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COVID-19: Fall 2020 plans and student resources ›

Augsburg Central Health Commons Director Blogs About Racial Inequities and Public Health

Kathleen ClarkKathleen Clark, an assistant professor in Augsburg University’s Department of Nursing, was a recent guest contributor to the blogs on NurseManifest and Nursology.

Clark’s post on NurseManifest, “The aftermath of George Floyd’s death: How 8 minutes + 46 seconds affected the health of a community,” reflects on how Minneapolis communities came together following Floyd’s killing. She calls on nurses to use their power “to support and create change in the communities where we are called to care.” In her Nursology post, “Struggling to Find Air: Emancipatory Nursing Response to COVID-19,” she shares stories of nurses pursuing social justice as they respond to the needs of marginalized communities affected by COVID-19 and the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

NurseManifest was established 20 years ago to raise awareness, inspire action, and open discussion of issues that are vital to nursing and health care around the globe. provides access to “nursing knowledge development in order to facilitate advancement of nursing science and humanistic initiatives.”  

MSNBC interviews international student Jonas Bergmann about ICE deportation plans

Student Jonas on MSNBCAugsburg international student Jonas Bergmann was interviewed by MSNBC to share his reaction to plans to deport international students taking an online course load in the fall. Bergmann is an international student from Denmark and is part of an Augsburg team that helps international students have a smooth transition to university life in the United States.

Bergmann, who’s majoring in clinical psychology and gender studies, wondered why now, though the administration soon after this interview dropped the deportation plan. Augsburg plans a mix of on-campus and alternative format classes.

Watch the full interview at the MSNBC website.

Augsburg’s EAST Program Director Audrey Lensmire interviewed by Sahan Journal about the program’s work to increase East African educators

EAST scholarsAs Minnesota gains its first Somali public school principals, an Augsburg University program is actively helping to increase East African educators here.

Located in Minneapolis’ largely Somali Cedar–Riverside neighborhood, Augsburg’s East African Student to Teacher (EAST) program is committed to recruiting, retaining, and licensing highly qualified East African students who wish to become K-12 teachers. EAST covers tuition costs towards initial licensure.

“In a relatively short time, we’ve been able to multiply the number of educators of East African descent in the state of Minnesota from a handful to a bit of a larger handful,” EAST Program Director Audrey Lensmire told the Sahan Journal. Lensmire is an associate professor in the education department.


Read the full article at the Sahan Journal website.

Learn more about Augsburg’s EAST program.


Reporting Sexual Misconduct

Augsburg University logoContent Warning: Sexual Assault

In light of recent inquiries Augsburg has received as well as forthcoming changes to U.S. Department of Education requirements for the ways colleges and universities investigate and address accusations of sexual misconduct, Augsburg is reiterating its current process for reporting and investigating such conduct.

Augsburg University takes allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously. The following information is not all encompassing; it’s intended to be a brief introduction and/or reminder about Augsburg’s policies and procedures for responding to reports of misconduct and violence. Additional information can be found on the Student Affairs website.

How to file a report
Anyone who experiences or is aware of an incident of sexual misconduct is strongly encouraged to share the information with the university and to seek support.

If you or someone you know would like to report sexual misconduct, you may do so by filling out this form. The form goes immediately to Katie Bishop, chief student success officer and Title IX coordinator, and Sarah Griesse, dean of students.

What happens when a report is filed
When a report is filed, Augsburg initiates a process to gather information about the incident, including meeting with students. When appropriate, a disciplinary meeting is held. As needed, Augsburg may put in place interim measures to promote safety and access to the school for the parties named in the report until the investigation has been resolved. In many cases, those who submit a report as a third party about conduct in which they were not personally involved will not learn the specifics of how the report was investigated or the outcome because of legal protections for the privacy of students involved.

Immediate support
If you are in need of immediate support, Augsburg partners with the University of Minnesota’s Aurora Center to provide confidential sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence support to the Augsburg community (students, staff, faculty, and concerned others).
Phone support: call 612-626-9111 (24/7) to talk to a trained advocate.
Walk-in support and appointments are available from Aurora Center’s professional staff during their business hours.
On your request, Augsburg’s Department of Public Safety can support you in getting connected to the Aurora Center (24/7, call 612-330-1717).

Additional support is available through other providers:
24/7 support through the Sexual Violence Center, a member of the TransYouth Support Network, at 612-871-5111.
Isuroon, an organization focused on connecting and supporting East Afrikan women.

Professor Michael J. Lansing Provides Media with Historical Perspective on Racial Injustice in Minneapolis

Michael Lansing
Michael Lansing

Michael J. Lansing, associate professor and chair of Augsburg University’s Department of History, has been featured in news sources from around the United States since his May 26, 2020, Twitter thread, offering a historical perspective on racial injustices in Minneapolis, went viral.

Among the places where he has shared his expertise to explain the history leading up to the killing of George Floyd are The Washington Post, where his perspective piece, “Will Minneapolis learn from the failed handling of its last uprising?” was published on May 30; MinnPost, for which he co wrote the June 1 piece, “Is Minneapolis prepared to dismantle—not just acknowledge—structural racism?”; the Minnesota Reformer, where he was featured in the article “Twin Cities historian Michael Lansing on why this is happening,” published on June 1; and U.S. News & World Report, which quoted him in a June 4 story “The ‘Minnesota paradox’: A state grapples with stark racial disparities.”

Lansing and Augsburg also were given a brief nod in the editor’s note by Scott Carlson for a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. In the note, Carlson writes, “I am heartened by seeing my old friend Michael J. Lansing, a history professor at Augsburg University, take to Twitter and to local and national newspapers to bring context to the legacy of race and policing in the Twin Cities. We need colleges that support work like this.”

