MSU President hopes for equality on campus

President Stanley opened the meeting by sharing how he wants to work towards equality on...
President Stanley opened the meeting by sharing how he wants to work towards equality on campus. (Source WILX) (WILX)
Published: Oct. 24, 2019 at 4:11 PM EDT
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The MSU Board of Trustees expected to get some questions Friday about the racial climate on campus.

President Stanley opened the meeting by sharing how he wants to work towards equality on campus.

And he restated that he addressed the alleged racism issues in a letter sent out earlier this week. (You can read that letter below.)

President Stanley said he is listening to students' concerns.

"There's no question that the impact was significant part of the challenge I think is improving our communication as well that was alluded to by others I think we need to do a better job of communicating and the final thing I think is important for all of these is really improving trust on the campus as well for the administration I think that's a challenge we have," Stanley said.

President Stanley said the board will create a strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.

MSU will also hire a "chief diversity officer."

He also updated everyone that he had met with Nassar survivors and is looking forward to making strides with them.

There have been three major controversial incidents within the last week.

Trustee Brian Mosallam said on

that there are students from "marginalized communities who do not feel safe on campus."

The incident that has gotten the most attention was a

filled with racial slurs and obscenities.

An associate professor of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations sent that survey out to random students and said he wanted his class to be able to study the reaction to the harsh language.

That professor, Saleem Alhabash, has since apologized for the survey.

One MSU student said he's happy the professor owned up to it.

"I'm glad that he was able to come out and actually talk about it and be up front about his intentions and what he expected," said Evan Morton, an MSU student.

But he still feels the university doesn't understand what minority students are going through.

"It's about the whole university understanding our point about just again what happened over the past weekend and what happened yesterday and the actions we took to make sure that as black students we feel secure," Morton said.

In another incident, there was a report of a

made out of toilet paper left on a door in Bryan Hall. The university said this was not an act of hate or discrimination, but said students admitted to putting it there as a Halloween prank.

In the statement sent just before 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, University Spokesperson Emily Guerrant said:

"Two African American students living on campus in the Brody neighborhood reported a racial incident over the weekend regarding toilet paper that was left on their door which they believed resembled a noose. MSU Police and members of the Residential and Hospitality Services team responded immediately. After initial discussions, other student residents came forward and volunteered that they had taped up decorations in the hall as part of what they referred to as a Halloween prank, which were not meant to offend anyone or denote any racial bias and were not intended to resemble a noose. The impact on members of our campus community is taken seriously and is being investigated in accordance with university policies."

Police are also looking for the people who destroyed the

at the Hillel Center for Jewish student life this past Saturday morning.

The MSU Hillel posted on Facebook Monday that two men trespassed and destroyed a Sukkah on the property on Charles Street on Saturday, Oct. 19, the last day of a Jewish holiday, around 1 a.m.

A spokesperson for the center said they have been identified.

Students have organized what they are calling a peaceful protest on Sunday, which starts at 11 a.m. at the Hannah Administration building.

Dear Spartans,

Our community has been affected in the past several days by incidents causing concern and anger.

I, too, am concerned, because a safe, inclusive and respectful campus is my top priority. Hate has no home at Michigan State. We want every individual to feel welcomed, valued and heard.

Recently the greater campus community has experienced vandalism at MSU Hillel, our center for Jewish student life; the presence of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on campus last week for a presentation to a class; an instance of racial bias reported from Bryan Hall over the weekend; and a survey in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences that offended students.

Some of these actions may not have grown from negative intent or malice, but it’s important for us all to remember the difference between intent and impact. Regardless of intent, there is still an impact being felt across campus.

These situations have disrupted a sense of safety that should exist for everyone. Building inclusive communities is at the core of our values, and the impact of recent events cannot be underestimated.

I want to personally let you know the concerns of our campus community are being taken seriously. Investigations by both the MSU Police Department and our Office of Institutional Equity are taking place, and we are providing support to those who are affected. We will be responsive to these issues and will not ignore the effect they are having on our community. It is important to hold ourselves accountable for being respectful, culturally sensitive and informed.

Any member of the MSU community found responsible for a bias incident will face disciplinary action in accordance with university policies.

Tonight, the Black Student Alliance is hosting a community forum in collaboration with the Associated Students of MSU to discuss some of these issues and their impact. Having a forum for discussion and listening is important if we want to create change.

In the coming months, I will continue to work with students and others in the campus community as we undergo a strategic planning process, including an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. Your feedback will be critical to this plan moving forward.

I want all Spartans to reach their full potential, educationally and professionally. That starts with an inclusive, safe environment here at MSU. We all have purpose in being here, and we need to engage one another with dignity and respect.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.

President

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MSU Board of Trustees

WATCH: MSU Board of Trustees meeting after three major controversial incidents within the last week.

Posted by WILX News 10 on Friday, October 25, 2019