In silence, students, staff and faculty at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School Of Business spoke volumes.
Standing together on the afternoon of Monday, September 26th, dressed in all black, the group unified behind signs of Black Lives Matter and #Ross4Change, sending a powerful, cohesive message. The moment was organized by the Black Business Student Association and the Student Government Association at Ross, which is also helping put together a Kickstarter campaign championing diversity.
Perhaps most poignant were signs with hard, honest data about the number of police killings to date in 2016 alone—along with the names of many recently killed, including Oklahoma City native Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed with his hands up when he was shot to death by Officer Betty Shelby on September 16th.
The Ross event follows similar actions by students at many other leading business schools around the country. On September 20th, a small group of students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School gathered together in an effort to create a broader, more impactful dialogue around diversity following Crutcher’s death, organizing a gathering of approximately 300 Wharton students the following day. Groups of students at NYU Stern School of Business, Columbia Business School, Kellogg School of Management, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Harvard Business School followed suit, also dressing in all black to make their message heard.
“I am honored to be a part of the Ross community,” BBSA President Marissa Smith said at the Ross gathering, “because it’s clear after the turnout for today’s event that this is a community committed to driving the dialogue required to generate impactful change in our society.”
Dean Scott DeRue also spoke at the event, saying, “We are deeply committed to developing a community that celebrates inclusion, diversity and empowerment—and we will not shy away from the difficult conversations that are necessary to get us there. I look forward to engaging in the conversation, listening to a wide range of views, and discussing ideas about how to move the school and our community forward.”
Along with the forthcoming Kickstarter campaign, the BBSA and Ross SGA will be putting together a community discussion, to be held October 12th. Details of the event are still being developed.