Augsburg University Launches Justice for George Floyd Initiatives

A new Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies department and a requirement that all faculty and staff complete diversity, Augsburg University logoequity, and inclusion training are among efforts at Augsburg University to combat systemic racism after the police killing of George Floyd near our Minneapolis campus. 

“We acknowledge the pain, fear, and trauma faced by the Augsburg community, especially our students, faculty, and staff of color, that was amplified in recent weeks but remains a lived reality every day,” said Paul Pribbenow, the university’s president.

The Justice for George Floyd Initiatives being planned are an important continuation of our ongoing work to build and maintain an equitable and inclusive campus. This work by Augsburg will be persistent, resolute, courageous, and integrated into everything the university does. The Justice for George Floyd Initiatives focus on working to heal our community, creating leadership and structures that make tangible change, and ensuring accountability for the work of undoing racist systems. These initiatives include:  

  • Funding an emerging proposal from faculty, staff, and students for a Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies department.
  • Completion by all faculty and staff of our robust diversity and inclusion certificate program within the next two years—and anti-racist training by the end of the fall semester.
  • Creating a scholarship at Augsburg in memory of George Floyd.
  • Establishing a fund to match donations from students, faculty, and staff to organizations doing important work, especially for Black-owned businesses and nonprofit organizations.
  • Expecting new accountability for inclusive, anti-racist leadership across the institution. 
  • Reviewing Augsburg’s major academic and administrative policies and practices with a special focus on undoing bias and discrimination and enhancing student success.
  • Creating a new blog-format daily calendar on the Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Department webpage that lists community events and volunteer opportunities connected to the memory of George Floyd. The calendar will also have a Google form available for Augsburg community members to submit information about their own events, or events they wish to have added.

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. 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. Learn more at

Professor Bill Green Shares Expertise in KARE 11 Story on the 1920 Duluth Lynchings

Following the death of George Floyd, KARE 11 reporter Boyd Huppert put the event in perspective for those who were shocked that such a thing could happen in Minnesota, noting that on June 15, 1920, a mob in Duluth lynched three young black circus workers. One of Huppert’s sources was Bill Green, professor of history at Augsburg University.

Speaking about a graphic photo of the lynching, Green encouraged Minnesotans to look at the picture. He commented on how the smiles on the faces of the white men who participated in the lynching impacted him. “It’s almost like they were sportsmen who’d gone off and fished; this is their catch,” he said. He believes that the current moment “is an opportunity for us to prove ourselves.”

Green is author of two books on race and civil rights in Minnesota, “A Peculiar Imbalance: The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Early Minnesota” and “Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1912.” 

Congratulations to Auggies named to the Spring Semester Dean’s List

University SealMore than 1,000 Augsburg University undergraduate students were named to the 2020 Spring Semester Dean’s List. The Augsburg University Dean’s List recognizes those full-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and those part-time students who have achieved a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in a given term.

View the 2020 Spring Semester Dean’s List.

Students who wish to notify their hometown newspapers of their achievement can do so at their discretion using a news announcement template.

Statement from Paul Pribbenow May 31 About Temporary Relocation of Resident Students

Augsburg University logoAfter the unsafe events Friday night in Minneapolis, we made the decision to temporarily close residence halls on campus and relocate resident students outside of the metro area if they did not have alternative places to stay. That Saturday morning, it was not clear whether Saturday night would be a repeat of Friday, so we made an alternative housing option available outside the Twin Cities for students—including providing meals and transportation in compliance with our COVID-19 protocols. 

While this alternative provided safe housing for students, we understand some students felt they needed to remain in the Twin Cities and support their community. We recognize this, and yet our first responsibility was to provide for the safety of our students in a volatile, unpredictable situation—and we had to make arrangements very quickly, which presented additional challenges. I want to recognize the extraordinary work of our Student Affairs and Residence Life team who worked diligently to reach our 100+ resident students. They again reached out today to provide housing options and transportation to those students for this evening. I also want to recognize the ongoing and resilient leadership of the Augsburg Day Student Government, who took it upon themselves to provide information and clarification about the resident student relocation after misinformation was posted on social media. In times like these, to see students step up like this, truly shows just how Augsburg pulls together.

Augsburg issues student emergency aid from federal coronavirus relief legislation

(Updated: July 7, 2020)

Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Augsburg is issuing $700 of relief Augsburg University logofunding to day undergraduate students and $275 of relief funding to graduate and adult undergraduate students enrolled in the spring semester 2020. The U.S. Department of Education has directed that these funds be paid directly to students and did not allow the funds to be distributed using the university’s student accounts system, so the payments will be delivered to students via emailed digital checks, using their email address. 

The funding for the relief payments comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provision of the federal CARES Act. Under this provision, Augsburg was allocated approximately $1.62 million of emergency stimulus funds by the U.S. Department of Education to distribute directly to students for expenses (including technology, course materials, food, housing, health care, or child care) specifically related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Universities were encouraged to prioritize students with the greatest need as well as ensure that the funds are distributed as widely as possible across the student body. In order for Augsburg to ensure the funds were distributed to students with demonstrated need, Augsburg designated the funds to students who completed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as of May 1. Augsburg established the two payment levels of $700 and $275 based on the higher average need profile among students in the day undergraduate program as compared with that of students in the graduate and adult undergraduate programs.

May 21 (first 30 day report) 

Augsburg University acknowledges that it has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. $1,629,621 of funds have been allocated to Augsburg University from the DOE pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. No funds have been received or distributed by Augsburg as of this date.

July 7 (first 45 day report)

$1,380,225 of Emergency Financial Aid Grants were distributed on May 28 to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. 2,526 students at Augsburg University are eligible to participate in the federal student financial aid programs under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and thus are eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. All 2,526 students have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant at Augsburg University under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.