June 21, 2017
Members of the Board, President Simon, administrators, and fellow Spartans:
Over the past few months, we have seen a number of headlines around the cases of sexual assault at Michigan State University. Upon seeing the institution and community you love end up in some of the most devastating press, you can’t help but wonder how we’re going to come back, stronger and “bolder” than ever.
Our MSU football team is just one area where we have seen the unfortunate acts of sexual assault committed. I personally reached out to Athletic Director Hollis and Coach Dantonio to thank them for their leadership as shown by the Day-Jones investigation. But, to anyone who tries to segregate the issue to one area of the university has it entirely wrong. Our “unconditional love” for MSU must be front-lined on this issue, where we find the courage to take action and instill an environment on and off campus that is not welcoming to sexual assault and harassment in any form, anywhere at MSU.
Throughout these upsetting times, I have consistently met with President Simon, members of the board of trustees individually, and other top leadership here at MSU. I can say that through these many emotional conversations, I have been reassured that we have a true sense of hope that we can embrace as a community.
While I do believe in hope for a “better tomorrow,” I have repeatedly told every single individual it remains critical that our university administration must keep our community regularly informed. “Our Commitment” on these efforts as an institution must not cease after a website announcement.
We must be able to trust one another in this time of healing; especially through the reporting process. I am speaking up for students today on this fact in spite of a decision one of our trustees made to expose a reporter of sexual assault on the football team. This is plainly unacceptable. Period; no excuse for, or about it.
On the actions taken today with the budget guidelines and tuition rates, I know that the inevitable increase will undeniably place a heavier burden on students’ decisions on how to succeed once they come or return this fall to MSU. More of our students’ focus during the academic year will end up toward searching for multiple job opportunities to pay for education expenses rather than determined focus on academic success in the classroom, or skilled internships. Every dollar counts. I urge our administration and trustees to keep this in mind when we recruit and enroll a financially-different student demographic than the University of Michigan.
Not only are our tuition rate frustrations to be handled with university administration, but once again, our state legislature. Our elected officials must recognize the necessary value and contribution toward the State of Michigan that comes from higher education. It needs to be a commitment from certainly our students to register to vote and channel their frustration with the lack of funding when it comes time for election season. I’m proud to share today that over the next year, ASMSU is committing to engaged education and advocacy about this component of our tuition and budget decisions for MSU. We have to do better and tell those in power this cannot go on forever.
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