To the University of Michigan Community,
As we head toward the holiday season, I once again invite you to complete the DEI climate survey if you have not already. The climate survey provides one of the most effective and influential ways to hear your voice and experiences. The survey results will be critical to our evaluation of our first DEI strategic planning efforts and provide foundational information to support the University’s upcoming DEI 2.0 planning process.
As a result, the survey represents an integral mechanism by which voices that have historically been minoritized and invisible within the larger university community can help transform the University into becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
In developing the DEI climate survey, my staff has worked tirelessly to engage broad swaths of the university community to help create an instrument that is as inclusive as possible. We have spent countless hours working with members of different communities, including those whose experiences we hope the climate survey will better represent. Additionally, we have worked with experts to develop a survey that would respectfully capture the full panoply of experiences at the University. Despite these concerted efforts, we have not gotten it entirely correct.
For example, I recently received an open letter from our student community expressing concerns and providing suggested changes to demographic questions related to gender and sex. Let me first say that I acknowledge the harm experienced by some members of our community in completing the items in question. For that, I apologize. I am deeply sorry.
In our efforts toward continuous improvement and learning, we met with the author of the open letter to better understand the raised concerns. As a result, we have amended the survey to address the concerns raised in the letter and to hopefully avoid a similar situation moving forward. Invoking any type of harm is entirely contrary to our goal of empowering voices that have felt silenced, overlooked and/or underrepresented.
While we are not perfect, we are committed to always doing the best we can and always being open to learning.
In closing, I want to thank you if you have already completed the DEI climate survey. If you have not completed the survey, I encourage you to do so as soon as you are able. Your participation matters and will contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable campus climate for all. We need to hear from you.
Robert M. Sellers
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer