Hundreds attend trustee's town hall, say Spartans feel unheard
Students, faculty and members of the community voiced their opinions at the town hall meeting hosted by MSU Trustee Brian Mosallam Thursday night.
Mosallam was in attendance. He spoke at the beginning and at the end, and said he was there to only hear the community’s concerns.
“Tonight is the beginning of many conversations where I promise to listen, listen and listen,” Mosallam said.
There was an upset about how only one MSU Board of Trustees member was present.
One reoccurring theme of the meeting was how students and survivors feel unsafe and unheard.
Anna Cumming, president of Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention Team, said she carries a pager on her at all times. When it goes off, it means someone has been sexually assaulted. No matter what time it is, she said she drops what she is doing to go to the hospital and be with them.
“But what I really want from the trustees is I want you to listen to survivors and hear their stories,” Cumming said. “I want you to extend a formal invitation not only to Nassar survivors, but survivors from the many sexual assaults that occur on this campus.”
Many people in attendance recounted their personal experiences with sexual assault on campus. Most said they were ignored and told there was no proof when they tried to speak up when the crimes first occurred. Alondra Alvizo, student leader, activist and first-generation college Latina called for those responsible at this university be held accountable for their actions.
“All the women from the Nassar case have taught me a lot about bravery,” Alvizo said. "Because I have experienced sexual assault not once, but twice on this campus. I experienced it from members that represent this community because they hold positions of social economic power, and their peers, their fellow men, were not men enough to correct them, to teach them about sexual assault.”
Some in attendance said there were not nearly enough resources and counselors provided to those who have experienced sexual abuse. It was a consensus that many did not want to give MSU another cent, especially when they felt their money was not being spent properly on resources to keep them safe.
Event organizers turned some attendees away and said the event was at capacity. They announced 3,000 to 5,000 individuals were waiting outside to be let in.
Aivizo was the first attendee to speak. She asked why more people could not be let in and suggested the meeting be delayed until everyone who wanted to be a part of the meeting was able to. The walls of the conference room were eventually torn down and the room was expanded.
Several people called for John Engler, who was recently appointed as interim president, to resign. Many students said they are upset with his past and do not believe he will provide the change they feel MSU desperately needs.
The crowd pushed Mosallam to respond in the middle of the meeting. Mosallam said he did not agree with past policies at the board meeting.
“For the sake of unification, I agreed to vote with the majority,” Mosallam said.
There was an overwhelming response from those who attended, and many raised their hands to share a statement. Not everyone who wanted to speak was able to because of time constraints. They were able to keep room, which was originally booked until 9 p.m., until 9:45 p.m.
As the meeting drew to a close, many individuals were still upset.
“MSU has a gangrene rotting on the inside,” Rob LaDuca associate dean for administration and academic governance, said.