MCSA President testifies before MN House Higher Education Committee

Morris Campus Student Association President Dylan Young, 23, was one of three University of Minnesota student union representatives to appear before the House Finance and Higher Education Policy Committee on Wednesday 16 February.

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

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

“I would wonder why an institution that once did so much harm to communities like mine should be allowed to operate today, even if it is not in its current form. Why not bury the past and move on? I especially hated the Multi-Ethnic Resource Center (MRC), the only building left on campus from the boarding school days.

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

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

But Young noted that the MRC building is not accessible, which means “there is a very visible structural barrier that prevents our students from enjoying the cross-cultural competence that is essential to the Morris experience.”

Young concluded that the MRC “is symbolic of why maintaining and preserving our historic campus is so important. Morris’ past cannot be undone, but the present and our future are still being written and I am here today to ask for your help in writing this.

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

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