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May 22, 2006 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-05-22

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Administration enlists students
in campaign for diversity

In response to
alleged hate crime,
U' directs new
student campaign
By Molly Bowen
Daily Staff Reporter
University administrators puzzle
endlessly over how to promote diver-
sity and tolerance on campus. But
with the new Expect Respect cam-
paign, they are going to let students
puzzle for them.
After the alleged hate crime last
fall where a student was accused of
urinating on two Asian students and
slinging ethnic slurs - administra-
tors scrambled to implement a cen-
tralized mechanism for reporting
hate and bias incidents on campus.
Early this spring, administrators
sent an e-mail to all spring and sum-
mer students encouraging them to
become a part of a student steering
The steering committee is the
student component of the Expect
Respect Campaign, a joint effort
between students and administra-

tors to promote tolerance, respect
and understanding of diversity on
"It was pretty obvious to us that
the administration as (an) adminis-
tration had gone about as far as we
could go," said Dean of Students
Sue Eklund. Eklund said the admin-
istration needed to gauge students'
willingness to join in the effort.
According to Assistant Vice Presi-
dent of Student Affairs Roopal Shah,
the campaign will highlight student
involvement through the steering
committee by working with existing
student groups.
"The goal is to sort of better
weave the message of the campaign
into already existing student orga-
nizations," Shah said. "It shouldn't
be that we're making policy and it
shouldn't be that we're another stu-
dent organization."
LSA junior Andy Ramos, a mem-
ber of the steering committee, said a
student committee is essential for the
campaign to make a real change.
"The change has to come from the
students," Ramos said. "If we real-
ly want this atmosphere of respect
and diversity, it can't be something

imposed by the administration."
LSA senior Timothy Wiggins, who
is also on the steering committee,
said the University lacks integration
of different cultures and identities
despite its diversity.
"You may not agree with certain
things, but to respect and have toler-
ance is sort of what this campaign is
pushing for," Wiggins said.
Ramos envisions even higher aspi-
rations for the campaign.
"As far as inter-group dialogue
goes, I feel that there is a lot of
diversity at Michigan," Ramos said.
"However, I think it needs to be taken
to the next level. We're not only try-
ing to promote an atmosphere of
respect, but we want to be involved
in one another's activities."
The steering committee is current-
ly planning a kick-off event for the
fall as well as publicity campaigns.
The campaigns will be launched on
websites including MySpace.com,
Facebook.com and Wikipedia.org.
"Obviously, right now, there is
a lot of ideology flowing around,"
Ramos said. "There needs to be a lot
of implementation. It's going to be a
long process."

Jim Schreiber, Timothy Wiggins, Atasi Satpathy and Andy Ramos are leaders of the
University's Expect Respect Campaign's newly formed Student Steering Committee.

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