Students, faculty and community members who rallied with Reclaim MSU called for change and transparency from the MSU Board of Trustees at the Hannah Administration Building on Friday. While carrying upside down Spartan helmet posters and wrapping teal ribbons around railings, participants listened to speeches from members of the MSU community.
Member of Reclaim MSU Rachel Alexander said she would like to see members of faculty and the student population on the Board of Trustees and said it’s done at other schools.
“Things have been settling down. People have been getting tired,” Alexander said. “I think a lot of what this rally is meant to say is we cannot afford to be tired, we have a lot of work to do and also, we have a real plan in place. We are asking for very real things.”
Reclaim MSU is calling for a change of the bylaws of the Board of Trustees, demanding representation of students and faculty is the decision-making processes of the board. Reclaim MSU also has a policy proposal with an outline of a University Board, which would be comprised of students and faculty who would represent the members of the university community.
Valerie von Frank, the mother of a survivor of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's abuse, gave a speech on the steps of the Hannah Administration Building. She condemned the actions of the board and Interim President John Engler while encouraging the students and faculty at the rally.
“To change a culture, which is what you all are trying to do, is exhausting — it requires constant thought and ever-present vigilance. It requires unrelenting effort day after year, after decade,” von Frank said. “The actions you are taking now are shaping how we will be in this country in the future.”
Communications Coordinator for Reclaim MSU and rally organizer Natalie Rogers said the rally was meant as a reminder for the board that the university community is expecting change, and that it’s not happening quickly enough. She said Reclaim MSU is calling for student and faculty inclusion the search for a new president.
“Having our voice included in the governance of the university is so important because we’re in this position right now because we weren’t included in governance,” Rogers said. “We’re in this position because the administration lost sight of what their role is and what their purpose is, and that is to protect and support and represent the communities here, not worry about the brand and reputation of Michigan State.”