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EMU Creates Commission On Diversity And Inclusion As A Result Of Racist Graffiti On Campus

After another racist graffiti message was found on a wall at Eastern Michigan University, a new approach will be used to address the issue. 

EMU president James Smith announced the creation of the President's Commission on Diversity and Inclusion during Thursday's EMU Board of Regents meeting.  The commission will consist of students, faculty, staff, and community members.  

"We want as broad of a mission as we can to increase the tolerance message on campus, the acceptance message on campus, the integration of thought message on campus."

The president will appoint the members of the commission but welcomes nominations.  Those can be e-mailed to president@emich.edu.  

Smith added that finding those responsible for the messages and making sure they stop is a priority for him.  He, along with the Board of Regents chair Mike Morris, spoke about the latest racist message found at EMU.

But some students, like Zollie Cole, who attended the very calm meeting, were not happy with how it was addressed.

"The president stated verbatim what the guy in the beginning stated, in the beginning of the meeting. So mostly, he was looking at his paper, so, to us, seemed very rehearsed and scripted. It did not seem sincere. '

But President Smith says they are taking the situation very seriously, and they care about students. 

"We had a lot to say in a short period of time, and we want to make sure we got all of it in there. Does not mean it's not heartfelt."

The university has been addressing the situation since September when a racist message was found on a wall at King Hall on campus.

Among the other topics, the Board of Regents discussed was approving more than $57 million in student aid for the 2017-2018 academic year.  That's nearly a $2.9 million increase or about 5.3 percent from the 2016-2017 financial aid budget.

Meanwhile, it was also announced that Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack will serve as speaker during EMU's fall commencement on December 17.  Vietnam war hero and Medal of Honor winner Lt. Col. Charles Kettles will receive an honorary degree that day.  Kettles also happens to be an EMU alumnus.


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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu

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