Letter from University of Minnesota president to Rep. Betty McCollum
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Twin Cities Campus Of?ce of the President 202 Merrill Hall
100 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0110
August 1, 2014
Representative Betty McCollum
United States House of Representatives
165 Western Avenue North, Suite #17
St. Paul, Minnesota 55102
Dear Representative McCollum:
Thank you for sending me a copy of your letter to the Minnesota Vikings asking the team
to urge leadership of the Washington NFL franchise to change its mascot and name. I agree that
the current name is offensive and should be replaced.
The University of Minnesota is committed to nurturing a work and learning environment
that is free from discrimination and harassment. As you noted in your letter, the University of
Minnesota policy Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and A?rmative Action expresses our
commitment to strive toward a University of Minnesota community that is free from racism,
sexism, ableism, and homophobia, as well as other forms of identity-based bias. It is a high
priority of mine that we continue to work toward this goal and maintain a variety of resources
across campus to address individual and collective concerns about bias and discrimination.
According to the facility use agreement between the University of Minnesota and the
Minnesota Vikings, we do not have speci?c authority over NFL team behaviors or the Minnesota
Vikings schedule. Nevertheless, we recognize the challenges associated with having Washington
compete at TCF Bank Stadium and are in discussions with the Vikings about how to mitigate our
collective concerns. First, we are working with the Vikings to make every effort to eliminate the
use of Washington?s team name in promotional and game date materials and public address
announcements. They are participating in ongoing discussions with the University and the
American Indian community to ensure a peaceful, positive and safe event for fans while also
providing space for protest and expression.
In addition, November is Native American Heritage Month. We are working with the
American Indian community and our students, faculty, and staff to develop positive educational
events during the week prior to the game. We would also like to work with you to create more
awareness and understanding of this issue leading up to the Washington game and going forward.
My of?ce will reach out to your staff to discuss these plans further.
Thank you for sharing your letter to the Vikings. I look forward to working with you on
this and other shared priorities.
Eric W. Kaler
cc: Richard Beeson, chair, Board of Regents, University of Minnesota