Eastern Michigan University’s Center for the Study of Equality and Human Rights, whose mission statement is the advancement and promotion of equality and human rights with a primary focus on eliminating homophobia, appointed EMU Professor of communication Michael Tew as the center’s new director, said the center’s current Director Dennis Patrick.
Tew said the center promotes research scholarships and academic works in an attempt to fulfill their mission statement.
“We really want to be activists in addressing and confronting the inequality that exists,” Tew said. “Educating the community about these important topics is also very important in bringing about a change.”
Patrick, who has served as the center’s director for the past two years, said he will be stepping down July 1 because of time demands that are restricting him from “giving the center all the attention it deserves from a director.” However, Patrick said he plans to stay active at the center because it means a lot to him personally and professionally.
Patrick said his goal for the first year was just to get the center up and running. Once the funds were in place, it was his job to bring the vision to life.
The center was established in 2010 through a $1.5 million donation from EMU alumnus and former Regent Timothy Dyer.
“Hate is an evil and destructive emotion,” Dyer said in an EMU press release in 2010. “It ignores reason and intellectual inquiry and should be eradicated whenever it raises its ugly head. The only way to do this is through educated enlightenment. We have seen over our own short history that education is the most effective way to eliminate prejudice, ignorance, discrimination and hate.”
With the initial startup of the center completed, their focus will now shift to getting out in the community. The center is already active with a few different groups including working closely with EMU’s LBGT Resource Center, as well as centers located on other college campuses nearby.
“Having other agencies use us as a resource is a goal of ours,” Tew said.
The center is based out of Quirk Theater and is funded through different sources, including the Department of Theater and Modern Arts, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dyer Foundation and EMU.
CSEHR has a very small staff, usually only a Director and Associate Director, which is currently held by EMU full-time lecturer Meriah Sage. The center has had a graduate student assist with the workload this past year, and hope to have openings for student interns in the future.