A timeline of the University of Minnesota's response to the murder of George Floyd
"Good officers who we have done business with in the past will now pay for the actions of bad officers on their force"
With an estimated population of 5,639,632, as of July 1, 2019, the state of Minnesota ranked 22nd nationally in terms of state population last year, according to the United States Census Bureau. For being such a large state, relatively speaking, Minnesota is an outlier because the University of Minnesota is the state’s only NCAA Division I institution (although, the University of St. Thomas, of Division III, recently received permission to make a two-division jump to Division I).
For reference, think about the college sports landscapes in Alabama (24th in the U.S. in estimated 2019 population) and Kentucky (26th). Those states both have fewer residents than Minnesota but each state has a major, in-state college rivalry – Alabama-Auburn and Kentucky-Louisville, respectively – plus other DI universities inside the state border.
Not only is the University of Minnesota the only DI school in Minnesota but it’s also located in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed on May 25.
That’s why the university’s response in the days and weeks after Floyd’s death is notable and worth examining.
In the words of University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, as written in an email on May 27 that was obtained by Out of Bounds, “The events of the last 48 hours in Minneapolis require our full attention. We are an integral part of every community in which we reside and our community is distraught.”
After Minnesota Student Association President Jael Kerandi addressed President Gabel by name, along with four other university leaders, in a letter that demanded for the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) to immediately end all relationships with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), President Gabel reduced the university’s relationship with the MPD.
Members of the Minneapolis Police Department will no longer be contracted for support during Minnesota home football games, among other large events and ceremonies, and the UMPD will now seek alternative law enforcement agencies that can provide special services, such as K-9 teams used for explosive detection.
Through public records requests, Out of Bounds obtained 1,372 pages of emails from the days following Floyd’s death that were sent to or from key members of the University of Minnesota’s leadership, including President Gabel, Vice President for University and Government Relations Matt Kramer, Chief Public Relations Officer Chuck Tombarge and Chief Government Relations Officer J.D. Burton, in order to tell the story of how the university responded to the Minneapolis Police Department after the killing of George Floyd, with words and more importantly, through actions.
Here are the highlights from the emails Out of Bounds obtained:
The story of University of Minnesota’s decision to reduce its ties with the Minneapolis Police Department cannot be told without mentioning the pressure from the Minnesota Student Association, namely President Jael Kerandi, who demanded to the university’s leadership that the UMPD end any relationships with the MPD immediately, and who asked for a reply to the demand within 24 hours.
Regarding the University of Minnesota’s decisions to not contract MPD officers for large events, such as football games, and to instruct the university police to first use alternative law enforcement agencies when specific skills (such as K-9 units) are needed, VP for University and Government Relations Matt Kramer wrote, “They are meaningful and will have impacts on us (including financial) but are the right thing to do.”
Brian Curtis, the president of the Paradigm Four consulting firm that works with universities and athletic departments, was involved in the editing of President Joan Gabel’s statements and multiple times he expressed concern about the university condemning the entire Minneapolis Police Department, rather than just the four officers who were present during George Floyd’s death.
In response to Curtis’s concerns, Kramer wrote, “This has been an issue now in the department for several years. Current MPD Union President is very much a ‘law and order’ cop and the culture is not likely to change until they make some wholesale leadership changes.”
Vice President for University Services Mike Berthelsen wrote in an email that he understood the objective of President Gabel’s statement but he wrote, “I would like to have the option to re-engage [with MPD] when appropriate.” Kramer responded, “The end date is essentially whenever we decide that the city of Minneapolis, and the MPD, have made sufficient structural change as to warrant use of their services. Their actions of late are beyond the pale and they will need to earn our trust and confidence as a customer. I don't see any change in the immediate future. Perhaps a year or so from now.”
Kramer wrote, “The intent is that we will no longer hire individual MPD officers. Good officers who we have done business with in the past will now pay for the actions of bad officers on their force. This creates internal pressure.”
After President Gabel released her statement, a city council member texted Director of Community and Local Government Relations Erick Luna, “That was the most blatantly political thing I’ve ever seen the University do.”
