Rochester, Minn., will host a special ribbon-cutting to celebrate more than 20 years of providing graduate and undergraduate programs in that community.

PROGRAM and PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

  • 9:20 a.m.: Faculty and staff line up along 22nd Avenue South to applaud students as they process into Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center, for the Opening Convocation.
  • 9:30 a.m.: Opening Convocation in Hoversten
  • 10:30 a.m.: Kick-Off Celebration and Lunch in the Quadrangle
  • 11:30 a.m.:  Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow formally launches Augsburg University
  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.: First-Year Students Begin Service Projects

ADDITIONAL FACTS

  • Augsburg measures diversity beyond ethnicity and culture and welcomes persons in our community of diverse faiths, gender identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, learning styles, and military commitments. Nearly 10 percent of students self-identify as Muslim. More than 11 percent self-identify as LGBTQIA.
  • On Sept. 5, the Class of 2021 will donate nearly $35,000 in service work at more than 20 locations in Minneapolis.

ABOUT AUGSBURG UNIVERSITY

Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and the Rochester site. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Advisory: Hennepin County Library’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum book club fosters dialogue across differences

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Members of the public have a unique opportunity to build knowledge and understanding of issues that have and continue to shape our world through a book club that is offered in partnership by the Hennepin County Library and Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Participants will explore the stories and writings of leading authors and public figures this summer, in advance of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Forum slated for September 15-16 at Augsburg College.

Nobel Peace Prize Forum - Inspiring Peacemaking
Hennepin County Library

“Engaged citizens who participate in the NPPF Book Club will gain considerate understanding of some issues and topics we will dig into at the Forum this September,” said Joe Underhill, program director of the NPPF. “In times of great flux and ongoing violence, developing dialogue across differences and compassion for our global neighbors is a key to building the understanding that leads to peacemaking.”

“We are honored to partner with such a venerable institution as the NPPF to offer this opportunity for our community,” said Stephanie Steinwedel, program and events manager for Hennepin County Library. “At a time when our world feels increasingly divided, bringing community members together to discuss ways we can  strengthen the ties that bind us feels more important than ever.”

SCHEDULE

Continue reading “Advisory: Hennepin County Library’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum book club fosters dialogue across differences”

Advisory: Augsburg celebrates last commencement as a college on April 29

On September 1, school officially becomes ‘Augsburg University’

(MINNEAPOLIS) – The Augsburg community on Saturday, April 29, will celebrate the last graduating class of Augsburg College when 503 day, undergraduate students are conferred their degrees. Earlier this spring, Augsburg’s Board of Regents and the Augsburg Corporation approved the institution’s name change to “Augsburg University” effective September 1.

“It’s a historic moment for Auggies and a time for our community to celebrate nearly 150 years of educating young people and adults for lives of service,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “As we send off our last class of Augsburg College students, we do so on the eve of becoming Augsburg University and of our sesquicentennial, and we do so knowing that these Auggies are prepared to use their gifts and talents to serve our world’s greatest needs.”

In the afternoon, the school will recognize more than 469 adult undergraduates, graduate and doctoral students, 50 of whom studied at the College’s Rochester site.

DAY UNDERGRADUATE COMMENCEMENT

When: 9 a.m., Saturday, April 29

Where:  Ceremonies in Si Melby Hall located on 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55454 http://www.augsburg.edu/about/directions-and-parking/ (Rain plan: Students will line up in Si Melby’s lower level and process up stairs, into gym.)

PROGRAM

9:30 a.m. – Student Processional, Christensen Center. Group proceeds, led by drummer, from Christensen Center down South 7-1/2 Street to Si Melby Hall. Faculty, in academic dress, line the streets and clap as students pass. Students carry flags representing home countries represented in student body.

