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MCSA president testifies before MN House Higher Ed committee

Author: 
Sue Dieter
Publication date: 
February 18, 2022

Native American student with banner reading Minnesota House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee University of Minnesota student association presentations

Morris Campus Student Association President Dylan Young, ‘23, was one of three representatives from University of Minnesota student associations to present before the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 16.  

 

Appearing before the committee via Zoom, Young focused his comments on the impact of the Multi-Ethnic Resource Center on him as a student. 

 

Young shared that he is Lakota from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of Parmelee, South Dakota, and spent his freshman year at Morris trying to reconcile the history of the campus as an Indian boarding school with his present experience as a student.  

 

“I would ask myself, why should an institution that once did so much damage to communities such as my own, be allowed to function today, even if it is not in its current form. Why not bury the past and move on? I especially disliked the Mulit-Ethnic Resource Center (MRC), the only remaining building on campus from the boarding school era.”

 

The MRC is the main hub for some of the departments and student organizations that impacted Young as a Morris student, including the Native American Student Success program and the Circle of Nations Indigenous Association (CNIA). 

 

My peer mentoring and time as CNIA co-chair are two experiences that have shaped me into a leader and turned this lost, confused and angry kid from the reservation into Morris's student body president. I never thought something like that was possible. And it's all thanks to my experiences as a Morris campus student.”

 

But Young noted that the MRC building is not accessible, meaning “there is a very visible structural barrier preventing our students from appreciating the intercultural competence that is essential to the Morris experience.”

 

Young concluded that the MRC “is symbolic of the reason that maintaining and preserving our historic campus is so important. Morris' past cannot be undone, but the now and our future are still being written and I'm here today to ask you for your help in writing that.”

Video of the entire committee meeting can be viewed at https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hjvid/92/895347