First and foremost, our deepest thoughts and prayers are with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, and the countless Black lives that have been lost due to deep-seated prejudice in our country. This recent and very vivid illustration of racism and the violent vehicle of policing that further drives it, has quite literally ignited fires-- both on the streets where our brothers and sisters have been slain and in the hearts of Black and non-Black people alike.

Many of you have let this fire spark your allyship and commitment to take the first steps towards understanding the experience of Black Americans and speaking out against racial injustice. And some of you have not. For those in the latter group, we further implore you to consider your culpability in the prevalence of the racist systems that unfairly govern Black Americans. Let this statement serve as another reminder that silence is complicity. For those in the former group, we sincerely appreciate your messages of support and solidarity but there is more work to be done.

Because we understand this movement will require everyone’s full participation, we are not only seeking action from the administration of the Ross School of Business, but the students as well. In hopes of providing direction on successfully making “ally” a verb and not just a noun, we have outlined the following asks:

Action Steps for Ross Students

  • Apply for the upcoming allyship webinar series hosted by Ross MBA Council and encourage your peers to join
  • Each leader of a Michigan Ross club should seek to partner with BBSA and/or other affinity-based groups on joint programming that furthers the mission of both clubs
  • Michigan Ross professional club leaders should incorporate a racial justice lens into relevant club education curriculum
  • Be intentional about noticing who, racially, is missing from your core friend group, class projects and club leadership, ask yourself why that is, and take steps to change it
  • Ask a classmate of a different race out for coffee and talk about anything other than business school and recruiting
  • Commit to being a business leader who takes actionable steps to further racial equity and allyship in every setting - both while at Ross and upon graduation

Action Steps for Ross Administration

  • Post a message of solidarity with the Black community on Michigan Ross’ landing page that links to BBSA Statement as was done at MIT Sloan School of Business
  • Post upcoming BBSA Instagram campaign to Ross’ Instagram page and story
  • At the minimum, commit to accepting BBA and MBA cohorts where the representation of black students in each class reflects the national percentage of Black people in America
  • Email Ross’ donor base and alumni requesting donations to organizations that support the betterment of Black people and businesses
  • Seek assistance and input from BBSA and CGSM leadership when crafting messaging or programming related to issues impacting the black community
  • Hold firms accountable to equitable recruitment and diversity and inclusion standards
  • Diversify the case protagonists featured in class readings, specifically including Black men and Black women as case protagonists
  • Include mini-cases in core classes and directly discuss the intersection of business and race ( Examples: For-profit prisons, Payday loans companies that target minority communities, predatory mortgage lending, etc...)
  • Implement mandatory anti-racism training into incoming MBA student orientation
  • Implement a business ethics course in the core curriculum, which engages in meaningful discussion on systemic racism
  • Enhance CAPS counseling service offerings by hiring therapists with expertise in areas related to race and ethnicity
  • Hire more Black faculty, administrators and staff members, especially those that advise the Dean and Chief Diversity Officer
  • Provide a detailed, external-facing document that provides success metrics and timelines for the above asks

While these actions alone cannot undo the four centuries of overt and deeply insidious violence this country has inflicted upon Black America, it can at the very least start to acknowledge and take necessary steps to dress the wounds. Despite the challenges we currently face, with your support and commitment, we will be able to create a more equitable and open environment here at Ross and a better America for us all.

“Leaders & Best” should not let racism and the entities that uphold it rest.

With unending love,

The Black Business Student Association