Laura J. Bloomberg, contender for the U of M presidency, visits the Twin Cities campus

Students cross the Washington Avenue bridge on the University of Minnesota campus between classes | Image Credit: mprnews.org

A presidential finalist participated in public discussions held by the University of Minnesota on Friday in the Twin Cities and Rochester.

Laura J. Bloomberg is the president of Cleveland State University in Ohio and alumna of the University of Michigan. Bloomberg held the positions of associate dean and dean at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in the Twin Cities prior to moving to Cleveland.

Laura J. Bloomberg | Image Credit: linkedin.com

Demonstrators supporting Palestine disrupted her conversation with Michael Rodriguez, dean and professor at the College of Education and Human Development, by yelling, “Free, free Palestine.”

Following their chanting, the tiny number of students left, only to meet with Bloomberg afterwards. At the open house following the event, the group and Bloomberg had a conversation at a table.

Throughout the event, Bloomberg covered a wide range of topics. These included labor unions, free speech on college campuses, and the demise of DEI (diversity, equality, and inclusion) programs across the nation.

“We fundamentally fail ourselves as a learning community if we do not seek to stand up diversity as a basic principle,” the speaker stated. And if we don’t prioritize equality above inclusion, we won’t ever have inclusion, therefore we can’t do that successfully. I simply think so.

“I think we have an imperative to attempt to understand what’s driving that pushback,” the speaker said, when such matters are “tested in our courts, or in our halls of legislatures and Congress.”

According to Bloomberg, a school’s core values shouldn’t be compromised by doing that.

The topics of free speech and academic freedom were among the first questions posed during the discussion.

“A university is greatest when it functions as a Petri dish of ideas, and ideas at their best frequently emerge at remark, the places of friction where we are debating concepts where we may or may not disagree,” the speaker stated. However, by expressing our whole thoughts, we increase our collective knowledge. And occasionally, that area is disputed.

According to Bloomberg, there is a strong commitment to academic freedom and free speech in addition to First Amendment rights.

“At our university, we also have things like behavior codes. We also need to safeguard those.”

On Monday, candidates for the U’s top position started touring the institution’s five campuses. James Holloway stopped by the Twin Cities campus for an open house, a public forum, and media interviews. At the University of New Mexico, he serves as vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Next week, finalist Rebecca Cunningham will make college visits. She is the University of Michigan’s vice president for innovation and research. Since 1999, Cunningham has taught at the U-M Schools of Public Health and Medicine.

Source:
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2024/02/16/u-of-m-presidential-finalist-laura-bloomberg-visits-twin-cities-campus


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