During the Student Government’s first meeting of the new year, a resolution was discussed and passed unanimously regarding the renaming of the “Lincoln Lounge” to the “Dakota Lounge” in the Centennial Student Union.
Put forward by Student Government Vice President of Idman Ibrahim, and seconded by Student Government President Emma Zellmer, the resolution proposed to formally name CSU 108 the “Dakota Lounge.”
This space was informally known as the “Lincoln Lounge” due to the Abraham Lincoln statue that previously resided there. The statue was removed at the beginning of the fall semester of 2022 and relocated to the basement of the Memorial Library due to Abraham Lincoln’s dark history with the city of Mankato.
“The reason that it was removed equally applies to why this space should not be called Lincoln Lounge in order to honor our indigenous students and also to acknowledge that we are also sitting on Dakota land,” Ibrahim said.
Meeting with Indigenous community leaders and students, Dakota Lounge is what was agreed upon to be named.
“This university has made a commitment to equity 2030 and closing opportunity gaps among students. In light of that commitment, acceptance and input implementation of this proposal would show students that this commitment is real and is one step closer to Equity 2030,” Ibrahim said.
Zellmer noted that as a university, MSU is behind compared to other Minnesota State schools in regard to efforts to recognize Indigenous buildings.
“Bemidji State University has multiple buildings, named after and recognizing the Indigenous community, other state system schools also as buildings named so it’s time that we finally recognize the indigenous community here on our campus, the land that our institution resides on,” Zellmer said. “There’s no better place than the front and center of our campus. Right outside of Mav Ave in the Centennial Student Union.”
Other senators voiced their support for the resolution.
“It’s a small step and more action is needed by the university, by the organization, by students, by the city, by the states, by the country to improve the material conditions of Indigenous and first nation populations,” said Jordan Mueller. “We can change all the names we want, but it will not take away the fact that many Indigenous communities are still systematically oppressed and left in poverty.”
Intended to be voted on next week, Senator Douglas Roberts motioned to expedite the voting timeline of the resolution which all but one senator voted in favor of.
Header photo: Student Government unanimously passes the resolution to rename the “Lincoln Lounge” to the “Dakota Lounge” in the first meeting of the new year. (Dominic Bothe/The Reporter)
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