Editorial: Keep singing, Spartans. Make them listen
Spartans, everyone’s watching you.
This is no longer just about the president or the Board of Trustees.
The nation has seen what you can do: You have organized marches and protests to hold the university accountable, worn teal to support survivors and gathered governing bodies to vote for change.
Most importantly, our university has seen your power.
But we can’t let that power be used only in special circumstances. The only way to see change in leadership is to keep fighting.
For the Spartan community to continue its revolution, we have to remain vigilant in all circumstances.
We have to question every alleged perpetrator, scrutinize every possible enabler and fight every incident of potential abuse.
Modern culture thrives on idolizing figures who are masters of their profession. Because they’re looked up to, they can do no wrong. They’re untouchable.
But this is not true. Idols you look up to can, and do, make mistakes.
Just look at Larry Nassar. He was “the golden standard.” He was revered as a “god.” And it’s his strong reputation that enabled him to continue abusing women and girls for so long.
But people are not gods. They’re human.
And just because someone has a positive reputation in a community does not mean they are exempt from wrongdoing.
We would be remiss to say that simply because someone has served our school for years, or because they bring national acclaim to our school or our favorite sports program, they could never fail in other areas.
It’s time people start being open to the idea that high-profile figures can do wrong.
This does not apply only to those who are nationally known, it applies to all staff in all departments. Everyone must be held accountable.
Public figures require carefully constructed images, especially for figures who can’t risk isolating large portions of their base by stating a controversial belief.
It’s nearly impossible to know how the people who represent the Spartan name on a global scale truly feel.
Just because someone is considered an idol doesn’t mean they’re invincible to outside issues.
Just because the person everyone is talking about has never harmed you doesn’t mean they haven’t harmed someone else.
We are not on a witch hunt, angrily looking for someone to blame.
As reporters, we bring you the facts as we get them.
Even as we continue to follow campus controversies as closely as we can, we simply don’t know the full extent of, if anything, what our Spartan leaders knew previously.
Because of that, we aren’t asking you to immediately disown anyone, nor do we expect you to assume a person’s guilt before they can be proven innocent.
We are simply asking that you be open to the possibility of wrongdoing, and to let the facts dictate the information you spread — even if it’s by a beloved figure.
We are Spartans, too.
Many of us who report on these stories face the same heartbreaking prospect as many of you: finding out our favorite people on campus may have supported a culture that enabled sexual assault.
But, we know people deserve to be believed and investigations need to run their course.
So before you write off someone coming forward with allegations of sexual assault as fake news, wait and listen.
We’ve seen what happens when victims are ignored. Now is the time to force a culture change so someone like Larry Nassar can never thrive here again.
Now is the time to question even our most beloved leaders.
Spartans, this is the beginning of our revolution. Now is the time to make a difference.
Spartans won’t be silenced.
The State News Editorial Board is made up of the Editor-in-Chief Rachel Fradette, Managing Editor McKenna Ross, Campus Editor Madison O’Connor, City Editor Souichi Terada, Features Editor Sasha Zidar, Sports Editor Jonathan LeBlanc, Inclusion Representative Maxwell Evans, Staff Representative Marie Weidmayer and Copy Chief Casey Holland.