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UM-Flint offering class on city’s water crisis

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

In a move that combines real life with academia, the University of Michigan-Flint is offering a special class that will teach participants about the city’s water crisis.

The one-credit course will begin this month with eight sessions and include panel discussions with leaders, experts and others involved in the Flint water crisis.

The classes will be held on select Wednesdays or Thursdays during the semester in the Northbank Center. The sessions are free.

“We highly value community engagement and recognize the expertise that resides in the community. We want to offer this opportunity for dialogue and bidirectional learning so that the ‘experts’ can learn from the perspectives of the community impacted by this crisis,” said Dr. Suzanne Selig, director of UM Flint’s Department of Public Health and Health Sciences, which is sponsoring the course.

Since April 2014, when Flint’s water began to be drawn from the Flint River, residents’ drinking water has experienced issues with taste, smell and coloring. It also has prompted concerns about increasing lead levels in the blood of Flint’s children.

Gov. Rick Snyder may declare an emergency for Flint’s contaminated water, an acknowledgment he made a week after apologizing to residents for how Michigan has handled the situation.

The course will cover what happened and how Flint’s water crisis evolved. It also will explore where the city’s water originates, why it matters and the health implications.