Friday, July 10, 2020

Student Activism Has Many Facets at MSU

August 26, 2015

Spartans will rise to the occasion.

At MSU, students have been an integral part in creating a conversation on key issues such as race, ethnicity, sexual assault and student debt.

Black Lives Matter

On Nov. 24 in Ferguson, Mo., a grand jury announced they were not going to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of unarmed black man Michael Brown.

Brown was shot to death by Wilson on Aug. 9. Brown was left for four hours on the road before his body was moved, according to the New York Times.

Brown’s case made national and international headlines, and it also moved others to act; the group Black Lives Matter was formed after the killing.

In East Lansing, members of the MSU Black Student Alliance, inspired by protests happening around the country, organized protests and events to challenge the justice system and raise awareness of the inequalities that blacks and other minorities have to face on a daily base.

On Oct. 22, members of the Black Student Alliance organized a rally to protest police brutality. Protesters went into the East Lansing Police Department and issued demands for the disposal of military weapons and the implementation of body cameras for all police officers.

Months later, members of the Black Student Alliance as well as other student organizations blocked Grand River Avenue. The students also did a series of sit-ins and protests at the MSU Library.

Sexual Assault

MSU has been under federal investigation since February 2014 for the mishandling of sexual assault cases under Title XI regulations.

However, the investigation did not stop MSU from inviting Washington Post columnist George Will to speak on the fall commencement.

Will wrote an opinion piece on June 2014 in which he claimed the “supposed campus epidemic of rape” is being pushed by progressivism in America, and has made “victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges.”

As expected, Will’s invitation was criticized by members of the community.

The students protested Will’s participation in the commencement ceremony and signed a petition asking the withdrawal of Will’s participation. They did not succeed.

However, the protesters were successful in revealing MSU expenditures in speakers and opened a conversation on sexual assault on campus.

Teacher Assistants

Teacher Assistants, or TAs, have been the face of lectures at MSU — without them, teaching and grading the more than 40,000 undergraduate students on time could be difficult.

Grouped under the Graduate Employees Union, TAs were able to negotiate their new contract before their May 15th expiration date.

One of the last events included an attempt to confront President Lou Anna K. Simon in her office to deliver demands and a petition with 1,166 signatures, though Simon was not in her office at the time. A three-day grade-in was also staged.

On May 13 a deal was struck and GEU claimed victory.

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