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Undermining Racial JusticeHow One University Embraced Inclusion and Inequality$
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Matthew Johnson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748585

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748585.001.0001

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The Michigan Mandate

The Michigan Mandate

(p.188) Chapter 7 The Michigan Mandate
Undermining Racial Justice

Matthew Johnson

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the Michigan Mandate, one of the most ambitious racial inclusion initiatives in the University of Michigan's (UM) history. The initiative responded to black student activists who, in 1987, led a campus-wide protest that threatened to shut down university operations. The Michigan Mandate allocated unprecedented resources to repair UM's racial climate and increase underrepresented minority students, faculty, and staff. However, the Mandate did not represent an institutional revolution; the Michigan Mandate represented a deliberate attempt to co-opt the student movement for racial justice on campus and gain administrative control of racial inclusion. Although the Mandate raised black enrollment and redistributed millions of dollars to inclusion initiatives, it sustained some of the most important pieces of co-optation. UM officials continued to protect the admissions policies that targeted middle-class black students living outside cities. Officials also continued to privilege the goal of combating white students' prejudice through interracial contact over addressing black students' social alienation. Diversity continued to serve as a key intellectual foundation in sustaining these priorities.

Keywords:   Michigan Mandate, racial inclusion initiatives, University of Michigan, black student activists, racial climate, racial justice, racial inclusion, black enrollment, co-optation

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