To the University of Michigan Regents and Presidential Advisory Search Committee:

The Association of Black Professionals, Administrators, Faculty and Staff feels that the candidate selected as the new president of the University must have a documented history of a strong commitment to racial diversity. We request that the selection committee obtain and address documented data that support the selected candidate’s successful work in promoting racial diversity in a university setting. In addition, the selected candidate should have a verifiable history of having supported and instituted policies that promote the recruitment and retention of African American faculty, staff and students.

One of the most important attributes of a successful and vibrant university is the cultural diversity of its students, faculty and staff. Given the current climate of the University, with growing African American student dissatisfaction and protest, and the filing of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints from African American staff in the University of Michigan Health System, we believe it is essential that the new president is aware of and willing to act upon issues, such as poor recruitment and retention of African Americans in many units around campus.

In many instances, the lack of recruitment of African Americans is directly related to current departmental policies and processes that allow failed and ineffective practices to continue to exist. Furthermore, in many units, African Americans are undervalued and not appropriately promoted. We are also concerned about the lack of presence of African Americans in the skilled trade positions within the University and in the workforce of suppliers and contractors.

Additionally, we request that the new president embrace and support health system executive leadership in a continued effort to make the UMHS a more inviting, accepting, engaging and equitable place for African American staff, faculty and patients.

The new president must also be supportive of developing programs that foster collaboration and partnerships between the University and its neighboring institutions and communities: Detroit, Metro Detroit, Ypsilanti, Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. The new president should also build relationships with the city of Ann Arbor to help create a climate in the city of Ann Arbor that is welcoming to all students, faculty and staff. The experiences of faculty and students are not only affected by the campus climate, but also by the climate of the adjoining city, and the new president should join other area leaders in improving the climate.

We request that the final candidates meet with our organization, ABPAFS, during their on-campus interview sessions for a question-and-answer session. Once a candidate is selected for the position we request that the new president regularly meet with our organization to continue the dialogue and work of addressing issues that affect African Americans on campus. Concrete institutional goals and systemic practices must be established to significantly improve the recruitment, retention and satisfaction of African American faculty, students and staff. Additionally, we request that interval assessments be conducted to evaluate the University’s progress in meeting these goals.

The Association of Black Professionals, Administrators, Faculty and Staff

Leon Howard III is the president of ABPAFS and a hall director.
Sonja Brandon is the vice president of ABPAFS and an administrative specialist for senior healthcare.
Darquillius Johnson is the treasurer of ABPAFS and a hall director.
Terrance Wilbert is the assistant treasurer of ABPAFS and a hall director.
Shelley Clifton is the secretary of ABPAFS and is the Associate Managing Director of Oversight and Performance.
Charles Ransom is a member of ABPAFS and a Multicultural Studies librarian.
Jeffery Harrold is a member of ABPAFS and is the coordinator for Academic Standards and Special Populations.

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