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Current and former staff demand removal of Detroit Institute of Arts director


A group of former and current staff at the Detroit Institute of Arts say Director Salvador Salort-Pons should be removed from his post. 

The demand, made via a Google Doc, reads:

Today we officially announce our first and most critical demand: We ask that Salvador Salort-Pons be removed from his role as Director, President & Chief Executive Officer and any other involvement at the Detroit Institute of Arts by August 31, 2020

Former employees as well as anonymous current employees allege Salort-Pons has created a hostile workplace for women and people of color. 

The allegations have been reported in multiple newspapers, including the New York Times. Salort Pons told the Times last week that he is working to improve diversity at the DIA. He said as a European he didn't initially understand the Black struggle in the U.S.

In a "Message from the Director," posted on the DIA's website, Salort-Pons says he is developing plans to make the DIA "a more inclusive and equitable museum for our visitors and staff."

Meanwhile, employees say their concerns about how the DIA is being run are given lip service from Salort-Pons, but no real action is taken.

They say senior staff with decades of experience, many of whom are women, are shunted aside in decision- making. 

They also say the DIA is failing in its mission to diversify its patron base and reach out to underserved communities.  

Members of the Board of the DIA have so far declined to comment on the controversy, since it is a personnel matter.

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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