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Advancing Racial Equity

2020 marked a year of extraordinary changes. It began with the COVID-19 pandemic, which laid bare the inequities of who was being most impacted medically and economically. It forced us to think about who has access to resources, who is most vulnerable, and who lacks access in our college. In addition, we saw wide support of the Movement for Black Lives in response to the police killing of George Floyd and many other African Americans nationwide. As a result, students, faculty, staff, and alumni called on the college to make an explicit commitment to racial equity. This work is built on many years of advocacy by Black community members (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) and allies. Their advocacy asked us to center racial equity in our diversity, equity, and inclusion work because there are greater disparities by race across all indicators including health, housing, income, graduation rates, incarceration, death, as well within our own professions, than any other social group.

Advancing racial equity requires attention to the norms and culture of a group, how resources are distributed, who makes decisions and on what basis, to whom the group holds itself accountable, and other issues of power and advantage. The progress being made within the Taubman community is supported by new collaborations with industry partners such as New York-based SHoP Architects, which recently gave a lead gift to support the college's work in equity innovation. This page contains Taubman College’s work to advance racial equity, which builds on our diversity, equity, and inclusion plan. We also envision using this space as a place for transparency, to share where we are (including our diversity data and current initiatives), and what we are striving for, while acknowledging that we still have a lot of work to do to advance racial equity at college and in the fields architecture and urban planning.

As our work progresses, this page will be updated. We hope you can join us in advancing racial equity. We can only do so if we do it together.

College Communications

White Superemacy Culture in Organizations: A Taubman College Guide

This guide is designed for students, faculty, and staff to understand what (a) White supremacy culture is, (b) how it manifests itself in organizations (such as higher education), and (c) how to become an anti-racist multicultural organization (check out the resources to learn more about the Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist, Multicultural Institution). After reading this guide, you will be able to identify the specific characteristics present in an organization's culture that may perpetuate White supremacist cultural norms and behaviors.

Read the guide!


Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to pause their work each year on June 19 to engage in university and community activities in recognition of Juneteenth, a celebratory day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. To guide reflection, education, and support of our Black community, our Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Joana Dos Santos and our DEI team compiled a document titled, “Juneteenth and the Built Environment,” which highlights the effects and influence of slavery on our built environment and planning practices today.

Design Justice Actions (DJA)

Taubman College students are essential partners in this work, and many are involved already through academic innovation projects, advocacy, or in other ways. The Taubman College Student Group Coalition, composed of students and representatives from multiple student organizations throughout the college, in partnership with alumni, spearheaded one of the largest student efforts by formulating the Design Justice Actions letter, which calls upon Taubman College leadership, faculty, staff, and students to proactively work together to dismantle the racist structures embedded within our institution. This initiative focuses our attention on a more intentional antiracism framework in our DEI work. Guided by the letter, the Taubman College leadership and DEI team developed an action framework to complement our DEI plan, accelerate forward motion, and add new approaches. We aim to learn from conversations already underway, engage community members in building out this framework, and carry it through to tangible change.

Racial Justice Staff Group

Taubman College staff members, led by Career Development Specialist Holly Naveh, formed a new Racial Justice Working Group focused on whiteness and what white people can do to advance racial justice.

Racial Equity Framework

Advancing racial equity requires attention to the norms and culture of a group, how resources are distributed, who makes decisions and on what basis, to whom the group holds itself accountable, and other issues of power and privilege. Through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative, the University of Michigan and Taubman College are working to create an institution where all its members (students, faculty, and staff) can achieve their full potential regardless of their social identities (based on race, gender, sexual orientation or ability).


If you have any questions or would like to get involved in advancing racial equity at Taubman College, contact:

Joana Dos Santos
Taubman College Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer

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