November 30, 2020
When I first arrived at Michigan State University in 2017, I saw the ugly form
that blatant discrimination and microagressions could take our campus. Several
years down the road, I have watched members of several communities call out
for action against perpetrators of discrimination. Students have risen in solidarity
during protests, sit-ins, committees and forums.
Last year, I was a General Assembly representative for James Madison
College. In this position I had the privilege of writing and passing ASMSU bill
56-31 – a bill to advocate for mandatory annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
education and development for all faculty, staff and students of MSU.
Today, I write to you with a sense of gratitude as the intent of this bill is coming
to fulfillment. Earlier this month, the university began making this mandatory DEI
education and development available to students, faculty and staff. It is called
DEI Foundations at MSU. Students should have received an email from
firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the training. If you have not received an email,
visit ora.msu.edu/train and login with your NetID.
I hope that through this education and development we, as Spartans, can
provide a campus that is safe, respectful, welcoming and supportive for all. It
will allow Spartans to consider how we treat one another, discuss issues
confronting our society, and make a statement of MSU’s institutional values and
workplace expectations surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.
Multiple campus departments and organizations were consulted while
developing this curriculum, including ASMSU. Student body leaders were
involved in this process advocating on behalf of all undergraduate students.
Student educational modules will focus on understanding the benefits of living in
a diverse community and explore their role in creating an inclusive campus
community. Modules will also provide an overview of identities and challenge
you to reflect on your own identities, as well as provide a basic understanding of
the concepts of allyship, power, privilege, respect and inclusion.
We must remember that this work is not a sprint, but a marathon. Change will
not happen overnight, but this is a step in the right direction. I look forward to
the progress we will make as a campus community following this education and
development, and know that our future at MSU is bright and inclusive.
In Green and White,
Abii-Tah Chungong Bih, ASMSU President.