University hiring students for 'coalition building'

Not all students believe it's the best use of money, including the school's College Republicans chairman

The students will be paid $10 an hour to "dismantl[e] racism" through activities like “dialogic based exercises,” “critical reflection,” and “storytelling”

The University of Michigan announced it is hiring “student facilitators” to run “anti-racism” and “coalition building” workshops. 

“Student facilitators” at the University of Michigan will work within the  Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) and be paid $10 per hour for 10 hours per week, according to the job announcement. The facilitators will focus on “coalition building and dismantling racism” through activities like “dialogic based exercises,” “critical reflection,” and “storytelling.”

The job details page explains that the facilitators will be responsible for developing curricula for workshops. Facilitators will also be expected to publicize these workshops heavily throughout campus, which includes sending emails, visiting student organizations, and promoting their events on social media.

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In order to be a facilitator, a student must have “an interest in and/or increasing familiarity with social identities, specifically race and ethnicity, along with social justice and U-M campus climate,” as well as having a “demonstrated commitment and understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

MESA is aiming to hire four facilitators, which would cost the department $400 per week. That means the university will pay $5,600 per semester, to employ student facilitators. Student tuition per semester at the University of Michigan’s main campus in Ann Arbor is $7,467, according to the Office of the Registrar. 

The University of Michigan’s College Republicans chairman Dylan Berger told Campus Reform that while he agrees the university needs to confront racism, it can do so in more cost-effective ways.

“It is essential for our U of M community to confront the menace of racism whenever and wherever it presents itself,” Berger said. “However, another costly program meant to combat racism is just not necessary. The ‘student facilitators’ the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs plans on hiring appear to have little well-defined responsibilities while carrying significant cost.”

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Berger said that the money could be used in much better ways, such as a scholarship for minority students.

“There are certainly better uses for the money than this program. Many students, especially students of color, are struggling to pay the sky-high tuition here at U of M,” Berger said. “I believe that [a] scholarship program would have been [a] far more impactful way to spend funds than yet another redundant program with a vague mission to promote diversity.”

University of Michigan spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen told Campus Reform that the facilitator job was created at the request of students at the university but did not elaborate further.

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