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We need you to take action now! The MN House and Senate released their supplemental budget with less than a week before the end of the 2018 Legislative session. The Legislature's plan includes $3 million in support for MinnState campuses. Please contact your Legislators today and urge them to work with the Governor to fund the full $10 million request for campus support.
The Inter Faculty Organization (IFO) has recognized Metropolitan State University Professor Dr. Daniel Abebe with the Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of Multicultural Issues Award. Dr. Abebe has dedicated his professional and personal life to advancing opportunities and awareness on multicultural issues at Metropolitan State University and within the community. The IFO Multicultual Issues Committee reviewed all nominations and recommended Dr. Abebe as the recipient to the IFO Board of Directors.
Dr. Abebe has created a positive difference for countless people throughout his 28 years as a faculty member at Metropolitan State with his tireless work and leadership in support of communities of color. He has guided hundreds of college students, faculty peers, and other U.S. professionals on trips to Kenya, Tanzania, Jamaica, Botswana, Western Samoa, Ghana, Liberia and other destinations. He coordinated the Perspectives Center, co-founded and served as the first co-chair of the Ethnic Studies Department. He also served in leadership roles on the Inter Faculty Organization (IFO) Multicultural Advisory Committee and Equity and Diversity Committee, the Anti-Racism Leadership Team (ARLT), the Diversity Learning Task Force, and the International Exchange and Study Committee.
In 2014, he received Metropolitan State University’s Anti-Racism Legacy Award. In 2017, he received the Metropolitan State University’s Carol C. Ryan Excellence in Advising Award. He has been nominated for the Excellence in Teaching and Advising Awards numerous times.
Dr. Abebe has also serves his community as a leader of various organizations dedicated to racial and social justice. He is on the International Committee of the Metropolitan YMCA (now YMCA of Greater Twin Cities), co-founded and later chaired Ethiopians in Minnesota, where he proudly served Ethiopian refugees for 23 years. He founded and served as a board member and trustee of Global Citizens Network – an organization which has sent over 2,000 volunteers to villages in 20 countries around the globe. He joined the first "Voices of Ethiopia" program on KFAI Fresh Air Radio, and served as a board member for many non-profit organizations locally, regionally, and nationally. In 2005, at a celebration of Hamline University’s 150th anniversary, he was honored and recognized as one of the “One Hundred and Fifty Lives that Make a Difference” for his life’s work.
Dr. Abebe has been, and continues to be, a mentor, leader, supporter, and friend to all faculty, staff, and students at Metropolitan State. His actions and words will continue to influence and inspire the mission of diversity, social justice, equality, and inclusion for years to come.
The IFO Multicultural Issues Committee addresses matters of concern for faculty of color, American Indian faculty, religious minority faculty, and immigrant faculty regarding racial justice, equity, and inclusion. The IFO is a union that takes professional responsibility for excellent, accessible, and inclusive public higher education in Minnesota and beyond. The IFO represents the interests, welfare, and aspirations of all faculty of the seven state universities of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system through collective bargaining, contract enforcement, and advocacy.
This academic year has been one of exciting changes in the IFO. A key example is the IFO choosing to adopt a grassroots organizing model, led by our newest staff member, Director of Organizing, Matt Smriga. Through 1 to 1 conversations, phone calls and office visits, teams of Volunteer Faculty Organizers began the process of building relationships with colleagues across MinnState universities in order to recruit new IFO members and engage existing members on a deeper level than ever before.
New members are up: so far this academic year we have recruited over 240 new IFO members. This exceeds the new member total from each of the last 5 fiscal years and sets a new record for new members added in a year (since the IFO began keeping track in FY13).
In addition to adding new members to the IFO, we’re beginning to see the results of a more deeply engaged membership base. On the recently completed contract ratification vote, we increased the number of those who voted on the contract by 200 members compared to the vote before, which represents a 4% increase in the participation of eligible voters. This is likely due in large part to organizing efforts to reach populations not before deeply engaged in the IFO, like the adjunct and community faculty membership drive that took place in January.
This is only the very beginning as we will continue to adopt a robust grassroots organizing approach into the future. If you are an organizer, reaching out to your colleagues on campus and engaging them in the work of the union, thank you. The work you do is strengthening your union.