UMich 'doubling down' on DEI with latest campus-wide initiative

Michigan's new 'DEI 2.0 Plan' includes proposals to 'enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in biomedical and health sciences.'

The plan also reaffirms a commitment to 'environmental justice,' pointing to a recently created chief environmental, social, and governance officer at Michigan Health.

On Oct. 9, the University of Michigan unveiled its “DEI 2.0 Plan,” laying out its five-year blueprint for the next round of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives to implement on campus. 

Tabbye Chavous, the school’s chief diversity officer, reportedly told students that with DEI 2.0, UMich was “doubling down and not backing down on DEI.” She added that, “What we do in our next 2.0 journey will impact [the University], higher education and our broader society.”

The new plan includes an initiative to hire staff based on “DEI Values,” while another program promises to “enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in biomedical and health sciences by recruiting 30 new tenure-track assistant professors” with “diverse social and disciplinary identities.” 

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There was also an initiative dedicated entirely to “Enhancing Black Student Representation & Experiences” with programming designed to “produce equitable opportunities for access, success and a sense of belonging for Black students, in particular.”

Michigan’s plan also reaffirms its commitment to “environmental justice” by promising to work towards “carbon neutrality,” touting a recently-created chief environmental, social, and governance officer at Michigan Health.   

Anders Vendt, a junior studying economics at Michigan, told Campus Reform that in his experience, U-M’s DEI efforts have been counterproductive.

“DEI hasn’t helped me learn anything that is going to be useful for my career or to develop as a person and that is the purpose for me being at school,” Vendt said. 

As for the environmental items, Vendt said, “I don’t have the slightest idea as to how that has to do with diversity, equity and inclusion.”

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Ben Estell, a Michigan computer science major, said, “The university administration is not shy about the fact that diversity, equity, and inclusion are among their chief goals and objectives.”

“The DEI 2.0 report indicates that U of M is unhappy with the current level of ‘diversity,’ by which they mean diversity of skin color, on campus,” he continued, “and strives to increase diversity on campus, through various programs specifically implemented to increase the percentage of non-white students, and specifically improve outcomes for non-white students, at the expense of everyone.”

Estell believes this will have a detrimental effect on the campus climate, saying that “it will only serve to reinforce the idea that DEI is the goal above all goals and that individual character and achievement will continue to be valued less.”

When asked for comment, a university spokesperson referred Campus Reform to an official Michigan news article on the plan.