Delving Into Diversity

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On Oct. 6, the University launched a campuswide strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion that has been a year in the making. (The photo above is from one of many meetings held across campus.) The plan, titled “Many Voices, Our Michigan,” includes $85 million in new investments over five years and incorporates 49 individuals plans from schools, colleges, and units on campus.

In an event held at the Power Center, Robert Sellers, U-M vice provost for equity, inclusion, and academic affairs, outlined three strategic areas of the plan: create an inclusive and equitable campus climate; recruit, retain, and develop a diverse community; and support innovative and inclusive scholarship and teaching.

“Because we are Michigan,” Sellers said, “that change can have an impact in higher education broadly.”

In addition to the $85 million in new investments, $40 million is already allocated annually to diversity. And with the launch of the plan, U-M President Mark Schlissel announced his recommendation of Sellers, PhD’90, as the University’s first-ever chief diversity officer. The position, which comes before the U-M board of regents at its Oct. 20 meeting, will lead the implementation of the plan.

The event capped more than a week of discussions on campus about racial diversity and racism.

“In recent weeks, ugly and vile hatred have singled out groups in our community and sought to divide us,” Schlissel said at the Oct. 6 event. He referred to fliers with racist messages that appeared in Haven and Mason halls on the morning of Sept. 26. The messages sparked protests in Angell Hall that afternoon and around campus throughout the week, some of which drew more than 600 members of the U-M community.

On Oct. 2, Schlissel met with more than 180 people in a forum to address student concerns. While he praised those who attended the event, he stressed the need for larger community engagement on the topic. “Just having this group here, it does us good, but we are not reaching enough people.”

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