UMich art museum mandates antiracism training…even for gift shop employees

  • The University of Michigan’s art museum announced a new “commitment to anti-racist action and a more inclusive museum.”
  • Among their reforms is required antiracism training for all employees, including gift shop employees.

"racism is embedded and reinforced throughout our media, culture, social systems, and institutions"   

The University of Michigan Museum of Art will implement antiracism training for all of its staff, including gift shop employees.

In its statement announcing an “ongoing commitment to anti-racist action and a more inclusive museum,” the UMMA explained that “Being actively anti-racist is much more than being ‘not a racist.’

“In a society that privileges white people and whiteness, racism is embedded and reinforced throughout our media, culture, social systems, and institutions,” said the statement. “Being an actively anti-racist museum means identifying those inequities in our structures, ideas, behaviors, systems, and policies and changing them so that they are equitable for all people.”

[RELATED: Texas Tech students to university: Overhaul curriculum, add 'intersectional feminism’]

In order to address its alleged structural racism, the UMMA announced a series of reforms and policies to increase equity at the museum.

Most notably, the museum will provide a minimum of 16 paid hours of “anti-racism training, education, and professional development” throughout the year. This training will be mandatory for all staff, including interns, gift shop employees, and Department of Public Safety employees assigned to the museum.

To achieve the goal of amplifying “BIPOC perspectives and voices,” the museum will review all exhibitions and programs “through a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, anti-racism, and social justice.” Additionally, it will seek inventory from “BIPOC” artists and creators.

Likewise, the UMMA will make “public land and water acknowledgments” to the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Bodawotomi indigenous tribes, which are native to the American midwest. The museum will also acknowledge that it is a “predominantly white institution.”

[RELATED: Binghamton calls itself a 'PWI,' or 'Predominantly White Institution,' & and vows to 'audit' library]

These reforms at the University of Michigan come in the wake of massive revisions to curricula, training, and onboarding processes at universities across the United States, most of which seek to encourage “anti-racism” among employees and students.

[RELATED: BU prof, ‘antiracist’ activist wants to remove ‘not racist’ from vocabulary]

Campus Reform
reached out to the University of Michigan for comment and will update this article accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft



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Ben Zeisloft
Benjamin Zeisloft | Pennsylvania Senior Campus Correspondent

Benjamin Zeisloft is a Pennsylvania Senior Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform. He is studying Finance and Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Benjamin also writes for The UPenn Statesman and the Wharton International Business Review.

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