Remove Stephen M. Ross's Name From The University of Michigan!
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Dear Scott Derue, President Mark Schlissel, Deans, and Provost at The University of Michigan,
Every signer here are expressing concerns about the name of the Ross business school and all U-M associated buildings and programs amid recent controversy surrounding Stephen M. Ross and his affiliation with Trump and thus affiliation with white supremacy and Nazism. Recently, Ross held a fundraiser for Trump's 2020 Presidential Campaign and raised hundreds of millions of dollars. We understand that Ross is a major funder of the school, however, as students and alumni, and the leaders and best believe, the business school needs to reevaluate their positionality and consider the needs of marginalized students in the school by beginning the process of changing its name. Alumni from U-M have an open letter document to The University of Michigan as well. Not only is this an ethical issue, but graduates from the business school may find difficulties in being hired after graduating due to the school's reputation becoming under fire due to this association with Trump's administration.
The business school's name could revert to the original "The Michigan School of Business", for example. Additionally, with the many successful alumni from the school of business there are opportunities to find a more suitable donor to rename the school after. The business school can attract even more funding opportunities by making a bold statement in rejecting white supremacy. Many say we need to be "accepting of free speech" but there is a difference between free speech and threatening, hateful, and violence-provoking speech. Recently, for example, the El Paso shooter's manifesto word-for-word quoted many tweets from Trump concerning immigrants and how they're "invading the country". One can infer that trump inspired the murder of dozens of people and inspired many more instances of individuals who've been incited and empowered to commit domestic terrorism. We implore The University of Michigan -as it is our duty to speak up- to take this stand, consider funding benefits that would arise by taking this stand, and make a statement that will affect future alumni for decades to come in recognizing that white supremacy will not be tolerated at The University of Michigan and The United States.
Renaming the school is not a violation of "free-speech", it is simply a decision that the University of Michigan community can make as an institution to uphold its values.
For DEI to be upheld at The University of Michigan, this change needs to happen. Marginalized students already have enough discrimination to deal with without this blatant reminder of support for white supremacy. For example, from 2014 to 2018, the percentage of Latinx students who felt discriminated against jumped from 61% to 84% according to a study done by the Multicultural Praxis Lab. Renaming problematic buildings can and has been done, at C.C. Little and West quad, for example. This small action could help countless students feel more included and supported at the University of Michigan.
We thank you for your time and consideration in changing the name of the business school, and we again implore you to put yourself in the shoes of students of color, DREAMERS, children of immigrants, detained and tortured children at the border, LGBTQ+ students, and all marginalized students in the nation, on campus, and at the business school who are currently seeing their school's name now associated with an individual who is supporting a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, sexist president. We will continue advocating for this name change, and will also reach out to U-M's top donors for support on this issue until something is done to address this issue.
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