Out of Bounds compiled the following three-day timeline of key events within the University of Minnesota’s administration after George Floyd was killed on May 25.
Tuesday, May 26
9:42 p.m. CT, May 26: Minnesota Student Association President Jael Kerandi emails University of Minnesota administrators, including President Gabel, with the message, “I apologize for how late in the evening this communication is being shared, but I do believe it is time sensitive and pertinent. Please see attached. I hope you are all well. Rest in Power George Floyd.”
Attached was a letter from Kerandi, which is shown below.
Below her signature, she wrote, “A black woman.”
Click the image below to open it in a new window.
Some key lines from Kerandi’s letter read:
“George Floyd was murdered by the Minneapolis Police Department. Full stop. Regardless of the reason for his arrest, his death cannot be justified, and those who attempt to do so are part of the problem.”
“Black people have been killed by the Minneapolis Police Department at 13.2x the rate of white people. It is disgusting and unacceptable.”
“We have lost interest in discussion, community conversations, and ‘donut hours.’ We no longer wish to have a meeting or come to an agreement, there is no middle ground. The police are murdering black men with no meaningful repercussions. That is not a problem of some other place or some other time. That is happening right here in Minneapolis.”
“Therefore we clearly and without hesitation DEMAND that the University of Minnesota Police Department ceases any partnerships with the Minneapolis Police Department immediately. This is inclusive of any previous contracts, events, security operations, and any additional relations that were inclusive of the Minneapolis Police Department, barring any reporting structures. As a land-grant institution, statements professing appreciation of diversity and inclusion are empty and worthless if they are not backed up by action. A man was murdered. It is our job as an institution to exert whatever pressure we can to keep our students safe and demand justice in our city and state. We expect a reply to this concern within 24 hours of receipt.”
Wednesday, May 27
10:01 a.m. CT, May 27: Vice President for University and Government Relations Matt Kramer emails President Joan Gabel a draft of a response to the Minnesota Student Association, along with the comment, “I deliberately did not put a lot of ‘we stand with you’ type language in this as it would come across (and is) inauthentic.”
The draft reads:
As I said yesterday, I hold the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) responsible and demand accountability and justice for George Floyd. An independent investigation is not only warranted, but required, and the officers involved must be held fully accountable for their actions.
You asked that we immediately cease any cooperation with the MPD, at any level, to, as you noted "...to keep our students safe...."
That is not possible. Our recent work with the MPD that resulted in the capture and criminal charging of a serial rapist, who preyed on our students, is just one example where work with the MPD directly benefits the safety of our students.
But we will do the following:
1) I have instructed Chief Matt Clark to do x, y, z (need to check with the Chief on what works for us)
2) I have instructed Brian Burnett, SVP Finance and Operations, to immediately contract with alternative law enforcement agencies for support during large events (such as football games, concerts on campus, etc.) instead of using the MPD. We will, to every extent possible, not use MPD officers on our campus for events under our control.
That the culture and actions of the MPD do not reflect our values is not under question. They do not. Their actions are abhorrent, and we insist that the Mayor and the City Council redress the stain that their police department has inflicted on our region.
11:16 a.m. CT, May 27: A graduate student in the university’s School of Public Health writes to President Gabel in an email that she is “very disappointed in the lack of communication regarding the death of George Floyd and the subsequent trauma on the larger community. Many of my classmates, including myself, live in or have deep connections to the neighborhoods impacted to this event, and are experiencing trauma compounded by other national instances of police brutality and the current pandemic.”
The grad student concluded her email with, “Students are struggling and we need acknowledgment and leadership from the University.”
Gabel responds to the student 10 minutes later, writing, “I understand and agree - I sent a message yesterday and am working on a larger message now. I appreciate your patience. We'll be speaking to this soon.”
11:23 a.m. CT, May 27: President Gabel responds to Kramer’s draft that’s shown above, writing, “I would frame this very differently - please see below.” President Gabel changes the messaging of the previous draft that said ceasing any cooperation with the MPD “is not possible.”