10 a.m. – Invocation and Welcome

    • Commencement Speaker: Michele Norris, former host, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.
    • Student Speaker: Eron “Winnie” Godi, of Rochester, Minnesota, will graduate with majors in international relations and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, with a minor in peace and global studies. She maintained a 3.79 grade point average while juggling full-time work and full-time school, while also being integrally involved in the Augsburg community. At Augsburg, she was president of the Pan Afrikan Student Union and a past Peace Scholar. As an Augsburg LEAD Fellow, she has created an online magazine focused on celebrating the African diasporic arts and culture in Minnesota and the surrounding community. Off campus, Godi was a 2015-16  Museum Fellow at the Minnesota Historical Society and a finalist for the Princeton in Africa program, which matches recent college graduates with non-governmental organizations in Africa. She was also a finalist for the Humanity in Action Fellowship.
    • Honorary Degree Recipient: Beverly Daniel Tatum, President Emerita, Spelman College. Tatum is a nationally recognized authority on racial issues.
    • Conferring of Degrees
    • Recessional: Students exit Si Melby. Students, families gather in Murphy Square.

ABOUT AUGSBURG COLLEGE

Augsburg College has been part of the rapidly growing and diversifying city of Rochester for nearly 20 years. The main campus is set in a vibrant Minneapolis neighborhood at the heart of the Twin Cities, and offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds. Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The Augsburg experience is supported by an engaged community committed to intentional diversity in its life and work. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Acclaimed StepUP Program, staff take on increased national role in reducing stigma

Patrice Salmeri named Executive Director for Recovery Advancement

Patrice Salmeri was appointed to the position of Director of Recovery Advancement for the nationally acclaimed StepUP Program.(MINNEAPOLIS)—Students across the nation who seek to live in recovery from substance use disorders will have greater opportunities for success thanks to the generosity of donors to the Augsburg College StepUP® Program.

“This is a pivotal moment for students in recovery across the nation and how we serve them,” said Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow. “We are poised to leverage our 20-year national reputation as the gold standard in collegiate recovery in enhanced ways: to encourage and shape how other colleges and universities throughout the nation support young people in championing lives of recovery, to work to effect policies and programs that will staunch the opioid epidemic gripping our nation, and to reduce the stigma associated with addiction so that young people can lead lives of meaning.”

Continue reading “Acclaimed StepUP Program, staff take on increased national role in reducing stigma”

Augsburg College to become ‘Augsburg University’ September 1

(MINNEAPOLIS)—Augsburg College will become Augsburg University effective September 1.

The change reflects the reality that Augsburg already offers nine graduate degree programs—including Minnesota’s first program for physician assistants—in addition to its more than 50 undergraduate degree programs.

“Becoming Augsburg University does not change our dedication to our liberal arts mission or our commitment to being small to our students and big for the world,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow.

“As we lean into our reality as a university, we will continue our drive toward the intentional diversity for which we are known. We will ensure we are student-ready and can provide those of academic ability with opportunities for hands-on learning, undergraduate research, international study, and internships so that all Auggies are prepared to share their gifts and talents with the world.”

The name change decision was made after a thorough review that included conducting market research, studying the process and impact of name changes by other institutions, and holding open dialogue sessions with a broad set of stakeholders, including students, alumni, faculty, staff, and regents.

More information about the change is at augsburg.edu/university.

About Augsburg: Augsburg offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and the Rochester site. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Campus Photo: Download a photo of campus at http://web.augsburg.edu/marcomm/augsburg_minneapolis_skyline.jpg

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Statement: President Pribbenow, Provost Kaivola on Executive Orders by President Donald J. Trump

(MINNEAPOLIS) — On Monday, January 30, Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow and Provost Karen Kaivola issued a statement to College students, faculty, and staff about recent executive orders issued by President Donald J. Trump related to immigration and to undocumented/DACA students. Below is the statement the President and Provost issued.

 

Dear Augsburg Community,

We are deeply troubled by the recent Presidential executive orders on immigration: they run counter to the values of this institution and of our nation. We do not accept the intolerance which the new immigration policies promote. Augsburg’s history is rich with the contribution of individuals who came to America; indeed, founded by Norwegian immigrants, Augsburg has an immigrant sensibility and will stand firm in the face of threats to our community and our immigrant neighbors.

