1. Email to Students on Diversity Summit and Racial Injustice in Higher Education

    November 13, 2015

    Dear Students:

    I want to express my appreciation to those of you who participated in and shared your experiences during our Diversity Summit this past week, an important part of the process we began several months ago to develop Michigan’s first campus level strategic plan to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion.   I also want to respond to concerns many of you have expressed regarding racial strife at the University of Missouri and Yale.

    I agree that we must work together to end racial injustice in higher education. Racism and discrimination have no place on our college campuses or elsewhere in society. I stand behind you as you reach out in support of your fellow students here and on other campuses around the country.

    We have spent the last week discussing these issues and confronting them as a community. At the summit and during demonstrations on the Diag, you have shared experiences about being at personal risk or being denied an equal opportunity to succeed at the University of Michigan because of who you are.

    Your voices are being heard. During the summit, we asked for your thoughts and ideas. I especially appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from many of you during the Community Assembly and Student Town Hall on Tuesday. I commend you for telling us where and how U-M is not living up to the values to which we aspire.

    Please know that the experiences you have shared this week will inform the ongoing efforts of the hundreds of individuals on our campus, including myself, who are working to make us better.

    I hope you will continue to help us with our work and that we can come together as a community.  In addition to closely examining the feedback you have already shared with us at the summit and throughout the strategic planning process, I invite you to engage further through our diversity web site.

    We cannot reach our full potential as a university when there are so many among us who are unable to fully share in all this great university has to offer. We must do better, and we will. Ensuring that U-M is an environment free of discrimination is one of the most important goals of the process we have undertaken to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at U-M.


    Mark Schlissel