Letter to the editor: statement on Ekpunobi event


Amala Ekpunobi, a speaker from PragerU. She returns again to Winona State University on Oct. 14 after speaking at the campus last year.

Last year, Amala Ekpunobi spoke at WSU. Ekpunobi’s speech included comments that expressed a derogatory attitude towards people with trans and non-binary identities, denials of the existence of institutional or systemic racism, and rejections of the notion that sexism against women is still a problem in U.S. society.

These assertions directly contradict our Faculty Association’s position regarding equity and inclusion. Our union’s Equity and Inclusion plan states that “It is imperative that we challenge systemic oppression to empower marginalized members.” When the speech of political provocateurs like Ekpunobi is elevated on our campus, it creates a climate that is not inclusive and is not safe for our most marginalized faculty. To this end, we want to assure every single faculty member on this campus that you have your union’s full support if you decide to stay away from Winona State’s campus on the day of Ekpunobi’s next presentation.

We also ask that you stand in solidarity with any students or staff who express a desire not to be on campus that day.

Our union supports everyone’s right to entertain and discuss dissident opinions. But our union is also a part of the labor movement, which is a vehicle of social justice. For these reasons, we stand in solidarity with marginalized and oppressed people everywhere. The WSUFA condemns the ridiculing and outright dismissal of systemic oppression, as well as the attempts of bad faith political actors to make our campus less welcoming and inclusive.

In solidarity,

The Winona State University Faculty Association