We write today to affirm our commitment to provide a safe learning and working environment with equitable access to education for all members of our campus community. We will not back down on that commitment. We will use all the resources at our disposal to ensure that you complete your degrees, can come to and from work safely, and can thrive as valued members of our community.  Your well-being is our priority.

Augsburg is a community that cares deeply about our students, staff and faculty.  Many members of our campus community are impacted by these actions. We are focused intently on the educational and work experience of our students, staff, and faculty, their lives in the world and their promise. We have a long-standing commitment to hospitality and justice and we will resist changes that run against our values. We will not stand by and allow our values to be trodden upon. It’s a personal commitment we make and it is one shared by all of us at Augsburg. We live it out every day. We don’t step backward, we step forward, and we are proud of this community because of that.

These values are central to how we will respond in support of students who are affected by changes in undocumented and immigration status. We will double down on our commitments to hospitality and justice, to supporting our students’ success and to keeping them safe. We will advocate at the state and federal level for policies that support all of our students.

Continue reading “Statement: President Pribbenow, Provost Kaivola on Executive Orders by President Donald J. Trump”

Interfaith activist Chris Stedman ’08 returns to Augsburg

Previously a Humanist chaplain at Harvard and Yale, Stedman now a Sabo Fellow

Chris Stedman(MINNEAPOLIS) — Interfaith activist and author Chris Stedman ‘08 joins Augsburg College as a fellow of the Martin O. Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship where he will facilitate and build new community partnerships for non-religious and interfaith civic engagement. Stedman also will consult on the development of interfaith engagement programs at Augsburg.

“We are excited to welcome Chris back to Augsburg where his interfaith work began nearly a decade ago as an undergraduate,” said Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow. “Chris returns to us a successful author and a national leader and thinker on the Humanist movement. His work as a Sabo Fellow is testament to our commitment to interfaith dialogue so needed in our ever-diversifying society.”

Stedman’s work with the Sabo Center comes at an important time in Minnesota given the state’s rapidly increasing diversity of faiths combined with the growing number of “nones,” also known as religiously unaffiliated, and the nonreligious. According to Pew Research Center, 23 percent of adults as of 2015 identified as “nones.” Continue reading “Interfaith activist Chris Stedman ’08 returns to Augsburg”

Apple’s Steve Wozniak Speaks Feb. 18 at Augsburg

Diverse Public Events Designed to Create Engaging Conversations

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak(MINNEAPOLIS) — Augsburg College during January and February is hosting a wide range of campus events that are open to the public and designed to create meaningful dialogue among students, faculty, staff and the greater community on issues shaping our world.

Free, public events include:

  • 1 p.m., Jan. 16: Nekima Levy-Pounds on “Renewing King’s Call for Social Justice, Equity, and Inclusion, In An Age of Demagoguery”
  • 7 p.m., Jan. 23: Hope Jahren, author of “Lab Girl,” on “Twenty Things that Everyone Should Know About Global Change”
  • 11 a.m., Jan. 24: Hope Jahren, author of “Lab Girl,” on “Be as a Tree Planted by the Waters: The Magic of Roots, Leaves, and Everything in Between”
  • 10 a.m., Feb. 10: Carolyn Finney, author of “Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors”
  • 8 a.m., Feb. 21: Chris Farrell of Minnesota Public Radio, in partnership with Augsburg College, hosts “Global Food in a Farm-to-Table World.” Free tickets are available online at https://augsburg.universitytickets.com/w/event.aspx?id=1267&cid=163&p=1

The above events are in Augsburg College’s Hoversten Chapel in Foss Center, 625 22nd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55454

At 11:15 a.m., Feb. 18, the College welcomes Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, Inc.

About Augsburg College: Augsburg College offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and its site in Rochester, Minn. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

Media Contact: Stephanie Weiss, director of news and media services, 612.330.1476

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