My first experience in the Fleming Administration Building on the campus of the University of Michigan came as a graduate student in the 1980s. It was loud, and it was passionate.
I was one of dozens of students united in protest over the lack of diversity among the university’s faculty, staff, and student body. We called for divestment from South Africa and its system of apartheid. We demanded a more inclusive and equitable campus climate. We staged overnight sit-ins and shut down a Board of Regents meeting.
Today, 30 years later, my office is on the third floor of that same building. My position as vice provost for equity, inclusion, and academic affairs – a role created as a result of those student protests – provides me a unique perspective to see where we’ve made progress in issues of equity and inclusion. It also provides daily reminders of how far we still must travel to meet our true potential as an institution of higher education.