LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan State University Interim President Teresa Woodruff sent out a statement to the MSU community on Friday saying the community “must do better” in addressing racism and facing down targeted violence against others.
The statement included two links from MSU’s website that she said “address our institutional role of providing safety, education, resources and support for students and our Spartan community.”
The two MSU web pages, Supporting Black Student Success and Supporting Our Israeli, Jewish, Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and All Impacted Communities, highlight the ways in which MSU says it has addressed concerns for these groups, as well as listing available campus resources and how to access them.
“Recently, we have heard rising student voices telling us we must do better. These come as conflict in the Middle East polarizes communities and emboldens antisemitism and Islamophobia,” Woodruff said in the email statement. “Black students share feelings of isolation and safety concerns due to racist expressions and harassment on our campus. Such local and global issues are interconnected since they can impede MSU’s priority of student success.”
On both of the two web pages, university officials provide instructions on how to file a report of a targeted or personal threat, or of discrimination on campus. They also list the steps in the university’s anti-discrimination policy investigation process.
The university’s messaging comes in the aftermath of several threats against Jewish and Muslim students on university campuses in the United States, as well as fresh controversies for MSU officials. These included the image of Adolf Hitler that showed on the Spartan Stadium videoboard as part of a trivia quiz before MSU’s rivalry football game Oct. 21.
Additionally, the Muslim Student Association this week took to social media, condemning the university’s lack of an official response to the death of a former MSU Humphrey Fellow killed in Gaza along with 15 members of his family.
“It is extremely disappointing that Michigan State University has failed to officially acknowledge the tragic murder of a member of the Spartan community,” the organization wrote on Instagram.
“Does Tariq’s life not matter enough for the administration to acknowledge his loss? This university has failed to recognize and support our communities, therefore actively contributing to the dehumanization of our Palestinian brothers and sisters…We call on the university to immediately release a statement of condolence for Tariq Thabet and his family and acknowledge the ongoing genocide in which they were martyred.”