Engin. school dean: Committed to tolerance

To the Daily:

The faculty, staff and students of the College of Engineering are working hard to create an environment that is welcoming to all and permits every person to succeed at his or her maximum capability. This effort benefits everyone, but is critical for women and minority students and faculty in a field previously dominated by white men. We still have much work to do, but we are proud of the progress we have made in diversifying both our student body and faculty. As we strive for a demographic in the College of Engineering that increasingly reflects the outside world, we are providing educational opportunities for a broad cross-section of the overall population and creating an improved learning experience for both majority and minority students.

It saddens me to report that, at the end of last semester, an incident occurred in one of our classrooms showing that we all still have work to do in creating a welcoming climate for women students and faculty. A few moments before class was to begin, an unidentified male student approached a female engineering professor and stated that he had a poster showing her or someone who looked like her. He then unfurled a poster of two scantily clad women kissing, and asked the instructor to sign the poster. The professor refused to engage in the conversation and handled the event professionally. I am told that, upon learning of the incident, students in the class communicated to the professor their displeasure at what had occurred.

Although we do not know the identity of the perpetrator – he was not enrolled in the course – I hope that other students have impressed upon him that his behavior was disruptive and immature. We also know that such behavior qualifies as intimidation and sexual harassment. The College of Engineering will not tolerate such departures from civility. Such acts create a poor climate for everyone and make it more difficult for members of underrepresented groups to work effectively, be judged fairly and gain proper recognition for their accomplishments. We ask that all students join the College of Engineering as we strive to create a positive learning environment in our corner of the campus community.

David Munson

Dean of Engineering

Graduation was best moment of time at ‘U’

To the Daily:

After reading in The Detroit News that this year’s graduation ceremony will be moved to Eastern Michigan University, I think that the students currently at the University of Michigan should have a problem with this. Going to graduation at the Big House was the best part of spending four years of my life in Ann Arbor. If I were a graduating student, I wouldn’t care if the University held the ceremony in the parking lot of the Big House, there would no way that it should be held outside of Ann Arbor, though.

Getting through the University was no cakewalk. But I will never forget how I felt when I arrived at the Big House and saw so many people in caps and gowns who I had never seen before graduation day. I knew that when I graduated from the University it would be with thousands of people. That fact alone is what attracted me to come here.

As an alum, I encourage students to push for the administration to go as far as needed to have the ceremony at the Big House, even if it means building a makeshift stage in the parking lot.

Jacquise Purifoy


University owes senior class reconsideration

To the Daily:

The news that my commencement was going to be held off-campus at Eastern Michigan University was a shock for a number of reasons. This is a disappointing development that will surely put a damper on what would have been an important milestone in my life. For four years I have looked forward to celebrating my years at the University with my friends and family in the Big House. Some of my best memories as a student have occurred in the stadium, and I can’t believe that I will have to end my Michigan career off-campus.

The University owes it to its seniors to honor their accomplishment by allowing the commencement to take place on campus. While I realize that the current construction schedule has the bathrooms being worked on during commencement, I don’t think it would be unreasonable for the schedule to be changed for commencement to be held at the Big House. I think I speak for a large majority of the graduating students when I say that I hope the administration sincerely reconsiders this disappointing decision by finding an on-campus option for our commencement.

Justin Benson

LSA senior

The letter writer is the former vice president of LSA Student Government.

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