As The State News’ editor-in-chief, I was tasked with introducing this issue, our survivors issue.
I wrote and rewrote this note a dozen times — I don’t know how to put into words how deeply the last three and a half years affected me and how they fundamentally altered our community. I’m sure they’ve had a strong impact on you, too.
What I know is this: During the last three years, I have been angry. I have been ashamed. I have been confused, afraid and lost.
But I’ve also been hopeful.
Around this time three years ago, Michigan State was finally starting to address accusations of sexual abuse against its former renowned doctor. Two years ago was Larry Nassar’s sentencing, the downfall of former President Lou Anna K. Simon and an outpouring of activism. And just last year, John Engler resigned following nearly 12 controversial months as interim president.
But this January feels different. In some ways, it feels like we’ve moved on, inching closer to another chapter. News about MSU’s administration no longer breaks every day. There aren’t marches or rallies or protests every other weekend. I don’t see small teal ribbons fastened to backpacks nearly as often.
And now, a large part of our campus community is made up of people who weren’t here to witness the university’s upheaval and the grassroots revolution and self-empowerment that followed.
So why publish this issue?
Because change is still happening. Even if it’s not immediately visible. There are still people fighting every single day to make our university a better place, and just because things have seemed to slow down doesn’t mean there’s not still work to be done.
Within this issue spanning both print and online, you’ll find stories of activism and advocacy, the changes that came from the turmoil, perspectives on survivorship and more.
For those of you who were not on MSU’s campus last year, or even the year before, I encourage you to use this issue to begin to understand a period of our university’s history we cannot afford to forget.
If you were here, this issue serves as a powerful reminder to look back on what we’ve accomplished as a community. We believed survivors. We demanded accountability. We stood by each other every single time the university failed to stand by us.
I’ve been hopeful because I know what this community is capable of achieving.
This story is not in the past.
It is our job as a community to continue to fight for change, not just for the sister survivors, but for every single survivor of sexual violence on this campus.