In an effort to achieve equitable funding and resource allocation across the University’s three campuses, One University Coalition constructed a committee at its Feb. 28 meeting on the Flint campus to guide its new platform toward the next Board of Regents meeting on Mar. 28.
As the coalition comprises faculty, students and non-instructional staff from all three campuses, there’s at least one representative from each campus on the new committee—which ensures the platform’s ideas are inspired with an equal voice form each campus.
Since the coalition argues all of the University’s campuses are governed by one Board of Regents, they’re calling on them to equalize state financial support among the University’s campuses, in particular Flint and Dearborn. In other words, the coalition proposes a requirement for Ann Arbor to ensure state funds are internally released at an equal amount per student. As of now, per student funding is approximately two times higher at Ann Arbor.
In addition, Flint and Dearborn campuses can only provide their students with about a quarter of what Ann Arbor currently does in categories such as instructional support, financial aid and health services.
So with the intention to gain the President’s and Board of Regents support for equal funding, the coalition’s platform suggests extending and providing current Ann Arbor resources to Flint and Dearborn.
Two of which are extensions of Ann Arbor’s Go Blue Guarantee and its commitment to increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to Flint and Dearborn campuses. The extensions would come at an estimated cost of $64 million per year. Although both campuses sustain a significant number of students of color, none of the $85 million in DEI funds go toward Flint or Dearborn. Furthermore, even as both campuses possess a higher number in pell grant recipients than Ann Arbor, neither receive the University’s free in-state tuition for families under $65,000—which is guaranteed under GBG.
But while those proposals received an unanimous vote, the coalition suggested the committee re-evaluate how GBG calculates income, as well as further developing more detail for DEI before unveiling it to the Regents’.
Together with the GBG and DEI, committee representatives also unanimously voted for the establishment of legal and medical clinics on the Flint and Dearborn campuses in a similar manner to Ann Arbor. With regard to health services, the coalition has maintained them as critical, because neither type of clinical exist on the campuses now.
While the platform calls for extending these Ann Arbor provisions to Flint and Dearborn, it also defends increasing the minimums and equity raises for Flint and Dearborn Lecturers, GSIs and GSRAs to equal of those at Ann Arbor. Despite concern Flint and Dearborn lecturers and GEOs could lose credibility by demanding equal pay, it also secured a favorable vote.
But on the other hand, without any concern is the coalition’s request in expanding scholarships for study abroad opportunities, because the University is cited as one of the top ten institutions for participation in academic programs abroad. Moreover, a representative stated most study abroad opportunities are handled through Ann Arbor, and only a handful of Flint’s faculty members are engaged with the issue.
The exclusion of GBG and lack of commitment in expanding DEI and study abroad scholarships by Ann Arbor’s campus showcases Flint and Dearborn as separate entities—which students must apply as. Although University of Michigan students are theoretically enrolled in one university, there is no inner-campus transfer policy. And One University Coalition maintains such a policy would increase Flint and Dearborn’s enrollment.
“If it becomes to expensive for someone to continue their degree in Ann Arbor, they should be able to move back home to Dearborn or Flint, and go to school there,” said UM-D undergraduate student Lia Fabbri, who is president of Pride Dictator of Inclusion Student Government. “Those options should exist. If we’re all the university of Michigan, all governed by the same board, it doesn’t make sense for us not to be able to transfer within the three campuses.”
But as the coalition advocates for a new inner-campus transfer policy in their platform, committee representatives have discussed a potential danger for Flint and Dearborn campuses if multi-directional options are unavailable. In essence, University students need access to cross all three campuses, as opposed to an one-directional op-out toward Ann Arbor.
Furthermore, an inner-campus transfer measure could prove undoubtedly welcoming by Ann Arbor undergraduates, because students have expressed concern amongst their spot in the school due to the campus currently experiencing a decline of in-state enrollment. But even as discussion trends concerning Ann Arbor’s low in-state percentage have largely focused on the school adapting more in-state over out-of-state students, the campus’ in-state enrollment remains low and continues to decline.
Therefore, not only could the measure provide a gateway for those concerned Ann Arbor students to stay under the University, but also significantly increase Flint and Dearborn enrollment. In doing so, the committee proposes a strong case for sufficient funding equal to Ann Arbor’s campus.