Dear LSA Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In alliance with student leaders around the College, I am writing in the closing weeks of a challenging school year. Racist messages and a tense political climate have often made it hard to focus on academics. As we move toward finals, we want you to have a positive, productive end of the semester.

While we do not know of anyone planning a provocation, we are aware that bigoted individuals might try to disrupt our studies and distract us from our important work. We can’t control what these people do and say, but we can respond in ways that don’t validate them. Experts in dealing with hateful speechon campuses have identified some strategies that help silence trolls while building solidarity among those of us who want to fight racist, xenophobic, or other hateful propaganda.

The College’s faculty and staff are being asked to be extra vigilant in spotting hateful communications and in supporting our community, if and when they occur.

If you should encounter provocations personally, here is some advice:

  • Report bias incidents online or by calling 734.615.BIAS (2427).

  • Report threatening material, violence, or crimes to U-M’s Division of Public Safety and Security or by calling 734.763.1131.

  • Provide photos or copies of the materials as part of your report.

  • Think twice about sharing the bigoted content publicly on social media. While sharing can be a form of rapid notification and community support, it also does the instigators’ work for them. That said, communicating about bigoted content, mean-spirited communications, or other hateful events is legitimate and encouraged. One of the best ways to address hateful speech is to use speech to counter, reject, critique, and engage.

  • Go forward with your work and studies. It is understandable that anyone would become distracted by hurtful incidents intended to distract. Do your best to focus on your studies.

If you feel targeted, don’t let hateful provocations chip away at your confidence in your right to be here and to get the best education possible. Reach out to one another and to us in mutual support. The Office of the Dean, our organizations, DPSS, and the University will all do what we can to monitor this situation and to offer you support and encouragement. When you succeed, we all win.

Best wishes,

Andrew D. Martin, Dean
Professor of Political Science and Statistics
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Nicholas Fadanelli, President
LSA Student Government

Ryan Gillcrist, Vice President
LSA Student Government

Anushka Sarkar, President
Central Student Government

Nadine Jawad
Central Student Government

Books for a Benefit

The Detroit Partnership Directors

Farhan Ali, President
Muslim Students’ Association

Shamaila Ashraf
Campus Climate Committee

Anna He, Leadership Summit Director
Lean In

Ana Patchin, President
optiMize

Jamie Thompson
Students4Justice

Hafsa Tout, Vice President External
Muslim Students’ Association