President Gabel’s draft started with the following:
I join you in holding the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) responsible and demand accountability and justice for George Floyd. You asked that we immediately cease any cooperation with the MPD, at any level, in the interest of safety. I'd like to address your demand and ask that we consult on its implementation.
Our collaboration with local law enforcement goes beyond patrol. It includes investigations that require scale - for example, recent work with the MPD resulted in the capture and criminal charging of a serial rapist, who preyed on our students. The collaboration has offered for large events like football games and political events. We cooperate on back office support that saves the university's administrative overhead. The collaboration also includes activities like bomb squads and K-9 functions that are needed on campuses but are typically "borrowed" expertise.
None of these examples is offered as an excuse for what happened to George Floyd or for the past. It is only offered in the spirit of transparency for why we cannot both completely cease cooperation in one day and, in good faith, maximize safety for our community.
11:47 a.m. CT, May 27: Kramer sends an updated draft to President Gabel, which includes specific calls to action:
We can and will do the following:
1) I have instructed University Police Chief Matt Clark to first use alternative law enforcement agencies for specific skills (for example K-9 teams used for explosive detection at football games and other large events) versus using the services of the MPD.
2) I have instructed Brian Burnett, SVP Finance and Operations, to contract with alternative law enforcement agencies for support during large events (such as football games, concerts on campus, etc.) instead of using the MPD.
MPD actions do not reflect our values. We want every attribute of institution, especially safety, to reflect our values. We will work with you to advance our shared mission of equity, understanding fully that the actions of the MPD not only directly affect our community; they diminish the very foundations that the University of MN was built on.
Kramer added the following comments at the top of his email:
Updated. [UMPD] Chief Clark (and BB) [Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Brian Burnett] support the two instructions. They are meaningful and will have impacts on us (including financial) but are the right thing to do.
I have edited your comments and am happy to explain why. I'm available non-stop today to deal with this.
12:06 p.m. CT, May 27: President Gabel forwards the latest draft to Senior Assistant to the President Bill Haldeman and Brian Curtis, the president of the Paradigm Four firm that consults with universities and athletic departments.
President Gabel writes:
What do you think of this as my reply to the students? I had stronger language about why we have to do this incrementally and was more sympathetic to the call for action.
12:36 p.m. CT, May 27: Curtis responds to President Gabel with suggestions, adding, “I do think you need to separate MPD from the MPD officers involved.”
1:08 p.m. CT, May 27: Kramer emails Curtis, “Our message today was going to be on a number of COVID-19 updates. But as I'm sure you have seen, the Minneapolis Police Department has changed all of that.
Can we get your take on this. It is very strong, but we want it to be strong. And we know it will create some backlash.”
The last three paragraphs of the draft read:
We have choices and we will make them and we have values and we will honor them. I will not use University resources to subsidize any law enforcement agency who so visibly has not lived up to their motto “To Protect with Courage. To Serve with Compassion.” We will only collaborate with the MPD on joint patrols and investigations that directly support the safety of students or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those that put our students at risk.
Someday we may be able to collaborate further with the MPD but today is not that day. That day won’t come until we see visible, measurable, and accountable change and we join the call for that change.
My heart is heavy. But let our voices be heard. This will not stand.
An hour and a quarter later, Curtis responds to Kramer, “I think the tone is right. I do worry a bit that the entire department is condemned versus those officers involved.”
Kramer writes back, “Thanks. I share the concern, but this has been an issue now in the department for several years. Current MPD Union President is very much a ‘law and order’ cop and the culture is not likely to change until they make some wholesale leadership changes.”
1:52 p.m. CT, May 27: University of Minnesota Communications Manager Christie Wells emails Chief Public Relations Officer Chuck Tombarge, Public Relations Director Jake Ricker and Internal Communications and Public Relations Consultant Meagan Pierluissi, “We are expecting President Gabel's message today to take a different tone than recent messages. It will focus exclusively on the tragic death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd and on steps the University will take as a result.”
2:21 p.m. CT, May 27: University of Minnesota Foundation Vice President for Marketing and Communications Sarah Youngerman forwards to Tombarge and Kramer a copy of General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening’s message to the company’s employees.
“In case this helps,” Youngerman wrote.
3:49 p.m. CT, May 27: Kramer emails President Gabel, “We spent the better part of the morning shutting down individual colleges who wanted to send their own ‘statement’ on the death of George Floyd. It is a regular challenge here to manage the individual communication whims of every college!
And yes, now I'm absolutely whining. Consolidated communications would go a long ways towards simplifying our lives on major issues.”
Gabel responds, “It would.”
4:53 p.m. CT, May 27: Vice President for University Services Mike Berthelsen writes to Kramer and Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Brian Burnett, regarding the statement President Gabel would later announce.
A few thoughts on this:
do we need an end date? or an 'until further notice'? I understand the objective here. I would like to have the option to re-engage when appropriate.
to be clear - we hire many officers directly for events. These are not contracts with the department, but with individuals.
The paragraph below these sentences is where I have most pause. Our relationship with the City of Mpls and MPD extend beyond this list.
To the first bullet point, Kramer responds, “The end date is essentially whenever we decide that the city of Minneapolis, and the MPD, have made sufficient structural change as to warrant use of their services. Their actions of late are beyond the pale and they will need to earn our trust and confidence as a customer. I don't see any change in the immediate future. Perhaps a year or so from now.”
He responds to the second bullet point above, “We understand that. The intent is that we will no longer hire individual MPD officers. Good officers who we have done business with in the past will now pay for the actions of bad officers on their force. This creates internal pressure.”
5:00 p.m. CT, May 27: Assistant to the President Megan Sweet sends President Gabel, Kramer and Senior Assistant to the President Bill Haldeman a memo that will be sent from President Gabel to the Minnesota Student Association.
A copy of the memo is shown below.
Click to open in a new window.
5:43 p.m. CT, May 27: Executive Assistant to the President Penny Bellesen sends the final memo, signed electronically by President Gabel.
5:48 p.m. CT, May 27: President Gabel emails University of Minnesota Board of Regents Executive Director & Corporate Secretary Brian Steeves the signed memo that’s addressed to the Minnesota Student Association, as well as a message to the university community.
5:54 p.m. CT, May 27: Steeves forwards President Gabel’s messages to all the members of the university’s Board of Regents.
6:20 p.m. CT, May 27: President Gabel’s message to the university community is sent via email. The first line reads, “Our hearts are broken after watching the appalling video capturing the actions of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers against George Floyd leading to his tragic death.” Later in her message, Gabel announces that she has directed Senior Vice President Brian Burnett to “no longer contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for additional law enforcement support needed for large events, such as football games, concerts, and ceremonies.”
She also directed University Police Chief Matt Clark to no longer use MPD “when specialized services are needed for University events, such as K-9 Explosive detection units.”
The email responses Gabel received were overwhelmingly positive, but there were also students who expressed safety concerns about the university’s decision to reduce its ties with the MPD.
Among the emails Out of Bounds obtained from May 25-28, there were 51 positive responses and eight negative responses/responses that expressed concern.
Among those who expressed their thankfulness or support of President Gabel’s statement were university employees who held titles of dean, director, professor and office manager, as well as students and alumni.
Not every email was black and white in terms of the author’s support or disapproval. One concerned emailer wrote, “I’m writing to express my disappointment at this decision to disengage entirely from MPD,” but concluded with, “Thank you for taking this email and for your leadership in general!”
Some of the supportive comments that President Gabel included:
“This latest email with the decisive importance of immediate changes to our relationship with MPD nearly made me cry.”
“The days ahead will be difficult. The old boy networks will link arms something fierce. Stare them down and know that you have many, many women (and men too) who will have your back.”
“We have experienced too many police-related violations in our communities over the past few years. The community-police trust has been broken by this terrible incident and many others before it, especially in relation to our African-American community. The role of law enforcement is to protect human rights, not to violate those rights. We must return to these priorities before we can heal.”
