East Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. today unveiled an overview of what campus faculty, staff and students can expect during the fall 2020 semester.
President Stanley’s letter outlined several new iniatives in the diversity and equity department. He announced the university is currently interviewing seven semifinalists for the chief diversity officer position following Paulette Granberry Russell’s departure for a California State University.
Stanley also announced the creation of a DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion) task force and a re-evaluation of practices that impede students’ of color success.
Speaking to fall enrollment numbers, Stanley said numbers look “promising” as the university is seeing an increase in in-state residents planning to attend.
Stanley acknowledged there will be challenges for MSU’s international and out-of-state students.
On Monday, the Trump administration on Monday unveiled new fall semester rules for foreign students, including a requirement that they take in-person classes to remain in the U.S.
Under the new guidelines by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which oversees the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program, foreigners with F-1 or M-1 visas — which are for academic and vocational international students, respectively — will not be allowed to participate in an entirely online fall semester.
Stanley said that the university is “communicating with students so they know what to expect when they come to campus, as well as what’s expected of them.”
In the sports department, Stanley said that MSU will likely see “reduced capacity” at its Spartan Stadium.
In early June, MSU’s athletic director Bill Beekman said he believes there’s a way to make the football season work under limited capacity, which would be somewhere between 20-30 percent in a stadium that holds up towards 75,000 people.
“National facility groups that have looked at this across college and pro football stadiums, the ranges (for capacity) have been roughly 17 percent to as much as 35 percent,” said Beekman. “We’re still in the process of modeling that and trying to think through the best way to accommodate the most people in a way that is safe, but we would be planning on numbers somewhere in that range.”
Perhaps the largest reduction amid the COVID-19 pandemic and MSU is the financial losses. Stanley said the university is addressing $300 million of impact to the general fund. As a result, the university has furloughed some employees, reduced wages and slashed retirement contributions for some.
On June 24, officials with Michigan State University announced campus-wide salary reductions for non-union employees to help deal with hundreds of millions of dollars in expected losses due to the pandemic.
MSU Officials say those cuts will go into effect Sept 1, and apply for at least one year.
The cuts will range from 0.5 percent for those making less than $50,000 annually and 7 percent for those making more than $500,000. In addition, retirement contributions from the university are being cut from 10 to 5 percent next year, which some say will hit younger employees harder.
For more updates surrounding the fall semester at MSU, visit msu.edu