MSU issues statement in response to student's social media postings
A tweet that revealed purportedly racist sentiments by an MSU student drew intense social media attention — and prompted the university to issue a response to the incident.
On Tuesday, a freshman MSU student tweeted out a series of screenshots taken of another student's Snapchat, a sophomore. The tweet also accompanied a picture of the sophomore student's Facebook page. The sophomore is depicted as allegedly using and writing racial slurs in the photos.
The tweet naming the sophomore student in the photos has since been deleted, as of Wednesday night. The Twitter account associated with the tweet, the freshman MSU student's, has also been deleted.
Several Twitter users reported the student’s activity to the university.
MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant issued a statement in response to the situation on Wednesday.
“One of the university’s core values is inclusion, to have a campus environment that fosters free speech and the sharing of ideas and beliefs,” Guerrant said in the statement. “However, we do not condone racial harassment or bullying. The university is aware of the recent social media posts connected to an MSU student. As a public institution, we do not get to control what every member of our community says. What was said is clearly not aligned with our Spartan values.”
According to Guerrant, the university is looking to further address the situation.
“We are addressing this situation through multiple channels, and we are using it as an opportunity to keep a conversation about race and inclusion ongoing,” Guerrant said.
Guerrant’s full statement can be found here.
Multiple users on Twitter responded to the student’s comments, including Lorenzo Santavicca, president of the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU.
Vice President of Student Affairs and Servies Denise Maybank spoke to ASMSU at its meeting Thursday regarding the tweet.
“Right now we’re in a position where there are number of people who are paying attention to us once again,” Maybank said. “Anything and everything that happens at Michigan State right now is going to be magnified and multiplied. That’s just where we are.”
Maybank said the student who posted the racist tweet has been reached out to.
“There are people who are sending me emails, and some of them quite lengthy, that say this person should be expelled,” Maybank said. "We don't have a process for expelling people for things that they say, or publish, or post on social media that is not associated with an individual.”
Maybank said there was a large response from the MSU community regarding the post and she thanked students and student organizations who reported it.
“The responsibilities that have been shown forward by our community, I think is really important,” she said. “We are not just acting like this is unimportant, but there are limits to what we can do under certain circumstances.”
General assignment campus reporter Kaitlyn Kelley contributed to this reporting.
Editor's note — This article was last updated at 3:45 p.m. on March 30 to include comments from Vice President of Student Affairs and Services Denise Maybank.