A student activist group at the University of Michigan is demanding campus officials provide them with “a permanent designated space on central campus for Black students and students of color to organize and do social justice work.”
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 and others in the center of campus.
The new center is considered a “multicultural” one open to all students, but is under construction at the behest of a student group called Being Black at the University of Michigan, whose members complained that black students are marginalized because the original multicultural center they use is located on the outskirts of campus.
In their demands, students explain why the new multicultural student center is not enough, “because we want a space solely dedicated to community organizing and social justice work specifically for people of color.”
The demands were first presented last fall, but an updated version was refiled with administrators in late January after a series of incidents deemed racist, according to the demand letter.
This list of demands also call for more support for “marginalized” students “when oppressive attacks occur,” increasing the affirmative action of “Black, Arab, and other PoC” in tenured faculty, more readily alerting students on campus of “bias incidents,” and offering more financial aid for those of lower socioeconomic status.