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U of M regents to discuss building name changes

President Eric Kaler of the University of Minnesota is seen in this Feb. 21, 2018 photo. Don Davis / Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Friday to discuss and possibly act on proposed name changes for four buildings on the Twin Cities campus.

President Eric Kaler has recommended scrubbing buildings named for Lotus Coffman, Walter Coffey, Edward Nicholson and William Middlebrook, citing the former university leaders’ racism or anti-Semitism while in office.

But several regents expressed opposition at a meeting in early March, raising doubt as to whether any building will be renamed.

Some claimed a 125-page academic report on the former leaders’ contributions and faults was unfair or asked that the men’s descendants be given a chance to defend their actions.

The March meeting was cut short for time, leaving the report’s authors without an opportunity to respond to the criticism.

The Faculty Consultative Committee later requested a special regents meeting dedicated to the subject.

A meeting notice for 1 p.m. Friday meeting says the purpose is “consideration and potential action” on the building names.

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