The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Amy Coney Barrett’s arrival at UMN sparks protest

Photo taken at the protest by Audrey Milk ’26.

On Monday, Oct. 16, protestors rallied against Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett (ACB) at the University of Minnesota (UMN). Barrett, who was invited to be a guest speaker for the 2023 Robert A. Stein ’61 Lecture organized by the University, has received much backlash due to her controversial political career. She is best known for her vote to overturn Roe v. Wade,  anti-LGBTQ+ views and anti-labor stances. 

The UMN chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), organized the protest and had previously distributed a petition titled “Uninvite Amy Coney Barrett from the University from Minnesota!” that was signed by more than 650 students.

Some Macalester students attended the protests alongside UMN students in an effort to show solidarity and oppose Barrett’s political views. 

“I think it is really important to stand in solidarity with people who are genuinely hurt by this woman,” one Macalester student, who wished to remain anonymous, said. 

Albeit much larger, the UMN protest was similar to Macalester students’ reception of Congress to Campus, in which a Republican and a Democratic U.S. legislator debated the reversal of Roe v. Wade, last fall. The event drew significant backlash and protest from some Macalester students, sparking a conversation about who should be invited to college campuses. 

 “With the protest and the petition, we are really advocating for showing the university that students are listening, and they can’t make baseless decisions off of no student input,” Sahra Jialow, the communications director of UMN’s branch of the YDSA, said at the preparatory YDSA meeting on Thursday, Oct. 12. 

Photo taken at the protest by Audrey Milk ’26.

At 3 p.m., a group of UMN students and locals from the Twin Cities, including those from Macalester, gathered to show their disapproval in front of Northrop Auditorium. City police officers lined up opposite the protestors at the entrance of the building. Protesters yelled chants such as “Education is a right not just for the rich and white” and “ACB needs to learn her ABCs” outside the building, in hopes that they would reach the lecture’s guest. 

“[Barrett’s presence at this school] goes against the statements the university tries to make about being a diverse and welcoming environment for different communities,” Vice President of the UMN YDSA Grace Brunfelt said. 

The statement in question comes from UMN’s Guiding Principles, which states that the university is supposed to provide an “atmosphere of mutual respect free from racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice and intolerance”. 

At the protest, Mira Altobell-Resendez, a member of the Students for Democratic Society of the University of Minnesota, discussed how Barrett’s actions go against the university’s.

“ACB played a huge role in overturning Roe v. Wade and getting rid of affirmative action , and now DACA is even on the table, leaving children of immigrants in danger of being deported in the near future,” Altobell-Resendez said. “I just don’t think that somebody who had a material role in creating those conditions should be allowed to speak on a campus that presented itself as being so passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

The lecture itself consisted of 90 minutes of questions posed by Stein, the moderator. It did not include any questions pertaining to the controversial topics that the protestors were concerned about. Instead, Barrett discussed national unity, ethics and influences and many personal anecdotes.

Photo taken at the protest by Audrey Milk ’26.

At one point, a group of UMN representing the organization Students for a Democratic Society,  started chanting from one of the balconies, “Not the court, not the state, the people will decide their fate.” Barrett did not react nor mention the chants as she waited for the group to be escorted out by security. 

Brunfelt echoed the sentiments of many protesters in her hopes that her university will learn from the protestors’ concerns. 

“Hopefully in the future, they would consider the climate and context of who they invite,” Brunfelt said. “I think the outcome’s already been achieved for me: I think just coming here and showing that we’re all united in this [is worthwhile].”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Viktorie Spurná, Associate News Editor

Comments (0)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *