University president makes an appearance at BSU speakout

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 11:38pm

In the wake of several racially charged incidents across the University of Michigan campus, University president Mark Schlissel made his first appearance of the week at a gathering of members of the Black Student Union who convened Thursday evening in the basement of Trotter Multicultural Center to share their experiences and discuss next steps. 

Schlissel briefly spoke to the crowd of nearly 50 people, promoting a University-wide event slated for this Sunday to discuss race on campus. 

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Over the past few days, both student-curated protests and University-sanctioned events have occurred in response to racially charged fliers that were discovered Monday on Central Campus, as well as to a debate held Tuesday by the student organization Michigan Political Union over the merits of the Black Lives Matters movement.

The first protest occurred Monday, when students gathered in Angell Hall to protest the posters found earlier in the day. LSA also hosted an event Tuesday night for students to gather in solidarity and in support of each other regarding the fliers.

At Thursday’s event, LSA sophomore Kyle Trocard said while he believed Schlissel’s appearance was a step in the right direction for the administration, he also called it a sign of the work that has yet to be done.

LSA junior Jesse Love echoed these sentiments, but stressed that his remarks came from the perspective of one Black student, not the entire Black community on campus.

“I actually thought that (Schlissel's speech) was not going to be genuine, but I really firmly believe that he is making every effort to be an ally and trying to understand and maneuver through different spaces to make sure that we feel comfortable on this campus,”Love said.

LSA freshman Dania Harris said Schlissel’s presence alone wasn’t the response students were looking for, adding that she had wished he could have stayed longer to hear the discussion that followed.

“I think (Schlissel's speech) was nice,” Harris said. “I think it was nice that he showed up and came to our meeting, but at the same time it's not enough. He didn't stay for the whole thing and I think it would have been nice if he could have heard, first-hand, the students and what they had to say.”

Daily Staff Reporter Will Feuer contributed reporting to this article.