The University of Minnesota, in a moment of clarity and sanity, decided this week to ignore students complaining about Islamophobia and honor the dead killed on 9/11/2001 with a moment of silence on 9/11/2016.
The brouhaha was launched when Theo Menon, a Minnesota Student Association representative and member of the College Republicans, brought a resolution before the Minnesota Student Association on October 6 to offer a “moment of recognition” on the anniversary of the massacre. The resolution read simply:
Whereas, the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, still have a lasting effect on students and staff, Whereas, the events of that date are of immeasurable importance to the world we live in today, Whereas, There is currently no recognition of this event(s) on the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus,
Therefore, be it resolved, That the Minnesota Student Association formally recommends to the University of Minnesota Administration that there be a moment of recognition on September 11th and all years following.
The resolution made no mention of Muslims or Islam, but that didn’t stop at-large MSA representative and Director of Diversity and Inclusion David Algadi from writing, “The passing of this resolution might make a space that is unsafe for students on campus even more unsafe. Islamophobia and racism fueled through that are alive and well.” He added, “When will we start having moments of silence for all of the times white folks have done something terrible?”
The student government representatives voted against Menon’s resolution 36-23, but a firestorm of criticism broke out, prompting UNM President Eric Kaler to proclaim on Wednesday that he would formalize the moment of silence, allowing, “We certainly did hear from folks on this.” Evan Lapiska, a spokesperson for UNM, added, “Dean Johnson and President Kaler wanted to make sure that the folks were aware that the U is committed to honoring the victims.”