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Open Forum:St. Cloud’s racial problems

“The St. Cloud study implicates a hostile community and a campus that is  equally hostile. Levels of ethnoviolence reported here exceed those in any  campus or community study we have reviewed. There is at St. Cloud a different normative structure than at any of the other [250] universities studied.”  — (Campus Ethnoviolence and the Policy Options;” National Institute Against Prejudice & Violence, Report  No. 4, March 1990)

A few of many similar news reports suggest St. Cloud’s racial problems may  contribute to St. Cloud State University’s alarmingly low Black student  retention: (a) “[U.S. Department of] Justice official to test racial climate;” St. Cloud Times, 8/1/1998; (b) “Molotov cocktail used in attack: Another violent incident spurs students to question safety in St. Cloud and at SCSU;” University Chronicle, 11/16/1998; (c) “Racial profiling case lands St. Cloud in state spotlight; St. Cloud Times,  5/19/2001; (d) “SASSO/Somali community organization building firebombed,” 11/17/2002; (e) “St. Cloud ranks high on hate crimes list: City was 2nd in state for number of race-based incidents in 2003;” St. Cloud Times, 11/23/2004; (f) “Is it safe to send our children to St. Cloud?” Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, 2/7/2007; (g) “Reported local hate crimes up sharply;” St. Cloud Times,11/20/2007; (h) “[Aspen] Institute to study area’s race efforts;” St. Cloud Times, 5/30/2008; (i) “CAIR [Council on  American Islamic Relations-Minnesota] asks FBI to investigate anti-Somali  vandalism,” Minnesota Public Radio, 7/9/2010; (j) “St. Cloud’s history of friction with outsiders,” Minnesota Public Radio, 7/30/2010.

Obviously. little has changed since the 1990 study quoted above.

Myrle B. Cooper


MYRLE B. COOPER is a former faculty member at St. Cloud State University.