Earlier today, I signed a letter in solidarity with the six University of Michigan women deans who authored a note of protest to Regent Ron Weiser. (Please see the entirety of the letter below.) I want everyone at Michigan Medicine and, particularly, the women who I represent as Dean of the University of Michigan Medical School and CEO of Michigan Medicine to know that Regent Weiser’s words are entirely inconsistent with our organization’s thoughts, actions and values.
As the letter noted, Regent Weiser’s words did “damage and disrespect not only to women in leadership positions, whether elected or appointed, but also to young women who will lead in the future.”
I know that it is disheartening to both women and men to hear this kind of disparaging language used by someone who is an elected representative of our University. I want to state unequivocally that respect for women and all members of our community is and will continue to be who we are and what we represent at Michigan Medicine.
Letter from U-M deans:
March 28, 2021
Dear Regent Weiser,
We are writing as the six women deans on the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus in protest of the comments that you made on Thursday at the North Oakland Republican Club meeting. We find your comments about elected leaders in the state of Michigan to be insulting, demeaning to women, and contrary to the democratic values of our state and country. While your remarks may have been motivated by your personal views, they are damaging to the community of the University of Michigan and the schools and colleges that we lead given your role as a regent.
Your words do damage and disrespect not only to women in leadership positions, whether elected or appointed, but also to young women who will lead in the future. We must speak out in protest when women are threatened with violence because of the decisions they have made. We believe that sexist name calling and threats of violence, especially from those in positions of power, simply are not acceptable. This is not a context-dependent question: they are not acceptable.
We feel strongly that your comments do not support the university’s and our units’ values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Nor do your comments support robust civil debate and democratic engagement. The latter point is particularly saddening and ironic because you have been a champion of democratic values through institutions you have supported on our campus.
Whether or not you are speaking in your official capacity as a regent, you remain a representative of the university, and you have a responsibility to the university community you lead.
We call on you to repair the serious harm you have caused.
In the interest of being supportive of our community members and upholding the values of the university, we are also sharing our views with our communities.
Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Dean, School of Nursing
Dean, School of Dentistry
Elizabeth Birr Moje
Dean, School of Education
Dean, School of Kinesiology
Dean, School of Social Work
Signing in solidarity:
Michael S. Barr
Joan and Sanford Weill Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Dean, School of Public Health
Roger D. Cone
Vice Provost and Director of the Biosciences Initiative
Mary Sue Coleman Director, Life Sciences Institute
Edward J. Frey Dean, Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Thomas A. Finholt
Dean, School of Information
Alec D. Gallimore
Robert J. Vlasic Dean, College of Engineering
Dean, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
James L. Hilton
Vice Provost for Academic Innovation
Dean of Libraries
Director, Institute for Social Research
Dean, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Dean, College of Pharmacy
Dean, Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design
Jonathan T. Overpeck
Samuel A. Graham Dean, School for Environment and Sustainability
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs
Dean, Medical School
Michael J. Solomon
Dean, Rackham School of Graduate Studies
David A. Breach Dean, Law School