“I do wish that in your message you had acknowledged that the demand for a change in the University’s relationship with the MPD came via a letter from Student Body President Jael Kerandi. (And perhaps other voices that called for this change that I am unaware of.) It seems important to recognize the agency of diverse members of our community, perhaps inspiring others to speak up if they know their voices will be heard.”
Some of the comments that expressed displeasure or concern were:
“On one hand I applaud you for being unaccepting of systemic racism and willing to stand up against it decisively. On the other hand, this kind of action is the kind of stance I would expect if MPD were corrupt, shady, or racist through and through, and I have to ask, is that really the case?”
“At this campus that I attend in Minneapolis, how could I and other students be safe from a catastrophic event such as a bomb threat or school shooting? I cannot protect myself on this campus which before I relied on the MPD. With this decision of cutting ties with the MPD, I will not feel safe on campus.”
“While we all have been impacted by the death of George Floyd, I would ask that the university not take emotional steps that could lead to a compromise of student safety. I would argue that the MPD as a whole is as much of a force for good as our university police force.”
“As a lifelong MN resident and supporter of the University I completely disagree with your decision. The acts of a few policeman [sic] do not reflect the entire police department. By creating this schism, you have not only hurt the University but the entire community.”
When one student accused President Gabel of making a political statement, the response Vice President for University and Government Relations Matt Kramer wrote for her included the line, “We are not making a political statement, we are making a human one.”
6:48 p.m. CT, May 27: A University of Minnesota student emails President Gabel the following, which read, in part:
I am a student at the University of Minnesota. I just received your email regarding the incident with the Minneapolis Police Department. I am writing this email to express my concern with your decision to drop all ties with the police department. In your email you gave no solution for safer alternatives. From my understanding, all UMN events are less safe and that worries me and many of my colleagues. I hope you consider the safety of UMN students and come up with a solution to keep us safe.
Less than a half an hour later, Gabel forwards the email to Matt Kramer, along with the message, “We need to prepare a response to this concern.”
7:06 p.m. CT, May 27: President Gabel receives the following email:
As the daughter of a retired (and now deceased) Minneapolis police officer, I would like you to know how disappointed I am in the email I recently received.
In the program I am currently enrolled in, we have classes about equity. One of the things we learn is to not judge an entire group of people by what certain individuals from that group do. Why does this not extend to police officers? There are many Minneapolis police officers who would never do what was done to Mr. Floyd, and to assume so is just as wrong as any other stereotype assigned to any other minority group.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I sincerely hope you have been well in these u precedented [sic] times.
Gabel responded four minutes later, “Thank you for writing - I am the daughter of a retired law enforcement officer too. My message was careful to address the actions of the officers in question and not the entire department. I’m sorry the response upset you - these are tremendously difficult circumstances.”
7:21 p.m. CT, May 27: Kramer sends President Gabel a response for her to send anyone who has concerns about the safety of University of Minnesota students and faculty after the her announcement.
The response reads:
As my statement indicated, and I quote, "We will limit our collaboration with the MPD to joint patrols and investigations that directly enhance the safety of our community or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those who put our students, faculty, and staff at risk."
We are not dropping all ties with the Minneapolis Police Department. I have asked that we no longer hire off-duty police officers for University events and that the UMPD now work with other metropolitan police departments for specialized services that, due to the small size of our department, we do not provide.
We remain committed to collaboration with MPD in all respects that protect the safety of our students, staff, faculty, and the community we reside in.
7:59 p.m. CT, May 27: After Director of Community and Local Government Relations Erick Luna shares President Gabel’s statement with the mayor of Minneapolis and the city’s council members, council member Cam Gordon responds, “I understand completely and am grateful for this. It will help put needed pressure on us to change. Please share my thanks with the President.”
8:02 p.m. CT, May 27: Kramer emails Luna and Chief Government Relations Officer JD Burton that he’s asking President Gabel to make phone calls to Mayor Jacob Frey, City Council President Lisa Bender and Vice President Andrea Jenkins.
