Posted on January 28, 2014

University to Allocate $300K to Trotter Center

Shoham Geva, Michigan Daily, January 26, 2014

The University of Michigan will allocate $300,000 for renovations to the Trotter Multicultural Center, according to the University’s Black Student Union representatives and University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

Members of the University’s administration and the BSU met on Friday for the first time.

In an interview with The Michigan Daily, LSA senior Tyrell Collier, BSU speaker, said there is no time frame on the building’s renovations yet. The University is currently evaluating costs and designs, but will identify a committee of students to contribute to the renovation process.

“I can say that was a satisfying conclusion for the Multicultural Center demand because I know a building cannot be built within the span of a year or something, I know it needs to be planned out, designed, all of that stuff,” Collier said. “I was at least very pleased with the allocation of that money for the renovations while they figure out the new building.”

Fitzgerald said the meeting was prompted by the seven demands and Monday deadline announced publicly last week by the BSU at a protest held Jan. 20.

Elizabeth Barry, special counsel to the president; E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life; Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones and Provost Martha Pollack represented the administration at the meeting. {snip}

Since the BSU’s viral Twitter campaign using #BBUM — or Being Black at Michigan — Pollack issued an e-mail promising change in the campus’ diversity climate with a list of several priorities to be implemented by the University.

However, the BSU subsequently protested in a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day demonstration, where they released a list of seven demands and a deadline of one week for the University to address them.

The demands included renovations and a more central location for the Trotter Center, increased minority enrollment and lower-cost housing on Central Campus, among other initiatives.

All seven demands issued Monday were discussed during the meeting, according to BSU executives. BSU members said they will continue to meet with the same administrators once a week for status updates on each initiative.


LSA senior Geralyn Gaines, BSU secretary, said in an interview Saturday with The Michigan Daily the organization is pleased with the proceedings so far, but expressed the need for more change.

“I think it was a good outcome but I think there’s so much more work to be done,” Gaines said. “It’s always nice to see the vision but we need to see the vision executed.”

[Editor’s Note: See here for the report noting the threat of “physical action” if the BSU demands were not met.]