Last year’s #BBUM (Being Black at the University of Michigan) campaign thrust the current state of diversity at U-M into the national spotlight, which has declined since the passage of Proposal 2 in 2006. The University has since taken steps to improve the racial climate on campus, including allocating an additional $300,000 to improve the Trotter Multicultural Center. Since President Schlissel has taken the reins of the University, he has consistently identified diversity as a key issue for U-M.
“I firmly believe that we cannot achieve true excellence without leveraging the experiences and perspectives of the broadest possible diversity of students, faculty, and staff,” Schlissel said at his inauguration.
President Schlissel has formed a committee to discuss changes that have been proposed in order to increase diversity and inclusivity at the University. Robert Sellers, chair of the psychology department, also chairs this committee, with the president of the Alumni Association, Steve Grafton, being a member. Schlissel will present these issues later in the year.
At an open forum held last week, Dean Andrew Martin addressed the needs of LSA students. Regarding concerns over the racial climate on campus, Martin said that “This campus is getting more homogeneous over time, and that’s not a good thing.” He further explained: His focus is on improving the classroom rather than in the actual admissions.
One way that students and administration have focused on improving discussions of diversity in the classroom is through the Race and Ethnicity Academic Requirement. Revamping the Race and Ethnicity Requirement to further its impact has been on the agendas for both Central Student Government and LSA Student Government. In their current election, LSA Student Government included a ballot question to gauge whether or not students feel that the requirement should be redefined or is sufficient as is.
CSG also recently passed a resolution to revise the non-discrimination policy to include provisions to protect students from discrimination based on relationship status or sexual expression. According to the most-recent CSG Bulletin, it also aims “to create a more inclusive campus environment.” The resolution passed with 34 CSG members voting in favor, two abstaining, and zero voting against.
By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) recently called for specific action to be taken to increase minority enrollment after there was a slight decrease in the overall enrollment of underrepresented minorities this semester.
What’s your take on the campus changes in diversity this year?