Luna wrote in a previous email, “reaching out and leaving a message specially in the midst of all this would be good for the relationship beyond today.”
8:07 p.m. CT, May 27: Minnesota Student Association President Jael Kerandi emails President Gabel and other members of the university’s leadership:
Thank you for the decision that was previously communicated. As you can understand, it was necessary. Now, students are wondering what measures will keep them safe in the future. I do not believe that MPD was our driving safety factor but I believe it will be pertinent in near future to lay out plans of replacing those services. Quite a few constituents have reached out on this matter. I am sure as you are planning for scenarios in the fall this will come up. I would be happy to relay any information you provide.
9:12 p.m. CT, May 27: The Office of the President sends Kramer an email with the information that, so far, 32 emails to President Gabel had indicated “strong grateful heartfelt support” and nine were “opposed to the change in the relationship with MPD. Of the 9 opposed, 6 gave decreased safety as their reason.”
9:57 p.m. CT, May 27: Luna emails Kramer a text message he received from city council member Lisa Goodman:
“Hi Eric, hope all is well with you. I’m just curious did President Gable [sic] talk to the mayor prior to her announcement that the university doesn’t want to work with MPD anymore? I know that she didn’t talk to the city Council president but I’m hoping she spoke with the mayor, or someone did!
Please keep me posted as soon as she has made those calls. I expect some council members will not be happy.”
10:25 p.m. CT, May 27: Luna sent another text message in an email, saying “One more,” although it’s not clear if the sender is Goodman or another city council member, and he concluded with, “At this point reaching out is very necessary and may need to be an apologetic tone.”
The second text message read:
“If she made this announcement and it went onto the news without talking to us that is going to cause lasting damage.
That was the most blatantly political thing I’ve ever seen the University do. University relies on us all the time and time again when there is a problem and our cops are in there helping. There should’ve been a conversation about what the services were and whether or not they made sense not a political statement that MPD is bad and the university won’t work with them anymore, wow never thought I’d see that happen”
10:27 p.m. CT, May 27: A district sales manager for Galls, a public safety equipment and uniform provider, emails University of Minnesota Chief of Police Matt Clark, “I have been following the news and understand that your department is changing your relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department. That being said, I also understand your campus is in Minneapolis and if needed we have riot gear and equipment in-stock if you need anything to keep your officers safe.”
Thursday, May 28
6:21 a.m. CT, May 28: Kramer emails Tombarge, “I spent way to much [sic] time responding last night to students who now believe that somehow there will be no law enforcement on or near campus and thus their safety is at risk. I'm working up a standard response. Can you give this a [read] and work some magic?”
Here’s the draft Kramer had written:
8:08 a.m. CT, May 28: Megan Sweet forwards to Bill Haldeman a draft of a response Kramer had written for President Gabel to send to Jael Kerandi about students’ safety concerns, with Sweet writing to Haldeman, “President Gabel asked for your feedback. I think it's a good response, but not quite in the president's voice.”
The draft of the response to the MSA read:
Thank you for your leadership and your partnership. Your offer to help in relaying this information is very much appreciated.
As it applies to my first request of SVP Burnett, we regularly hire off-duty licensed police officers, from a number of jurisdictions, to assist our UMPD at athletic or other large events. We anticipate no problems in finding sufficient officers in the metropolitan area, and indeed from around the State, who wish to work a Gophers game at TCF Field or another event on campus. We regularly have more officers inquiring as to the availability of working and event for the University than we have openings.
In my second request we, on occasion, have a need for specialized law enforcement functions that a smaller agency, like ours, cannot economically afford. In the case of explosive sniffing trained K-9 units, the City of Saint Paul Police Department offers this same service and we simply anticipate using their officers, and trained dogs, in the future. The same is true for other specialized services.
We will not jeopardize the security and safety of our students, staff, and faculty. We will continue to work with the MPD on the security and safety of the neighborhoods around our campus. There is no alternative to jurisdictional relationships with the law enforcement agency that borders our campus. That being said, the decisions we made today are ones that are visible, have economic consequences to the MPD, and are ones that I hope, as I know you do, will help foster change.
