MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Student leaders at St. Cloud State University are holding a #StCloudUNITED event late Tuesday afternoon to celebrate solidarity and diversity, according to the university.
The university says the event, held in response to the Sept. 18 stabbing attacks at the Crossroads Center, will begin at 5 p.m. on Atwood Mall.
“The event seeks to remind students and the larger community that the attacks that injured 10 were the actions of an individual whose motives are not known,” the university said on its website. “The attacker was of Somali descent. Community leaders have raised concerns that the Somalis, in particular, and Muslims, in general, will be blamed for those actions.”
Community and campus leaders will kick off the event at 5:15 p.m. with a walk across campus slated to begin at 5:45 p.m. Small-group discussions at Atwood will follow at 6:15 p.m.
According to the university, the initial organizing group includes Mohamed Warsame, Somali Student Association president; Habso Mohamud, Muslim Student Association president; Mikaela Johnson, Student Government president; Randall Olson, Student Government vice president; Mica Saucedo, Residence Hall Association president; and Brenda Vang, Asian Students In Action president.
The move has faced some criticism and on its Facebook page, the university was questioned about the appropriateness of the event and what it has to do with the university.
To that, the university responded: “The attacker was a former student. The shooter is an alumnus; his wife an alumna. St. Cloud State does not operate in a cocoon. St. Cloud State is a central part of St. Cloud. This has everything to do with this university.”
The university later added: “We are the lead educator to the community. This is a teachable moment we are obligated to pursue. We will talk about tolerance, the power of diversity, the corrosive effect of unfounded fears and other issues. This is our role. We’re doing our job.”