The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder highlighted Augsburg University students Arianna Jones, Camille McCoy, Tamara McLenore, Camryn Speese, and Kaezha Wubben, who at their Nov. 19 game against University of Wisconsin-Superior made history after becoming the first five African-American starters at a college basketball game in Minnesota, the story said. The writer described the twelve women of color on the team of 19 as the “diverse dozen.”
“In the MIAC there’s not many of us out there playing. A lot of them are sitting on the bench.” said starter Speese, in the article. “I’ve been here since the beginning…making it a point of getting people of color at our school, which is the most diverse school in the MIAC.”
Augsburg History Professor Bill Green was interviewed by Prairie Public about his new book “The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860-1876.”
Green has published articles, op-ed pieces, and book chapters on history, law, and education, and he has previously published books on race and civil rights in Minnesota history. He also has served as a past president of the Minneapolis Public Schools.
After 100 days of traveling and studying the Mississippi River, students returned to Minnesota on Dec. 2.
The group had a welcome back celebration on Dec. 6 at Augsburg’s Marshall Room. They shared their experiences, showed videos, and even sang. Kristy Ornelas, one of the 15 participating River Semester students, documented the group’s semester-long journey is a series of five videos uploaded to her YouTube channel. In these videos, students share their day-to-day life during the second River Semester. The first was in 2015.
“The fact that we’ve been able to spend 100 days together in a really small tight-knit group is nothing I’ve ever done and the challenge and rewards of this experience is nothing I could ever imagine,” said student Spoir Delmain, in the video titled “What a Wonderful World.”
“I think family is the best way to know how to call our group, and I feel that way because we take care of each other in different ways. We’ve learned how to support each other, cheer each other on, or cry on each other’s shoulders,” Delmain said.
Augsburg University students spent November 17 handing out jackets, blankets, children’s toys, and hot lunch to families in need at a homeless encampment near Augsburg. “It’s basically in our backyard for our school and I think that helping the community is a really big thing for me,” student Tyler Johnson told a reporter. This day of service was initiated by Augsburg student Inam Al-Hammouri, then other students quickly joined, including many members of the men’s soccer team.
“Cooking a hot lunch and serving it to hungry families out in the cold is not something most college kids would do on a Saturday, but these youth at Augsburg University are not just your average students,” said Fox 9 reporter Christina Palladino. “The students believe it is their responsibility to take action and empower their generation to build bridges to those less fortunate.” The students said they plan to organize more days of service, especially now that temperatures are dropping.
Former Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice and Vikings player Alan Page was one of seven to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. Page’s charitable work through the Page Education Foundation has helped many students of color like Robert Harper ’16 succeed in their careers. Harper spoke with Kare 11 about how the work of Alan Page impacted his life.
“He has made me want to stay true to my passion and stay grounded in social justice work. When I came out of college I was applying to less meaningful jobs. I am a second-year graduate student at Humphrey School of Public Affairs studying public policy. That is a decision I did make with Alan,” Harper said. “He always says, ‘Make sure you hold the door open for the person behind you. Make sure you send the elevator back down.’ ”
Reinaldo Moya’s “The Way North” tells the story of a Central American migrant making a journey to the United States through Mexico, leaving everything behind. Moya is a Composition Assistant Professor at Augsburg University and was recently featured in a Star Tribune article about “The Way North,” the main work on Minneapolis pianist Matthew McCright’s new album.
“I got a grant from the State Arts Board. Reinaldo and I had been talking about what we might do for the project.” McCright said. “We came up with the idea of immigration — a very rough idea in the beginning, of a migrant journey to the United States.”
Earlier in September, Lansing was featured in “The Rise and Fall of the Nonpartisan League,” a documentary series from Prairie Public Television (North Dakota). In 2015, Lansing published his book Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics, then served as an advisor for the series.
(Updated 2 p.m. December 4. This post will be updated as new information is available.)
On October 31, Augsburg leadership received bias claim reports related to a classroom incident and immediately set in motion the university’s process for investigating such situations.
As part of that review, individuals who submitted non-anonymous reports were invited to have further conversations. To date, meetings with more than 30 individuals have taken place. That process is still underway. Augsburg’s policies and due process require engagement and input from parties directly involved, and we are committed to following these established review practices. No final decisions relative to the specific classroom incident will be taken until the review is complete.
Throughout this process, Augsburg is committed to supporting students’ academic success. Augsburg leadership recognizes that these recent issues have raised important questions about inclusiveness at Augsburg more generally. These questions will not be ignored.
A variety of institution-wide efforts are underway—including student-led initiatives, faculty-led discussions, and more. Plans are in development for dedicating time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January for workshops and intercultural competence development. Augsburg’s Chief Academic Officer has also charged a team of faculty, students, and Multicultural Student Services staff to review specific program areas relative to Augsburg’s equity commitment. That commitment, approved by the Augsburg Board of Regents in April 2018, states that “Augsburg must fully embrace the challenge of being the institution its students need today, creating culturally relevant learning spaces and opportunities that build students’ agency to lead change at Augsburg and in their communities.”
“We know that the work of fostering an inclusive learning environment is ongoing, and we are fully committed to it,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “We are grateful to the students, faculty, and staff who have spoken courageously to raise campus awareness, who have engaged in actively listening to the issues being expressed, and who have called for changes that advance our equity work. Augsburg will address this important topic like it has many other critical issues in our 150-year history: We will acknowledge and engage the topic, not shrink from it, and work together to make the university better.”
Technology has become a powerful tool for many educators. Many agree it makes learning more fun and engaging, while other educators such as Augsburg University Professor of Sociology and Department Chair Diane Pike opt for a “tech free” classroom. Pike has restricted technology use in her classroom for 10 years now.
My goal is to have you not look at your phone for 70 minutes,” Pike told WCCO-TV. “The research is really clear that being on your phone in class is distracting.” Since implementing her tech-free zone, Pike has not had significant issues. She says her small class sizes, around 25 students, make it easier to manage.