University said he has been term-limited, but there’s disagreement on what the limits are
The University of Minnesota’s public affairs school will not reappoint Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman (right) to an advisory role, though he will remain as an honorary board member.
Student activists had petitioned the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs to remove Freeman from the Advisory Council in October due to what they said was a mishandling of prosecutions in the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
Activists also wanted the Orville and Jane Freeman Commons renamed, due to the elder Freeman’s actions as governor of Minnesota. The Democratic governor demolished some homes of African-Americans in order to build a highway.
“Members of our dean’s advisory council are appointed with a term limit,” Keith Hovis, a spokesperson for the Humphrey school said in an email to The College Fix. “Mr. Freeman’s term expires at the end of [June],” Hovis said.
After a follow-up email on June 8 that asked for confirmation that Freeman would not be reappointed, Hovis said, “According to the Dean’s Advisory Council bylaws: members serve for a three-year term and can be re-appointed for up to 3 three-year terms,” Hovis said.
“Mike Freeman is at the end of his third three-year term. So, no, he is not eligible for re-appointment.” He did not answer questions from The Fix about how university officials made the decision and what role the input of the student activists played.
Laura Bloomberg, the dean of the public affairs school, had said in July 2020 that Freeman would be “cycling off the council.”
Freeman said the the limits are two, six-year terms
The prosecutor had a different understanding of what the rules are, according to a statement sent through his media representative.
“Under the rules of the Advisory Board, no one can serve more than two six-year terms,” Freeman told The College Fix via email. “A number of long serving members and I will leave the active Board and will automatically be placed on the Honorary Board.”
“As a side note, a Freeman has served on the HHHs Board since the creation of the HHH school, first my father Orville, my mother Jane and now me,” he said. “We have been honored to serve an institution of fine public learning and one that is truly committed towards public service.”
While the university said that Freeman has been term-limited off the board, other members have been on the council longer than the Hennepin County prosecutor.
For example, Kiyoshi Nakasaka has been on the board since June 2008, according to his LinkedIn.
Freeman had also won support from a black business leader on the council.
“I think that’s a really good question to ask ourselves: ‘Who else don’t we like?’” Kim Nelson, a retired General Mills executive, said in a meeting with activists.
“Because I bet you can find some other people that you don’t like too. And eventually, maybe build a table that is only the voices you like,” Nelson said, according to the campus paper The Minnesota Daily.
Nelson could not be reached for comment. The College Fix emailed two separate organizations Nelson is affiliated with but did not hear back on questions sent over the past several weeks.
She has been on the board for 9 years, according to her LinkedIn.
IMAGE: USA Today/YouTube