Wednesday, August 12, 2020

President Stanley agrees to 3 student demands to improve diversity and inclusion

November 1, 2019
<p>Lily Cross, a journalism freshman, chants about how &quot;the university won&#x27;t take a clear stance on the genuine side of those who are meant to be heard.&quot; She continues her speech by saying &quot;I don&#x27;t have to know (the victims), but I feel for them. I don&#x27;t have to be anything specific to feel for them since it should be humane. It&#x27;s not right at all.&quot;</p>

Lily Cross, a journalism freshman, chants about how "the university won't take a clear stance on the genuine side of those who are meant to be heard." She continues her speech by saying "I don't have to know (the victims), but I feel for them. I don't have to be anything specific to feel for them since it should be humane. It's not right at all."

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

In the wake of several racist incidents on Michigan State University's campus, several protests have been held by different student groups, encouraging community members to speak up for justice and change.

There were 10 demands to the university administration from protesting students, forming a 10-point plan for diversity, equity and inclusion on campus:

  1. "We demand the revitalization of the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions office, its programming, and the Intercultural Aide program by Fall 2020.
  2. We demand a mandatory general education course for all students on race, ethnicity, racism and gender to be implemented into curriculum by Fall 2020.
  3. We demand cultural, racial and religious sensitivity training for all University faculty, staff, contractors and police officers as outlined by a student selected group by Fall 2020.
  4. We demand the Black and Minority faculty and staff demographics in each department reflect the current national demographics by December 2021.
  5. We demand that Michigan State University become registered as a sanctuary school.
  6. We demand the addition of reflection rooms in all campus neighborhoods.
  7. We demand that a free-standing multicultural building be placed on campus.
  8. We demand that Michigan State University increase the number of gender inclusive housing options and restrooms on campus by 75% by the start of the Fall 2020 semester.
  9. We demand that the flat rate tuition price be dropped to the price of 12 credit hours by the start of the Winter 2020 semester.
  10. We demand that the Student Affairs create a designated fund for the Council of Progressive Students (COPS)."

On Wednesday, students hosted a peaceful sit-in at the Hannah Administration Building against discrimination.

"It was an empowering and beautiful moment to be surrounded by so many people that believe in the same cause," Tammi Cervantes, senior president for MSU's Free-Standing Multicultural Building, said. "But, also disheartening that we had to reach this point because the university has shown a history of not caring about marginalized groups on campus."

It was through a tweet that people learned about President Stanley's response to the list of demands.

A video was uploaded of Stanley standing in a circle of protesting students.

"I want to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that one of my sincere beliefs is making sure we have the safest campus possible," Stanley said. "A campus where people feel welcome and secure."

Stanley has officially agreed to three of the 10 points.

He will meet with minority student leaders monthly, rather than semesterly. He said, as long as they feel it is productive, he is committed to making those meetings.

He is also committed to administration transparency.

And although he is unable to provide commitment for a strategic plan for demands two, three, five, seven and nine, Stanley has committed to actively start working on the 10-point plan that MSU CORES and COPS created.

"I'm very appreciative of you bringing these demands to me. I look forward to continuing to work to make things right," Stanley continued. "We will be doing a full scale plan for university diversity, equity and inclusion and student voices will be a critical part of this plan."

This is a developing story. We'll continue to update this story; check back for more.

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