Defend Ethnic and Gender Studies at University of Minnesota —Stop the Cuts Now!

Sign the petition to demand that these budget cuts are not allowed to happen: 

On Thursday, April 20th, the CLA Council of Chairs at the University of Minnesota reached out to UMN Students for a Democratic Society in concern about massive budget cuts to ethnic studies and gender and women’s studies departments that the University intends to make. These budget cuts would not only considerably limit the content available to all students, cutting courses and programs, but would also seriously endanger the jobs and livelihoods of faculty in these departments, if not threaten the existence of the departments as a whole. The budget cuts include: 50% cut to American Indian Studies; 30% cut to Chicano and Latino Studies; 30% cut to German, Nordic, Slavic, & Dutch languages; 27.5% cut to African and African American Studies; 22% cut to Linguistics; and 10% cut to Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. 

As a whole, Ethnic studies programs only exist at UMN because of the Morrill Hall Takeover: a Black-led student occupation of Morrill Hall which houses the office of the university president. Students fought for decades to establish ethnic studies programs and we will not give them up without a fight! Administration is attempting to place the burden of budget cuts onto students, staff, and faculty of color instead of cutting the six figure salaries of top administrators.

These budget cuts are also an attempt to erase Ethnic, Gender, and Indigenous Studies programs altogether and attack the enrollment and rights of Black, Chicano, Latino and Native students at the University. The scale of these budget cuts would not only lead to the firing of many non-tenured faculty and graduate assistants in many of these departments, but would further overwork the already overburdened remaining faculty.

National SDS has been pointedly combating attacks on ethnic studies, diversity programs, and student cultural centers happening across the country. One way that these attacks materialize is what we see happening in states like Florida and Texas where the existence of DEI programs is being directly threatened on a legislative level. In Tampa, our fellow SDS members were attacked by USF police officers and are facing felony charges and potential expulsion for protesting the financial gutting of the DEI office at USF. Another way we are seeing these attacks arise in “progressive” states is more subversive budget cuts on the university level that still end up gutting these programs. This can be seen in the massive cuts made by the University of Connecticut in which they are trying to combine all their ethnic studies departments into one.

We demand an immediate increase in budget and a prioritization for the continuation of ethnic studies and GWSS programs. We demand that these cuts be immediately halted, and that any cuts the University makes from their budget be made from the salaries of the overpaid top-administrators. Alongside the CLA Council of Chairs, we stand in solidarity with Black, Chicano, Latino, and Native students and faculty and demand that the work of these underfunded departments be seen as vital to the U of MN, just as it is the students that invest their time and money into studying them.

Facing these cuts, we – students, staff and faculty – will not give up, we will not back down, we will unite and fight back!

Defend Ethnic Studies! Defend Gender and Queer Studies! Defend Diversity Programs! Chop From the Top!

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