The University of Michigan's Black Student Union says it's unacceptable that it has not yet been contacted by the university regarding seven demands presented Monday by the Union and the group Being Black at U-of-M.
Geralyn Gaines is Secretary of the Black Student Union, which has threatened "physical actions" if its demands are not met in seven days. She says the actions will be non-violent, but declined to be more specific.
The demands made Monday include making affordable housing for low-income students available on the main campus, giving black students experiencing financial difficulty emergency scholarships, improving the university's multicultural center, and giving black students an equal chance to effect change.
The group’s full demand:
- We demand that the university give us an equal opportunity to implement change, the change that complete restoration of the BSU purchasing power through an increased budget would obtain.
- We demand available housing on central campus for those of lower socio-economic status at a rate that students can afford, to be a part of university life, and not just on the periphery.
- We demand an opportunity to congregate and share our experiences in a new Trotter [Multicultural Center] located on central campus.
- We demand an opportunity to be educated and to educate about America’s historical treatment and marginalization of colored groups through race and ethnicity requirements throughout all schools and colleges within the university.
- We demand the equal opportunity to succeed with emergency scholarships for black students in need of financial support, without the mental anxiety of not being able to focus on and afford the university's academic life.
- We demand increased exposure of all documents within the Bentley (Historical) Library. There should be transparency about the university and its past dealings with race relations.
- We demand an increase in black representation on this campus equal to 10 percent.
University Provost Martha Pollack said Monday the school is focusing on three areas: Improving the Trotter Multicultural Center, improving the climate on campus, and increasing enrollment of under-represented minorities as allowed by law.
Gaines says the Provost's comments were "comforting," but fall short of what the Black Student Union expects from the university.
— Bob Eccles is a reporter and the host of 89.1 WEMU's All Things Considered. Contact him at 734.487.3363, email him firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @BobEcclesWEMU