Page 10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 12, 1987
-We are asked to love or to hate such and such a country and such
and such a people. But some of us feel too strongly our common humanity
to make such a choice.
This month as we begin our selection process for 1987-88 resident staff, we want to
take an opportunity to reaffirm our professional and personal committment to a
sensitive, tolerant, and humane community in our residence halls. We desire to build
residence hall communities in which individuals are not harassed, excluded, or made to
feel uncomfortable because of color, religion, unconventional lifestyles, or political
beliefs. Many students use their college years to explore and develop their personal
identity and values, and we ardently believe that this exploration can best take place
in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.
As important as it is to state one's goals, it is equally important to recognize when we
fall short of meeting them. Several weeks ago, 25,000 people, including some U-M
staff and students, marched in Forsythe County, Georgia, to remind all of us how
much progress has not been made in overcoming racial prejudice since the death of
Martin Luther King, Jr. Two weeks ago an act of racial bigotry occurred in a U of M 4
residence hall that served as a more local reminder that our community, too, has its
share of intolerance. A threatening, demeaning, and derogatory flier was put under
the door of a lounge in which a group of Black students was meeting. Sadly, although
this example is particularly repugnant, there have been other similar and troubling
instances, both subtle and overt, in recent months.
What can be done?- 4
It is essential that human rights be a cornerstone of our enterprise, and we will continue
to articulate it as such. As educators and counselors, we are committed to work
with students to help them look at themselves, to examine their values and conduct,
and to keep questioning those values when they reflect an origin of fear, or anger,
or ignorance. We will continue to convey to our residents that acts of racial hatred
are acts of hatred against us all, and that they will not be condoned or tolerated.
Individuals, both on-campus and off, must share in the personal responsibility of
confronting racist behavior and comments.
The University is a special place. It is a community designed to foster freedom
of thought and unconventional, even uncomfortable opinions. It attempts to provide
an environment for inquiry in which innovation and creativity are nurtured. And we
aspire as well to an ideal of openness - an allowance not only for people to be
different, but a recognition that diversity is the virtual core of University life.
We have a unique opportunity at the University of Michigan to celebrate diversity
to its fullest - to visit the world through the eyes of our students who are here from
almost every country, and to learn more about our own country through their insights.
As an institution, we all must continue to strive to fulfill our ideals, and to do better
than we are doing. Please join us in a reaffirmation of our common humanity.
THE HOUSING DIVISION
OFFICE OF STUDENT SERVICES
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer