ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A vice provost has been selected to serve as the University of Michigan’s first chief diversity officer as part of broader efforts to improve diversity on campus, the school’s president announced Wednesday.
Robert Sellers’ appointment will go before the school’s Board of Regents on Oct. 20. The position is being created primarily to lead the implementation of the university-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan that’s being unveiled Thursday.
“Dr. Sellers’ leadership and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion make him the ideal person to lead the implementation and evaluation of our … strategic plan,” school President Mark Schlissel said in a statement.
Black students at the school in Ann Arbor have complained about how they are treated by some white students and about the relatively low number of African-Americans enrolled.
Students, faculty and staff also have held rallies after racist posters were found on campus last month, including one Tuesday that was organized by Provost Martha Pollack. Schlissel, who attended the rally, has said authorities are trying to find the source of the posters, some of which said white women should not date black men.
In his role as chief diversity officer, Sellers will be a principal adviser to Schlissel and serve as a member of the university’s executive leadership team. He also will be the vice provost for equity and inclusion and the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Education.
“My career has been deeply rooted in work around diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Sellers, who helped develop the strategic plan.
A few miles away, Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti had racist graffiti — including the letters “KKK” and a racial epithet — on campus, prompting protests by some black students.