The Trotter Multicultural Center, as it is known today, began as Trotter House, a Black Student Cultural Center. It is part of a long legacy of activism brought on by African American students united under the Black Action Movement (BAM)-- a legacy that connects other departments and centers including but not limited to; the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS), Multi-ethnic Student Affairs (MESA), the Comprehensive Studies Program (CSP), The Diversity Peer Educators Program and Multicultural Lounges, and the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI).
Our mission at the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center is to build on our historical heritage of strengthening relationships and generating collective power that disrupts patterns of inequity, restores and celebrates cultural heritages, and cultivates racial healing within student experiences.
Our Collective Vision:
We envision the Trotter Multicultural Center as a space where equity, liberation, and cultural innovation are standard in the experiences of all.
Our Core Work:
Intercultural Engagement: We provide programming and space for events that help students develop, understand, and demonstrate an ability to shift cultural perspective and adapt behavior to effectively navigate cultural similarity and difference based in race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, religion, age, class and other human differences.
Multicultural Engagement: We provide programming and space for events that help students develop, understand, and demonstrate an ability to engage in open and ongoing communication that deepens their understanding and expression of identity, culture and heritage. This engagement complements identity development and multiculturalism within other student life experiences and the academic experience.
Wellbeing, Identity, and Contemplative Practices: We help students recover, cultivate, and experience a sense of belonging through intentional design and community use of our facility. We also provide space for reflection, meditation, prayer, and other contemplative practices that support holistic wellbeing and self-actualization.
Transformative Development: We convene and co-create educational trainings, events, and informal gatherings that provide students with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to be active participants in creating social change on campus and in their communities.
- Centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)- We are committed to centering the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our efforts to achieve intersectional liberation and promote healing-centered engagement for all members of our community.
- Empowering student voice- We are committed to creating and maintaining space for students to amplify their voices to: 1. Contribute to developing and capturing collective narratives about student experiences and 2. Co-create new values within our community as we move towards equity.
- Intergenerational learning and healing- We are committed to acknowledging the historical and contemporary impact of racial trauma, epistemic violence, and systemic inequities in higher education, thus we embrace Sankofa (a word in the Twi language of Ghana meaning “go back and get”) and Ubuntu (an ancient African word meaning “I am because we are”) as guideposts for generative learning, building mutual understanding, and restoring community.
Our Core Values:
Our values are rooted in the blending of collective group membership and individual leadership. Shared values, beliefs, and goals link us as we honor and acknowledge collective histories and move to create an equitable future. Our four value pairings are:
Creativity & Collaboration
Our students thrive and draw inspiration from one another when they feel part of the community. Therefore, we encourage mutual understanding and genuine connection through the sharing of ideas, identification of common purpose and the harnessing of shared power within reciprocal partnerships in and outside of the university community. Through cooperation, teamwork and respect we demonstrate the power of Sankofa and Ubuntu.
Courage & Discernment
We encourage and model behaviors that inspire individuals and communities to demonstrate courage in adversity and perpetuate a hope-intention throughout all endeavors. We value a commitment to critically evaluating individual feelings, motivations, beliefs, and desires for collective impact. Through firmness of mind and a commitment to equity in the face of challenge and adversity, we encourage our students to acknowledge their choice and agency to liberate a sense of purpose that informs social change.
Dignity & Compassion
We embrace a culture of leadership that standardizes integrity, transparency, and accountability as the foundation for building mutual understanding. We expect all who participate in our community to promote and protect the dignity of self and others and to express compassion for others at all times.
Equity & Excellence
We consistently challenge the status quo and disrupt deficit-thinking to foster a culture of expression, reflection, and discovery. In this dynamic and innovative posture, we champion positive change and intersectional liberation. Through our programs, policies, and practices, we seek to recognize and disrupt patterns of inequity and disenfranchisement. In acknowledgement of the injustices of the past and present we seek to adopt and create best practices for equitable access and the cultivation of opportunities for development, representation, power, and voice. This is our affirmation of the possibilities of the future we create together.
Trotter Multicultural Center History Project Team
Along with ongoing efforts to honor and celebrate the history of the Trotter Multicultural Center, the History Project Team is developing a multi-modal narrative of the history of the Trotter Multicultural Center and William Monroe Trotter.
- Elizabeth James, Program Associate, Department for Afroamerican and African Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
- Charles Ransom, Multicultural Studies Librarian, University Library
- Edras Rodriguez-Torres, International Studies Librarian, University Library
- Stephen Ward, Director, Semester in Detroit; Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and Associate Professor in the Residential College, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Trotter House Origins: How the battle for a bricks-and-mortar structure was really about moving racial integration from rhetoric to reality
University of Michigan’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Toolkit is a online resource highlights information and insights from U-M’s DEI Strategic Planning and Implementation process. The Trotter Multicultural Center is highlighted as a "Signature Initiative" in the toolkit among other important initiatives and resources across campus.
The Trotter Multicultural Center was highlighted in the Summer 2019 issue of Michigan Alumnus Magazine!
Over the years, curiosity about the man for whom the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center takes its name, peaked among faculty, staff, and students. Indeed, those with some sense of the Center’s history—those, in fact, who knew that the Trotter Multicultural Center emerged in the aftermath of the black student protest movement of the 1970s—and those with little-to-no knowledge of any of this social movement history, all began to wonder about William Monroe Trotter himself.