Take care - thank you,
8:36 a.m. CT, May 28: A member of Twin Cities PBS requests an interview with President Gabel for a discussion on “U of M reducing ties with Minneapolis Police.”
9:22 a.m. CT, May 28: President Joan Gabel receives an interview request from a member of Euronews to “talk about your recent decisions following George Floyd’s death.”
9:37 a.m. CT, May 28: President Joan Gabel responds to MSA President Jael Kerandi after Kerandi’s previous email that said, “now, students are wondering what measures will keep them safe in the future.”
9:47 a.m. CT, May 28: The numbers of emails in support of or opposition to President Gabel’s message now total 105 that offer strong support and 32 that were strongly opposed, according to a university email. Matt Kramer noted many of the people who offered their support used phrases such as “cutting ties,” “severing relationship” and “firing,” even though none of those were accurate of President Gabel’s announcement.
9:55 a.m. CT, May 28: Bill Haldeman receives an email from a producer of NPR’s All Things Considered with a request for President Gabel to join the show later in the day to “speak on that which is transpiring in Minneapolis and her decision to shift the university’s relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department.”
10:01 a.m. CT, May 28: Kramer responds to Haldeman, “I strongly suggest we let the statement speak for itself and not further inject ourselves into this story. Our daily message today can also be useful in framing that we took action on two economic issues that essentially, and I'm simplifying, reward a bad actor.”
10:20 a.m CT, May 28: Tombarge responds to Kramer, “I would absolutely concur with Matt's recommendation. At this point, we are continuing to decline requests for interviews, continue to decline requests but will follow up today with help from Chief Clark and the President as needed to answer specific clarifying questions. We are getting a high number of them from the media locally and nationally.”
11:18 a.m. CT, May 28: A producer from CTV News Channel in Canada emails President Gabel to request an interview about the university’s decision to “cut ties” with the MPD. Jake Ricker declines the opportunity on Gabel’s behalf.
3:58 p.m. CT, May 28: A sales manager from a company called K2 Solutions, Inc., which offers K-9 explosive detection services and was founded by special operations forces and counter terrorism professionals, reaches out to University Security:
I wanted to reach out to you to tell you that we are so sorry about what is happening in your community. We read an article that was stating that you would no longer be using Minneapolis Police Department canine services anymore. I know that with things starting to reopen, that you will be looking for another canine vendor to assist with games, special events, ceremonies, etc. I have attached an overview of our explosive detection canine program in this email. I would be more than happy to set up a phone call to discuss pricing, availability, needs, etc.
8:37 p.m. CT, May 28: In an email titled “Concern & Please Help,” a concerned father emailed President Gabel:
I emailing you on behalf of concerned parents across the country who are preparing to send our students off to school and especially the parents of African American young men. As you know, there is great concern and a genuine fear that many African American parents have, that their young men could end up with the same fate as Mr. Floyd. We have seen this story too many times and we hope and pray for a different ending this time. We hope and pray for justice. I am asking that you lend your voice to the situation and contact the DA, Mayor, and Governor ask them to arrest, charge, and convict the officers involved. I am also asking you use your influence to push and participate in the necessary reforms that need to take place in Minnesota so this never happens again. After Philando Castille & George Floyd enough is enough. Parents want to feel that when they send their student off to college on your campus and others across the country, a simple traffic stop does not lead to death. Please use your voice and influence on behalf of young black men on your campus.
9:49 p.m. CT, May 28: As protests continued in Minneapolis, President Gabel responds in an email to a colleague, “Take care - I can see smoke from my window :(“
Recap of last week’s newsletter
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“While a few athletes noted that taking online classes helped with their athletic schedules, including their ability to stay on top of their studies while they were traveling, almost every one of the 18 Houston athletes indicated that online courses are either more difficult or less difficult than in-person classes, or that they weren’t pushed as much or that less was expected of them in online classes.”
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