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Should I fear attending the University of Michigan?

RHS and other DPSCD students received acceptance letters from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in December. For many, myself included, this has been a long-awaited dream, and the excitement of going off to university is just setting in.

But transition from a predominantly Black high school to predominantly white campus will be stressful for a lot of us. Increasing instances of known racial discrimination on campus makes this transition much harder.

We are going off to spaces without guarantee of our safety.

Wednesday, Feb. 7, for example, hate mail appearing to be from U-M computer science professor, J. Alex Halderman, appeared in Black and Jewish engineering students inboxes. “The KKK has returned,” “The SS will rise again and kill all of your filthy souls,” and “Heil Trump”. The professor’s email account was allegedly hacked, but the university is still investigating the source of the emails.

Whatever the case, minority students are in uproar over the constant exposure to racist and religious discrimination at the University of Michigan.

Renaissance alumni and other Detroiters attending U-M have texted me their concerns. In short, for them, being Black at a PWI is getting worse.

As a Black future Wolverine, these recurring events trouble me, and I’m beginning to question my admission.

I grew up being taught that the skin I am in is beautiful, and that I am capable of success. The thought that I will soon be confronted by people espousing the opposite messages terrifies me.

I’ve heard stories every few months of the forbidden N-word being spray painted across a wall on campus or written on the doors of Black students – stories of female Muslim students having their hijabs ripped from their heads. I recognize these are not the “values” of the university, but these kinds of occurrences are happening, and more frequently.

When I learned that U-M was forced to drop affirmative action from admissions was the first time I wondered whether U-M was a space for me. Recent events have confirmed my fears that I won’t be warmly welcomed.


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