1. Message to the university community regarding racist incidents

    September 21, 2017

    To the University of Michigan community:

    We have begun the academic year with both pride and pain. We are proud to welcome students back to campus from every corner of our state, across the nation and around the world. Yet it is painful to see our Latinx community targeted during Welcome Week with a painted rock and our African-American community with racist graffiti in a residence hall as classes were starting.

    As disgusted as we are by these racist acts, we also feel a tremendous sense of pride over how our broader community has come together to counter these acts. Outreach and statements of support have taken place across our campus community.

    The Black Student Union issued a strong statement regarding the racist graffiti in a residence hall and that message was amplified by university leaders.

    Outreach to affected communities took place through LSA, the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and many others. The U-M faculty leadership has issued strong statements regarding these incidents.

    All of these actions and more are detailed here:
    http://publicaffairs.vpcomm.umich.edu/racist-slurs-on-residence-halls-doors/

    We also appreciated the opportunity Wednesday night to hear directly from many of our students of color and their allies about the individual and community impact of these racist incidents.

    We heard anger and frustration in the voices of our students and we share that frustration and anger. Words and actions meant to hurt someone based on their identity have no place at the University of Michigan and we condemn them. We are committed to doing everything within our power to halt these disgraceful incidents.

    As these incidents were reported, the university immediately reached out to the targeted students to offer support and to begin an investigation.

    We want to assure our community that the university’s Division of Public Safety and Security takes each one of these incidents very seriously and continues to vigorously investigate. DPSS officers immediately reached out to the targeted students and continue to pursue any additional potential witnesses and gather evidence. Please contact U-M Police at 734-763-1131 if you have information that may help investigators determine who did this.

    If investigators are able to identify those responsible, the university will pursue these matters to the fullest extent provided for by the laws of the state of Michigan and university policy.

    It was important to hear Wednesday directly from those students most affected by these cowardly acts and we genuinely hope that further discussions and collaboration will lead to meaningful measures that will help us all combat these incidents. Each of us needs to do everything in our power to be the kind of community where such behavior is universally condemned.

    It remains more important than ever that we support each other. If you see something, say something. You can report incidents such as these to the university’s Bias Response team here:
    https://deanofstudents.umich.edu/article/bias-response-team

    The Bias Response Team also is in the final stages of developing both an annual report on bias incidents addressed during the past year and an online log of current incidents that would be updated weekly.

    Finally, these efforts will only be successful if we, members of the leadership team of this great institution of higher learning, are able to effectively work together with all members of our community to create a place where each one of us feels at home. We stand in firm belief that all members of our community have a place here at the University of Michigan.

    Sincerely,

    Mark S. Schlissel
    President

    Martin A. Philbert
    Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

    Kevin Hegarty
    Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    Marschall S. Runge
    Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs

    Robert Sellers
    Chief Diversity Officer

    Sally J. Churchill
    Vice President and Secretary of the University

    E. Royster Harper
    Vice President for Student Life

    S. Jack Hu
    Vice President for Research

    Timothy G. Lynch
    Vice President and General Counsel

    Jerry A. May
    Vice President for Development

    Kallie Bila Michels
    Vice President for Communications

    Kelli Trosvig
    Vice President for Information Technology

    Cynthia H. Wilbanks
    Vice President for Government Relations