MnSCU awards grants for diversity and anti-racism projects

Posted: September 8, 2003

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

Community groups, campuses collaborating on projects

Eight community-based projects will receive grants to participate in a Diversity and Anti-Racism Initiative spearheaded by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System with funding from the Otto Bremer Foundation.

The projects will be led by teams of college and university students, faculty and staff, and representatives from communities of color, K-12 education, law enforcement, business and community organizations. Each project was awarded a $7,500 grant.

"We are excited about the innovative ways these projects bring together communities and campuses to help achieve one of our top strategic goals - to increase access and opportunity," said Chancellor James H. McCormick of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

"Our colleges and universities are reaching out to Minnesota's increasingly diverse population, and we want all students to be welcomed warmly by the campuses and their communities and to have successful educational experiences," McCormick said.

The three-year initiative by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities addresses issues related to social justice, racism, economic justice and human rights.

"As the state's largest public higher education system, we have a special responsibility to help create campus communities that are truly accessible to our diverse populations," said Dolores Fridge, associate vice chancellor for equal opportunity and diversity for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

The eight projects, and their sponsoring colleges and universities, are:

Century College and Metropolitan State University: The Economic Equality and English for Speakers of Other Languages project will focus on the pursuit of economic justice. The college will work with corporate leaders in finance and health care to mentor and support people for whom English is not their native language as they enter the workforce.

Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College: The Dakota County Anti-Racism Partnership, including K-12 districts, businesses and area Chambers of Commerce, will facilitate anti-racism training sessions and follow-up "community conversations" to better understand and communicate with minority groups.

Minnesota State University, Mankato: The collaboration includes South Central College and civic, educational, economic development and refugee groups. The project will develop a core of trainers to provide ongoing diversity training for the campuses, businesses, community agencies and residents of southern Minnesota.

Minnesota State University Moorhead and Minnesota State Community and Technical College: The Seeking Education Equity and Diversity Mentorship Program will launch a mentorship project with the Moorhead Public Schools and community organizations to improve academic success and retention of traditionally under-represented students.

Minnesota West Community and Technical College: The Kids College project, based on the college's Worthington campus, will reach out to community minority students and first-generation college-bound students.

Ridgewater College: The Creating Inclusive Communities project, including the West Central Integration Collaborative and Willmar Vision 2020, will provide two minority liaison positions at the college to serve as a multicultural resource for minority residents, the college and area students in seventh through 12th grades.

Riverland Community College: The project, Building Community: An Equity and Diversity Initiative, will address diversity and racism issues in rural communities by training employees from college, law enforcement, courts, social services, schools, business and industry.

Rochester Community and Technical College: The project to address "white privilege" is a collaboration between the University Center Rochester and community organizations, K-12 schools, law enforcement and the Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association. Speakers, panel discussions, curriculum development and theater will be used to raise awareness and bring about a commitment to changing how people of color are treated in the community.

The grants recipients were chosen by a 20-person Otto Bremer Grant Committee composed of faculty, staff, administration and union representatives throughout the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.