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An Education in Diversity
What is going right and what is going wrong at St. Cloud State? Have you seen similar issues at other schools? Share your opinion

VITAL STATISTICS: How St. Cloud State compares to MSU, Mankato

Full-time student enrollment
•St. Cloud State: 12,671
•Minnesota State University, Mankato: 11,600

People of color - St. Cloud State*
•Faculty: 15 percent
•Administrators: 23 percent
•Support staff: 10 percent
•Students: 4.5 percent

People of color - MSU, Mankato*
•Faculty: 10.3 percent
•Administrators: 7 percent
•Support staff: 2 percent
•Students: 4.9 percent

Students of color - St. Cloud State
•International: 923
•U.S. citizens: 572

SCSU faculty diversity
•American Indian: 7
•Asian: 54
•Black: 23
•Hispanic: 18
•White: 545
•Unknown race: 23
•Male: 398
•Female: 272

MnSCU faculty grievances
•Pending, SCSU: 14
•Past five years, SCSU: n/a
•Pending, MSU, Mankato: 2
•Past five years, MSU, Mankato: fewer than 10

Lawsuits filed against SCSU
•Past five years: 10
•Discrimination-related: 9
•Settled, of these: 3
•Won by SCSU: 5
•Lost by SCSU: 0
•In progress: 1

Affirmative action investigations at SCSU, 1996-2001
•Total: 141
•Resolved informally: 21
•Open investigations: 1
•Other/unknown: 119

(All data as of April, 2002. Sources: SCSU, MSU, Mankato, MnSCU, Inter-Faculty Organization)
(* - may be calculated differently)

St. Cloud State University continues to make news on discrimination, racism and diversity. Just this spring, a professor who criticized anti-Semitism in their department received anthrax-hoax letters; three professors sent an open letter asking blacks to think twice before enrolling; a federal judge refused to throw out a discrimination lawsuit headed for trial in the fall; and in a survey, students said by a wide margin that race and diversity issues were the most important challenge facing the campus. Officials, meanwhile, look toward the day SCSU can leave its ugly reputation in the past.

"It's just a shunning experience."
In early March, high school guidance counselors around the Twin Cities opened an unsettling piece of mail. The letter was from three black professors at St. Cloud State. It claimed a pattern of discrimination on campus, and contained one particularly stunning phrase: that St. Cloud and St. Cloud State University "can be hazardous for black people."
By Jeff Horwich
Read | Listen

"I think that people are pained."
Some of the most publicized troubles have been in the history department, where two professors and a student say the school failed to address their complaints. Critics say the affirmative action process is unresponsive. Administrators say faculty often have unrealistic expectations, and turn too quickly to the press and the courts to solve their problems.
By Jeff Horwich
Read | Listen

"We're going to solve these issues."
University officials say real change is underway, from studies to task forces to a new affirmative action investigator. They hope to help the school shake its troubled reputation. Critics respond that many of the changes are cosmetic, and plan to continue their protests, complaints and lawsuits.
By Jeff Horwich
Read | Listen

From the MPR archive:
St. Cloud State sued over treatment of Jews(October 17, 2001)
Mainstreet Radio Special: Diversity in St. Cloud (May, 1999)

For more information:
St. Cloud State Statement of Nondiscrimination and Diversity
SCSU's program to combat racism and enhance racial diversity (updated Jan., 2002)
SCSU Affirmative Action Office
Report of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Feb. 5, 2002)
State Senate hearing on anti-Semitism allegations at SCSU (Nov., 2001)

Roy Saigo, president of St. Cloud State
"We've started to change the culture of this institution, but changing the culture is difficult and time-consuming."

Semya Hakim, co-chair, Faculty of Color caucus
"I bring up an idea and it gets dismissed. Then a white person says the same thing and it's like, 'Oh, yeah, that's a good idea.'"

Cory Lawrence, American Indian Student Association
"More support programs for Native students would help keep more of them here. Since I've come here, I've seen probably half the Native population come and go."

Dan Martinez, MECHA (Chicano/Latino student organization)
"It's not only an African-American also affects all students of color. I'd say the fact that there are so few of us here really helps unite us."

Steven Silberfarb, president, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas
"My sense is that this is a multiple alarm fire, but exactly who is the arsonist is hard to tell."

Bill Turner, history professor, specialist in GLBT studies
"Complaints about racism gain a perch, they have legs, insofar as there is this consistent problem of capriciousness in the institution."

Becky Rothmeier, co-chair, Student Coalition Against Racism
"We do think that there are serious issues and people should investigate. But we also want people to come and be working on this issues with us."