The University of Michigan is planning to launch a series of social justice programs, with a pledge of $260,000 on “anti-racism” research. One of the programs is an endowed scholarship dedicated to George Floyd, the man whose death while in police custody prompted months of rioting.
“U-M alumnus Marchell Willian presented to President Mark Schlissel the idea to establish a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund at U-M,” states a university news release. “Willian, an attorney in Illinois, gave the lead endowment to establish the scholarship fund designed to inspire others to increase support.”
An additional $2,325 was raised on a GoFundMe page dedicated to the scholarship, The College Fix reports before redirecting to the university’s own fundraising website.
According to the school’s website, the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship is directed towards students who have performed service to their community in support of social justice causes. It notes that students who have completed the Wolverine Pathways Program for junior high and high school students are given priority for the scholarship.
In addition to the George Floyd scholarship, the public university will examine “race and ethnicity curriculum requirements across the university’s 19 schools and colleges,” and bolster faculty and staff professional development opportunities related to anti-racism,” according to The College Fix.
“At the University of Michigan, we have a long history of offering programs and activities designed to advance our core values of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Susan Collins, the university’s provost, said in a press release. “The initiatives we are adding will build on the extensive and ongoing work all across our campus.”
“This scholarship is one way we can enhance our university’s commitment to investing in student leaders,” university President Mark Schlissel said.
“It also will serve as a reminder of the work to be done to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment here at U-M, while honoring the legacy of all of those, past and present, who have continually called for us to strive for a better, more diverse and more inclusive university,” he added.
Though initially in contact with The College Fix, a spokesperson for the school, Kim Broekhuizen, refused further comment after being pressed for answers about the scholarship fund—particularly in regards to the amount of money Willian donated, and whether any additional funds were raised.
The assistance vice president for public affairs, Rick Fitzgerald, told the Fix that he had “someone checking into this” to answer their questions.