Hot Issues on Campus this Fall
September 8, 2006
Dear University of Michigan Community,
Our University has a longstanding tradition of diverse intellectual inquiry, freedom of expression, and respect for all persons. Events transpiring this fall, including growing global conflicts and a Michigan ballot proposal to ban affirmative action, may create an environment that challenges those values.
When matters of intense emotional impact are presented on campus, it is vital that we uphold the cherished values upon which our academic community depends. Candid expression and open debate are intrinsic to academic freedom. At the same time, we owe each other respect as human beings and as fellow members of this scholarly community. We must work together to build a community that is welcoming to all and that does not foster intolerance and discrimination.
A number of resources and programs are underway that celebrate our diversity and create safe spaces for dialogue about important topics. We encourage you to take advantage of these resources and to consider helping to plan, serving as a speaker for, or attending one or more events on campus this fall.
Respect for one another - our backgrounds, experiences and perspectives - is the foundation of our diverse community. Expect Respect is an educational initiative aimed at supporting a campus climate which respects the dignity of all persons.
This program showcases the countless ways we can celebrate both our differences and similarities, while at the same time educating ourselves about discrimination and acts of intolerance. We are particularly excited about events and programs planned by student organizations across campus, and we anticipate a robust calendar of activities (http://urespect.umich.edu/calendar) for the academic year.
Expect Respect activities include an MCRI Informational Workshop and dialogue skills development session on September 27; and the “Building the Capacity for Inclusive Leadership Series: 10 Ways to Fight Hate on Campus Training Program” on October 4.
Please educate yourself about the Expect Respect initiative and contribute your ideas at http://www.urespect.umich.edu. We encourage student groups and University departments to submit events for inclusion in the Expect Respect calendar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) has developed specific resources for instructors on conducting classroom discussions on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) ballot proposal and on affirmative action and other issues related to gender and race. CRLT has a long history in supporting instructors in multicultural teaching and has developed extensive resources for diverse classrooms. We encourage faculty and graduate student instructors to take advantage of these excellent resources, available on the CRLT website at http://www.crlt.umich.edu.
This fall, the Office of Institutional Equity unveils its Campus Commitment program, which provides educational programs to student, faculty and staff organizations. This program encourages a welcoming climate built on mutual respect for all members of the University community.
Educational programs will emphasize civil rights and the proper identification of discrimination and harassment to create a greater understanding of bias and the resources that are available to members of the University community. Campus Commitment will include interactive discussions, training sessions and publications that define the various forms of discrimination. For more information on Campus Commitment, visit http://www.umich.edu/~hraa/oie.
On October 9, the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost will host a Fall Summit on Diversity. A biennial event, the 2006 Summit will focus on a broad discussion of the integral role and value of diversity - of people, ideas, and backgrounds - within our University community.
While the Summit is an invitation-only event, it can be viewed live online and on the Michigan Channel (Comcast Channel 22), from 9-11:30 a.m. on October 9.
University of Michigan Health System
The Health System also has regular programs and information on diversity for the health care community. For details, go to http://www.med.umich.edu/diversity/.
Nearly 120 years ago, the national Harper’s Weekly told readers across America of the welcoming atmosphere at Michigan, noting “The most striking feature of the University is the broad and liberal spirit in which it does its work … [T]he doors of the University are open to all applicants who are properly qualified, from whatever part of the world they may come.” This important legacy of inclusiveness and respect grew and expanded over the decades, and we ask that you join us in carrying it forward today.
Mary Sue Coleman
Teresa A. Sullivan
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
E. Royster Harper
Vice President for Student Affairs
Lester P. Monts
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Laurita E. Thomas
Associate Vice President for Human Resources