Teach-In/Learn-In aims to address concerns, raise awareness at MSU
Organized in response to campus climate, the Teach-In/Learn-In hosted by MSU's three residential colleges was "an act of protest." The event raised concerns over the MSU administration and the university's handling of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
James Madison College, Lyman Briggs College and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities are behind the day-long event in order to give students, faculty and the MSU community the opportunity to share stories and concerns, ask and answer questions and take steps toward building a better MSU.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, the agenda included a dialogue training session and community forum that was led by M. Carmen Lane, an Organization and Individual Change Catalyst, in the Union Ballroom. The Teach-In/Learn in began again at 12:40 p.m. after breaking for lunch with more presentations, breakout sessions, panels and more conversations led by individuals and organizations around campus.
"I think that we're in a small community in the residential colleges, we need to own to what we said our mission is which is to focus on learning and teaching," James Madison College professor Andaluna Borcila said. "These are values that our institution does not have."
During the training session, Lane discussed how to properly give feedback during the breakout sessions and community forum and how to hold respectful dialogue between students, faculty and other members who wish to be a part of the conversation. Lane moderated the communication and discussion during the welcome session.
“We are here because something happened," Lane said. "This is not a proactive moment. We are a community that when something happens, we meet and discuss but nothing changes."
When the community forum portion began, many students expressed confusion about how policies are made at MSU and how the university power structure and the Board of Trustees works.
Lyman Briggs College interim dean Mark Largent was set to speak at 12:40 p.m. and give a presentation about the organization of MSU’s formal power structures in order to provide clarity and transparency to students and faculty.
Many students attended the Teach-In/Learn-In event to represent their organizations. Student Allies and Survivors Speak attended the event to raise awareness for the new organization and wants to be a part of the conversation.
“As of now, there’s not a ton of resources where we can just talk about it,” student leader Rosalyn Schaefer said.
Reclaim MSU, a coalition of students and staff, also participated in the Teach-In/Learn-In.
“We are here to raise awareness for survivors as well as the need for institutional change on campus regarding sexual assault and other forms of discrimination,” James Madison College freshman Katie Paulot said.
Many students and faculty filled up the second floor of the Union. During the community forum, students expressed they felt empowered by professors, and professors empowered by students.
"This is a huge university with tremendous resources," Lisa Biggs, a professor within the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, said. "All we have to do is keep doing these meetings and getting together."
Late in the event, there will be a few breakout sessions, organizations can sign up to hold open sessions, a discussion of "new steps" and a panel discussion that will focus around white nationalist Richard Spencer's visit to MSU and resisting hate.
Stay with The State News for continued coverage on the Teach-In/Learn-In event.