The role of classism in the student experience

For a freshman beginning his education at the University of Michigan, navigating an overwhelmingly large campus can be difficult, especially if they come from a marginalized or underrepresented background. Unfortunately, just last year we have seen countless horrific examples of students and staff being attacked with abusive language, so this general fatigue and anxiety is understandable. However, the behavioral inertia of progress remains. The university is committed to acknowledging various aspects of social identities in order to build an acceptable and inclusive campus community.

A systemic infrastructure to encourage and celebrate cultural heterogeneity in the student body, including race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender, is essential to addressing the concerns that arise on a predominantly white campus. Even when active progress seemed to stagnate or virtually grind to a halt during the pandemic, the university was strategically aware of how its diverse student body would impact. In fact, in October 2023, the university will adopt DEI 2.0, an intricate and detailed plan that respects the fundamental and imperative principles proposed by DEI 1.0, while developing new institutional efforts to promote anti-racist initiatives.

DEI 2.0 involves the creation of more positions focused on DEI across campus, in a compartmentalized and departmental manner. We can also expect to see more seminars and public education focused on commemorating campus diversity. So while DEI’s efforts can seem mild and even muted at times, there is broad underlying progress and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has been well resourced and staffed to appreciate and welcome student diversity on campus To be called.

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