Last semester, students at the University of Michigan garnered national attention on Twitter. By using the hashtag #BBUM, minority students were able to successfully conduct a dialogue about race relations on campus.
Blacks don’t even make up five percent of the university’s enrollment, and described hostile and/or ignorant comments as everyday occurrences. The Twitter protest quickly spread to other universities in the state.
Last week, Provost Martha E. Pollack cited the #BBUM movement as a catalyst for a series of new efforts to expand black enrollment and to address other grievances raised by black students, such as concerns over the physical state and location of a multicultural center that is distant from central campus and in need of repairs.
But on Monday, the Martin Luther King holiday, the Black Student Union at Michigan announced that those efforts were not sufficient. It said that it was giving the university seven days to comply with seven demands or it it would consider “physical” forms of activism. (The transcript released by the students used the phrase “physical activism,” but local news outlets reported — and YouTube video appears to confirm — that the phrase “physical action” was used, though not defined, at the rally.)Via email, Robert Greenfield, treasurer of the Black Student Union, said that physical did not mean violent, and that any protests would be “peaceful.”
The students are demanding that more emergency scholarships for black students in need of financial support be available, along with an increase in black enrollment to 10 percent.
The full list of demands can be found here.
Thoughts on the students’ demands?
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