The University of Minnesota Needs to do Something About Homelessness on Campus


Alyssa Abke, Treasurer

Coming from a rural town in Mid-Michigan, I didn’t entirely know what to expect with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus, but after being here for such a short time, I could easily see that homelessness was a huge issue, both on campus and surrounding it. It comes as no surprise that both Minneapolis and a college community are a big, blue bubble. The Democratic Party paints themselves to be the ‘good guys’ and the ones to turn to, to help the ‘less fortunate,’ yet I stand here on campus seeing a bunch of hypocrisy around me.

I see both the University of Minnesota and the City of Minneapolis turning a blind eye when it comes to addressing this issue; they do nothing to assist the homeless on campus, only amplifying the risks on campus as there aren’t accessible resources for homeless people. Instead, students wake up to unfamiliar people sleeping in their university-owned apartment stairwells and packages stolen.

Haley Wolff, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, gets her groceries delivered to her apartment right next to the college campus, less than 500 feet from the University of Minnesota Recreation and Wellness Center.

She stated that, “If I wait too long to grab my groceries, they typically get stolen or opened by a homeless man.”

Joan Gabel, the University of Minnesota President, makes about $1 million each year, a salary most college students could only dream about, yet we do not have the resources on campus to do anything to help homeless people. The University of Minnesota prides themselves on all the opportunities they offer, and as a student, I do appreciate it, but campus resources include not only students, but also things that affect students, their safety, and their learning.

At the very least, we need to provide a way to let homeless people on campus and surrounding campus know about homeless shelters, food, and other resources available to them. In January, crews of state workers and State Patrol closed a large tent encampment in Cedar Riverside.

For those unfamiliar with the Twin Cities campus, there are two parts of campus: East Bank and West Bank. West Bank is right next to the neighborhood of Cedar Riverside. The removal of these homeless encampments left unhoused residents to face a cold winter and linger on the Twin Cities campus without help from the University.

More recently, the University of Minnesota has taken initiative to offer assistance to students struggling with homelessness and a lack of basic items; however, this only applies to students enrolled at the University of Minnesota, nothing for those unenrolled and residing on the campus.

While most university students will tell you that they’ve seen a large population of unhoused Minneapolis residents on campus, it is hard to get exact statistics on exactly how many homeless people reside on and near the campus. University of Minnesota public relations director, Jake Ricker stated it is difficult to track the exact number of homelessness data as the University of Minnesota Police Department’s police data does not provide what specific situations are classified under homelessness and there are many different factors that affect homelessness.