Minority Students Feel ‘Marginalized’ By Historic Building’s ‘Imposing, Masculine’ Paneling
Some minority students at the University of Michigan have apparently felt intimidated by the interior wood paneling found throughout the historic Michigan Union building.
Anna Wibbelman, former president of Building a Better Michigan, an organization that voices student concerns about university development, stated at a student government meeting in late March that “minority students felt marginalized by quiet, imposing masculine paneling” found throughout the 100-year-old building, the meeting’s minutes state.
The building, dubbed by campus officials as “one of the University of Michigan’s most recognizable landmarks,” is set to undergo a massive, $85.2 million renovation project, and as part of that process architects have sought the input and advice of students.
That’s because the union houses many offices shared by dozens of student organizations, and Wibbelman made her comments as the student government discussed the latest developments for the renovation project, expected to launch next spring.
The union building, a student center for hosting events and orientation, is expected to see major updates to multiple rooms, changes in the floorplan, and a refurbished courtyard.
Students have voiced their opinion regarding the renovation, weighing in on which rooms will be restored and how the building’s floorplan should be redesigned.