Dear College of Arts & Letters alumni and friends,
By now many of you have heard that the university has agreed in principle to a $500 million global settlement with the survivors of the sexual abuse committed by former Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar.
This important moment of accountability comes at the end of a difficult semester in which we have embarked upon a process of critical self-reflection that will enable us to live up to our commitments to one another as members of the MSU community.
Students, faculty, and staff here in the College of Arts & Letters are reviewing and revising the policies and procedures that shape the lives of our departments and programs to ensure that they cultivate a culture of trust, accountability, and care. These efforts have included academic leaders from across colleges coming together to have regular and candid discussions about how to effect positive change in MSU’s culture. We have held town hall meetings, student-centered roundtables, and department reflection days on mentoring, advising, and pedagogies. On April 19, we hosted Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, through the Transformative Justice Series led by Xhercis Mendez. More than 1,400 heard her speak about sexual abuse and empowerment through empathy.
In our April 2018 College of Arts & Letters Alumni Board meeting, we shared our sadness, disappointment, anger, frustration, and our deep commitment to undertake the difficult work ahead of us with integrity and urgency.
When we commit ourselves in our daily interactions with one another to being more vulnerable and more genuine, we nourish the roots of a culture of trust. If we as a College and University are not significantly different in the wake of what we are learning about ourselves and our institution, we will have failed to do justice to the truth the survivors have spoken.
This will be a long journey; it will take courage and patience and time. As we embark upon it together, I would ask each of you to consider how you might contribute to advancing cultural change at MSU. To that end, I invite you to offer your ideas about how we as a College and institution can better live up to the values for which we advocate, as your voices, actions, and support are critical to building a culture of accountability. Please send your thoughts to Christine Radtke, Senior Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517.353.4725. Christine and I look forward to your input and further conversations as we continue to create the university we expect ourselves to be.
Christopher P. Long
Dean of the College of Arts & Letters