Minnesota regent apologizes for remark on campus diversity

Published 8:53 am Thursday, October 20, 2022

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MINNEAPOLIS — The vice chairman of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents has apologized for questioning whether declining enrollment at one college is due to its diversity.

Steve Sviggum said in a statement issued late Tuesday that he’s willing to learn and must do better, referring to his comment about falling student numbers at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Sviggum said during a board meeting last week that he has received a couple letters from friends who decided not to attend Morris because it is “too diverse.” He said the prospective students “just didn’t feel comfortable there.”

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The release Tuesday from the board’s public relations office said Sviggum was “truly sorry” to those he offended. He added that his question was meant to encourage discussion about the enrollment, which is down 50% from its peak.

“Let me unequivocally apologize for my questions, and especially for the unintended hurt my questions may have caused,” he wrote. “They were not intended to cause harm, but my intent does not matter.”

Morris currently has 1,068 students enrolled. Of those, 54% are white and 32% are Native American. Overall, 41% are Black, Indigenous and people of color.