The IZZONE wasn’t green and wasn’t white Friday night.
To celebrate the survivors of ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual assault, the lower bowl of the MSU men’s basketball student section wore teal t-shirts at the Breslin Center. According to multiple section leaders of the IZZONE, more than 1,500 t-shirts were given out prior to the Spartans’ matchup against Wisconsin.
But to many, showing up the Breslin, the night had nothing to do with basketball.
“Us section leaders put together this, just to support the survivors of the Nassar case,” Izzone section leader and communication junior Maeve Degnan said. “We just wanted to take a stand from the students’ perspective and just prove that there are good people on this campus and we’re there for the survivors, supporting them.”
The decision to wear teal came days before the game. Word spread through group messages and social media. All of the shirts purchased were covered from donations, paid for by IZZONE alum and anonymous donors, letting the students show their support.
“We wanted to do it as soon as possible,” Degnan said. “We actually started talking about it at the beginning of the week. In our group chat we all said ‘What can we do? What can we do?’ We'll tell people to wear teal. As it blew up on Twitter we got donors reaching out to us, offering us money to pay for our shirts. And that’s how we were able to get these today that are on our side and agree that the survivors that we are here to listen and will speak for them too.”
Students said they were outraged of the university’s handling of sex abuse, that it has had an adverse effect to how people view the school.
“I think it’s important to remember right now Michigan State isn’t about the officials, those are in charge,” mechanical engineering freshman Libby Pozza said. “It’s more about the community here and the students. Being a student here I feel welcomed still. It’s still everything that I wanted it to be. I still love Michigan State.”
The movement, not inspired by the university or basketball staff, comes days after university president Lou Anna K. Simon resigned for the university’s handling of Nassar’s abuse on campus for years. Had Simon not resigned, members planned to wave an issue of The State News calling for her resignation.
Jessica Mehall, a biosystems engineering sophomore, said Simon’s resignation was a step in the correct direction, but more needs to be done to restore MSU’s reputation.
“I don’t think it’s behind us all the way, because there are steps that administration needs to take and things that need to happen for the victims,” Mehall said.
In addition to the shirts to raise awareness, members of the Izzone also created a GoFundMe to raise money for the Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention team of MSU and the Firecracker Foundation, which provides “holistic healing services to child survivors of sexual trauma.”
As of Friday night, donations had reached $5,500 of the $6,000 goal. To donate, you can do so here.
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