UMich seeks ‘socially just’ admin to resolve student conflicts

The University of Michigan is hiring a mid-level administrator to promote “trust building,” facilitate “racial healing,” and fight “microaggressions” on campus. 

The “Conflict Resolution Program Manager” will work in the school’s Office of Conflict Resolution, which helps students cope with “disagreement” among their classmates and peers “in a peaceful, socially just, and self-reflexive manner.”

Applicants for the position are expected to “embody the philosophies and principles of restorative justice, social justice, and conflict transformation,” as well as “expertise in working with diverse populations[...]with strong cultural competence.”

[RELATED: UW-Madison hiring admin to ‘advance social justice’ on campus]

“Both you and the other person should be respectful and feel respected at all times during an argument,” the office’s website states. “If you can feel the tension rising in the room (e.g. escalated voices, inappropriate language) use your words to bring attention to this.” 

In some cases, alternatively, the office advises that it “might be more constructive to walk away and return to the issue at a later time.”

Though the office appears to deal primarily with garden-variety student squabbles, the new staffer will work with an “emphasis on multicultural, LGBT, underrepresented, and underserved populations.” 

To that end, the new Conflict Resolution Program Manager will be dispatched to work on a variety of goals, such as facilitating “racial and restorative justice programming;” responding to “trends relevant to diversity, inclusion, and equity;” and promoting “social justice.” 

The staffer will also spearhead the creation of “community-wide communication strategies to create a more complete truth narrative with regard to culture, society, racism, and oppression,” according to the job posting. 

[RELATED: UMich hiring admin for ‘cultural appropriation prevention’]

Notably, the position also entails serving on the school’s Bias Response Team (BRT), which is currently the subject of a federal lawsuit.

As Campus Reform reported in May, the national nonprofit Speech First is suing the University of Michigan, claiming that its speech policies and BRT are “unconstitutional” and “fundamentally un-American.” 

“The BRT and its highly subjective definitions of ‘bias’ and ‘bias incident’ pose a grave threat to free expression at the university, and are unconstitutional under the doctrines of overbreadth, vagueness, and prior restraint,” the lawsuit claims. 

“We have an epidemic on our hands in the higher education system—universities are establishing rules and protocols that create a dangerous environment in which speech protections under the First Amendment do not exist,” warned Nicole Neily, the president of Speech First. 

[RELATED: UMich claims free speech lawsuit has ‘mistaken premises’]

The new administrator will earn at least $47,000, plus benefits, though the school notes that the actual salary will be “commensurate with experience, education, and equity factors.”

The Conflict Resolution Program Manager will occasionally have to work evening or weekend hours, the job description notes, explaining that the position “requires working with students through stressful, tense, and/or emotionally challenging situations and circumstances, and addressing issues of power, privilege, and oppression.”

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Michigan for comment on how the new position is funded, but did not receive a response.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen