University of Minnesota student leaders on Wednesday called for Regent Steve Sviggum to resign, saying they doubted the sincerity of his apology for remarks questioning whether the school's Morris campus had become "too diverse."

"We are concerned that your continued presence on the Board of Regents will signal a hostile attitude toward diversity and deter prospective students from choosing one of the five University of Minnesota campuses," a group of more than two dozen student government leaders wrote in an open letter to Sviggum.

Their letter — one of three calling for Sviggum's resignation — came one day before the Board of Regents is set to meet and two days before its members are set to elect a new vice chair.

Sviggum, who remains on the board but stepped down from the leadership position, declined to comment.

Universities across the country are changing their recruitment strategies as the pool of high school graduates becomes both smaller and more diverse.

The University of Minnesota's strategic plan calls for the Morris campus to have 1,700 students by 2025, but it had just 1,068 at one recent count. About 41% of students describe themselves as a person of color, up from 21% a decade ago.

In a public meeting two months ago, Sviggum asked if it was possible the Morris campus had become "too diverse" from "a marketing standpoint." Following a backlash from students, faculty and some fellow regents, Sviggum issued a public apology saying he intended to encourage a discussion about enrollment struggles and had more to learn about the strength diversity brings to the University of Minnesota.

Among those who called Wednesday for Sviggum's resignation was Dylan Young, president of the Morris Campus Student Association, who said he questioned the seriousness of Sviggum's willingness to learn more about diversity based on remarks Sviggum made to the media, to fellow regents and during a visit to the Morris campus last month.

Young and Hal Johnson, a student representative to the Board of Regents, said Sviggum didn't directly apologize during his visit and instead tried to justify his comments by saying he had a fiduciary duty to the university and needed to ask tough questions.

Young, in his own open letter, said Sviggum also has a duty to "act responsibly and refrain from placing targets on the backs of BIPOC students."

Young wrote that he grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, where he was exposed to drug abuse, domestic violence and extreme poverty, and hoped to return after graduation to help where he could.

"I am not just pursuing a college degree for my own upward mobility — I'm also doing it to empower my community's livelihood and sovereignty," he wrote, adding: "When Regent Sviggum asked whether the Morris campus has become too diverse, he brought our dreams into question."

The Board of Regents plays a key role in shaping the university's trajectory, helping to set tuition, vet strategic plans and craft pitches for government funding, among other tasks.

The board is expected to elect a new vice chair on Friday, and some students are calling on regents to select a person of color.

Sviggum's term on the board ends next year, with the exact date depending on when state lawmakers select regents to fill his term and three others that are expiring. Sviggum did not apply to serve again.