A student activist group at the University of Michigan is demanding a separate place for “Black students and students of color to organize and do social justice work.”
As The College Fix reports:
The demand is one of several lodged by “Students4Justice,” who this month ratcheted up campus demonstrations to pressure administrators to cave, complaining in a newly launched petition that President Mark Schlissel has snubbed their demands. The clamor for a segregated space for students of color to organize social justice efforts comes even as the public university builds a $10 million center for black students in the center of campus.
The petition, addressed to Schlissel, reads:
We are disappointed in you. Your lackluster leadership has continued for too long. When students marched to your house in the middle of the night following an attack and hate crime that threatened to kill members of our campus community, we expected you to lead us with strength. This is not to say you can never be vulnerable– good leaders must be. Good leaders, however, do not say “I feel helpless” when they have not done their utmost to enact change. You have not put in the necessary work and effort into improving our campus, and until you do, it is a disservice to students to hear you say “I feel helpless.” If we as an institution are truly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, where is your creativity for making the things you say you value a reality? . . .
The petition then lists an assorted number of grievances the students have with Schlissel.
The demand letter states that the new black student center is not enough, “because we want a space solely dedicated to community organizing and social justice work specifically for people of color . . . We want documentation of past, current, and future student activism and this should be a permanent space that is staffed, and has resources for students to organize and share resources.”
The Michigan Review, which first reported on the issue, stated, “The same organization that criticizes the University for failing to create ‘an environment that engages in diversity, equity and inclusion,’ is calling upon the University to undermine these ideals by facilitating a sort of de facto segregation? One where space and resources are designated for students based solely on the color of their skin? . . . To advocate for the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion, while simultaneously calling upon the University to sanction these spaces on campus is both unprincipled and laughably regressive.”
Students4Justice posted on Facebook, “Our president has blatantly ignored us and it is time for us to speak up. We have been told that our demands are ‘rude.’ We are calling on someone to care about students’ concerns and to lead us with integrity and help us fight against the oppression and hateful acts that try to destroy us and our community.”