Thursday, February 20, 2020

MSU featured on Saturday Night Live for Wharton Center incident

February 10, 2020
Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

Saturday Night Live included Michigan State University in its Feb. 8 Weekend Update

Hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che discussed the recent incident at the Wharton Center gift shop. 

Complaints of racism occurred after the Wharton Center had a display of prominent African American figures posed on a tree as if they were being hung. 

“The Michigan State University Gift Shop was forced to remove a display of dolls depicting black historical figures hanging from a rack,” Che said on the show. “Worse, they were being sold for 3/5th the regular price.” 

Che then acknowledged that the comment was, "Just a good math and history joke.” 

MSU has removed the display since receiving complaints and President Samuel L. Stanley issued a statement via email saying that the Wharton’s management and staff will be restructured, and that diversity is a priority. 

"I want those who have felt the visceral impact of this incident to know that they are heard — by me and every leader of this university," Stanley said in the email. "More than listening and sincerely apologizing, we are making changes to ensure we have a safe and supportive campus."

After the show had aired, ReclaimMSU responded via Twitter, saying “We have to do better.” 

The segment of the show about MSU concluded with another joke from Che. 

“The school says they've since moved the dolls to a more appropriate, secure display case,” Che said, while the screen showed an edited image of the dolls in a fake jail cell. 

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