University of Michigan hosting virtual student town hall on racism Friday

“We cannot ignore this reality,” wrote U-M President Schlissel in statement

The University of Michigan Law Quad on Aug. 18, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan will be holding a virtual town hall on racism for students on Friday as protests over police and civilian killings continue to grip the nation.

U-M’s chief diversity officer Robert Sellers will be hosting the event.

“It is important as a university community we acknowledge the anguish people are experiencing,” Sellers said in a statement. “There is also a need for an open dialogue around the issue of racism in America.”

The focus of the town hall will be discussing ways to combat racism through relationships, daily activities and challenging conversations.

It aims to provide a platform for the university community to approach the topics of race, law enforcement and protest through the lens of scholarship and is designed as a show of solidarity.

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Several peaceful protests have taken place this past week on U-M’s campus.

“I want to thank everyone in the U-M community who has spoken out, advanced peaceful protest, offered support and sent the message that we won’t tolerate racism and vile acts that end the lives of our fellow human beings,” wrote President Mark Schlissel in a statement. “I also call upon all of us to commit to helping to create the changes we need to end structural racism in all of its forms.”

Set for noon, the event will feature the following panelists:

  • President Mark Schlissel
  • Eddie L Washington - executive director of the Division of Public Safety and Security
  • Riana Anderson - assistant professor of health behavior and health education at the U-M School of Public Health
  • Eugene Rogers - co-creator of “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,” director of Choral Activities and conductor of the U-M Chamber Choir, School of Music, Theatre and Dance
  • Darlena York - undergraduate student in political science and Afro-American and African studies, parliamentarian for the National Pan-Hellenic Council, president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., Iota Psi Chapter and secretary of the U-M NAACP chapter

The event, coordinated by the Office for the Vice President for Communications, is presented in partnership with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the President’s Office and the Division of Public Safety and Security.

Students can submit questions and concerns in advance.

The session will be streamed live on U-M’s YouTube channel and will be titled “Constructive Conversations for Societal Change.”

A recording of the event will be available on YouTube after it ends.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.