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MSU Values are Unwavering

Director, Paulette Granberry Russell

2-24-2017

At Michigan State University, and in communities across the nation, the changes occurring at the national level resulting from a new administration are welcome for some, and unwelcome for others. As a result, we are witnessing heated debate on what these changes mean on an individual, state, and national level. 

The recent pronouncements on immigration reform cause us concern for the well-being and security of our international students, scholars, and staff.  As a major research institution, we have joined with others to speak out about the potential negative impacts on our ability to recruit the best and brightest global talent to our campus and to Michigan. This week, federal guidance on the rights of transgender students has changed. Though this does not have any immediate impact on the way we interpret our policies or provide protections on our campus, the general uncertainty about what it means for individuals in our campus community has created stress and anxiety for many.

When things are uncertain, or even feel that way, it is important to remind ourselves of what is enduring.  For MSU, what stands as most durable—most constant and unwavering—are our values.

MSU regards its diversity as an asset. This is not a slogan.  Because we have invested in being a diverse campus, we have a responsibility to all who live, learn, and work here to stay true to our core value of inclusivity. This means that we monitor national events, listen to the voices of those within our Spartan community who are affected, understand their needs, and do what is within our power to provide support, resources, and reassurance that you are welcomed and celebrated members of the MSU community.  

There are MSU teams of administrators, staff, and faculty reacting daily to the needs of our students, faculty, and staff to provide them information and to direct them to resources that will help them navigate the uncertainty of immigration reform. The Office of International Studies and Programs is monitoring changes in policy, law, and regulation to provide guidance to the Spartan community. 

This week, the 2016 joint guidance from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education addressing protections provided to transgender students under federal Title IX law was withdrawn. At MSU, the change will not affect our commitment to supporting the transgender student community.  Our nondiscrimination and harassment policies and practices are longstanding and existed in their current form well before the 2016 federal guidance. They remain unchanged.  Campus administrators, faculty and staff, work diligently to provide support, counsel, and resources that are available to our transgender community. 

In times of change, the decisions we make, how we treat each other, and why we do the things we do in response to change will be drawn from our values, especially our core value of inclusion. MSU’s values will continue to guide our decisions and our actions. 

Paulette Granberry Russell
Senior Advisor to the President and Director 
Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives

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