Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Senate Assembly urges administration to assess diversity progress

The faculty Senate Assembly voted Monday to present the administration with a resolution asking it to determine the causes of a lack of progress in improving campus diversity.


Read the resolution passed by the Senate Assembly.

The resolution, which passed 27-9 with one abstention, states it is imperative that the university seeks to "determine the cause(s) of the now decades-long lack of progress in improving campus diversity" and seek new creative approaches to meeting the goal of a more diverse and inclusive campus.

The resolution also calls for broadening the scope of efforts to include modern definitions of diversity — not only race, color and national origin, but also age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, veteran status and economic class.

Before the vote, members rose to speak for and against presenting such a resolution to the administration.

Scott Masten, professor of business economics and public policy, said the university has made progress in this area, and that a presentation detailing progress would be in order before pursuing such a resolution.

"What I'm concerned about is the university has made efforts. This is a little bit premature without hearing exactly what the administration is doing," he said.

Ellen Muehlberger, assistant professor of Near Eastern studies and history, spoke in favor of the measure.

"To wait suggests we don't think it's a problem," she said.

The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) voted April 8 to present the resolution to the Senate Assembly. SACUA is the executive arm of U-M's faculty governance system.

SACUA created the resolution following discussion of an earlier draft document that was created with key input from members of two committees: the Committee on University Values and the Committee for an Inclusive University. That document lamented the lack of progress on diversity over the past 20 years.