The University of Minnesota Alumni Association is doing damage control after a week of bad publicity about a student group voting against a 9/11 moment of silence.
On Thursday, the association sent an e-mail to U grads to try to calm some of the outrage that followed news reports about the vote.
"This topic has received a great deal of media attention, and we want to provide a current, complete picture, particularly about the University's decision to move forward with a commemoration," said the e-mail from Alison Page, the board chair, and Lisa Lewis, the association president and CEO.
They noted that the Minnesota Student Association, which voted against a 9/11 "moment of recognition" on Nov. 10, is an "independent undergraduate student governing organization." The students rejected the resolution, 36-23, after some members raised concerns that it might inflame anti-Muslim sentiment and cause logistical problems.
The vote prompted a major backlash, particularly on social media, and resulted in a flood of complaints, apparently from many U alums.
On Wednesday, U officials announced that they will move ahead with plans for a 9/11 commemoration to honor the victims. The alumni association said it endorsed the U's decision. It also noted that a U alum, Tom Burnett, was among the victims of the Septemer 11, 2001 attacks.
The association leaders called the incident "a moment of education and debate," and an opportunity "to help current and future students recognize the tragedy of 9/11" and its lasting impact.