Kate Wells

A couple hundred University of Michigan students came out to central campus Wednesday evening in a passionate show of support for protesters at the University of Missouri.

As the crowd grew, one organizer from the U of M School of Social Work said black students at the University of Michigan can empathize with the experiences, and the feelings of frustration and isolation, that Mizzou students are voicing.

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Students, faculty and staff talked about their frustrations – from who gets tenure, to recruiting Detroit students, to what it feels like to be one of the few black students on campus – at a "community assembly” on campus diversity today.

The event was moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page, of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board. Community members were invited to share their own experiences and goals for the university.

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University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel announced an ambitious new program today to increase diversity in the pool of students applying for admission.

The program, called Wolverine Pathways, will be launched in January for 7th and 10th grade students in Southfield and Ypsilanti. It will be offered in a series of eight-week sessions throughout the year, and will focus on academics and other activities like field trips, campus visits and internships. 

White Arm with Black Arm
azotesdivinos / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Plans are underway to start a new chapter of the NAACP in the Grosse Pointe suburbs northeast of Detroit.

Organizers say the new branch will work to promote diversity and tolerance through fine arts programming and youth activities that help forward discussions on diversity and tolerance.

Greg Bowens, one of the Grosse Pointe residents leading the effort, said some people have been "shocked" at the idea of starting an NAACP chapter in the mostly white community

Our "comeback" could use more women investors

Aug 17, 2015
Courtesy of Inforum

The Next Idea

“I never really thought about it that way.”

As someone who regularly judges start-up pitch competitions across Michigan, I tend to hear this phrase rather often from my male colleagues.

Courtesy of Sakti3

The Next Idea

Ann Marie Sastry is a former University of Michigan professor, a material science researcher, and the founder of Sakti3 -- one of 30 companies invited to showcase its work at the first-ever White House Demo Day.

She's developing the next generation of low-cost batteries, a solid state solution that has generated results and hype.  A Fortune magazine article titled "Will this battery change everything?" offers a detailed look into what stands to happen if the company can achieve the "holy grail of power storage."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan and Ohio researchers are building a "sound map" of religion in Midwestern communities to explore religious diversity in a novel way.

Religious and comparative studies professors from Michigan State University and Ohio State University received a $30,000 grant from the Humanities without Walls consortium. It's funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Kalamazoo College campus
user: Kalamazoo College / facebook


When it comes to recruiting and graduating low-income students, one school that is clearly getting it right is Kalamazoo College.

The New York Times ranks Kalamazoo College No. 12 in the nation among elite colleges that enroll a large percentage of PELL-grant eligible students.

The PELL grant is a solid indicator, since many students in families above the poverty level do not qualify for these grants.

Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran is president of Kalamazoo College. She says attracting and keeping low-income students have been a priority of the college and part of its institutional mission: 

User: COD Newsroom / Flickr

As college students explore their campuses, they're likely to find a wide array of student groups that pertain to race: The Black Student Union, Asian-American groups, or Hispanic and Latino groups.

Universities say they're spending time and money on trying to increase the number of minority students, especially since the Supreme Court ban in 2006 on affirmative action.

But Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution says the challenges for American colleges should be not only racial diversity, but also economic diversity. 

Especially when universities, including elite schools, haven't upped their percentage of low-come students in generation. 

Haskins says that's what happens when colleges maintain admission standards.

Stephanie Chang (right)
User: Stephanie Chang / facebook

Fresh faces, fresh voices, fresh ideas, and more diversity: That's what both the Democrats and the GOP say they are looking for. They are hoping to attract voters in a nation that is becoming more diverse by the day.

One Michigan candidate could certainly move the meter on diversity in Lansing.

Stephanie Chang won the primary in the Michigan 6th House district in southwest Detroit. The Democrat won it by getting nearly 50% of the vote. In that heavily Democratic district, that seems to set her up to win the seat in November and become the first Asian-American woman to serve in the state legislature.

Her district, Chang says, has a legacy of diverse leadership. Its current state representative is Rashida Tlaib, who is Palestinian American. The district has also elected Latina, Hungarian American and Jewish state representatives.

*Listen to the interview with Stephanie Chang above.

Auto sales grew in 2014
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When the economy in Michigan is hurting, you always hear politicians talking about diversifying the economy.

But when the auto industry is doing better and the economy in Michigan is riding along with it, that talk seems to disappear.

Well, not this time. Rick Haglund recently wrote about a report that indicates the auto industry might be hitting the brakes.

Haglund joined us today. He’s a freelance journalist and contributor to Bridge Magazine, MLive and others. Michigan Radio's auto reporter, Tracy Samilton, also joined us on the show.

When it comes to diversity, who counts?

That's the challenging question raised by my next guest in a piece she wrote for the Huffington Post.

Borne out of some important insights that dawned on her as she stood in front of a class and really listened to her students.

Martha Jones is a professor of history, law, Afro-American and African studies at the University of Michigan.

We spoke with her about her piece.

Listen to the interview above.


Gabriela Frank is probably not what comes to mind when you think of a contemporary classical music composer.  For starters, she considers herself a hippie.

“I was born in the 1970s in Berkeley, California, during the Vietnam protests," says Frank. "My dad was a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who married a Peruvian woman from the coast. I’m also a woman and I have a hearing loss, so technically I’m disabled as well.”


New research from Michigan State University suggests the less diverse a  neighborhood is, the more likely it will be neighborly.

Researchers looked at the relationship between neighborhood segregation, and the strength of social networks in a community.

They found that the more segregated a community, the more likely it is to be tight-knit.

Michigan may be, in many ways, the most diverse state in the union. California and Texas are much larger. Alaska is out-of-the world vast, though fewer people live there than in Macomb County.

Correction:     An earlier version of this story spelled "Corunna" incorrectly. It has been fixed.

The Corunna Public School District is facing a federal lawsuit after a lesbian teacher was fired. The controversy started with a Diversity Club at the high school in the small town west of Flint.

Brook Johnson was a teacher/advisor to the Diversity Club. In 2009 the club decided to put up a display in honor of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender History month. It featured photos of celebrities who had come out as gay or lesbian. It caused controversy and the school board ordered it removed.

The ACLU challenged the decision. The Corunna Board of Education changed its position and allowed the display.

The lawsuit alleges the administration then turned on Johnson, ostracizing her and then forcing her out.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

West Michigan’s economy depends on turning around Detroit, an educated workforce and a better attitude. That’s the conclusion from leaders who took part in a community forum in Grand Rapids Wednesday night. The group included non-profit, business and government leaders.

More than anything, the group says people in Michigan need to adopt a more positive attitude.

Birgit Klohs heads The Right Place. She works to attract businesses and workers to West Michigan.