Saturday, September 26, 2020

Stanley responds to racist display at Wharton Center

February 6, 2020
<p>MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. speaks during an ASMSU general assembly meeting on Jan. 16, 2020 at the MSU International Center. </p>

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. speaks during an ASMSU general assembly meeting on Jan. 16, 2020 at the MSU International Center.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. addressed a racist display in the Wharton Center's gift shop via email to the Michigan State community Thursday.

The display featured prominent black figures hanging on a tree. It has since been taken down.

Because of the incident, Wharton Gifts' management and staff is being restructured and diversity is becoming a priority, Stanley's email said.

"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," he said in the email. More than listening and sincerely apologizing, we are making changes to ensure we have a safe and supportive campus."

Stanley mentioned the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan that was announced in December. He also touched on the university's national search to fill Paulette Granberry Russell's role as director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

"Spartans need to come together as a community and unite in a common belief that all people are welcome on our campus," the email read. "We have differences. However, these differences should not divide us, but become our strength as we continue to impact the world through our collective talents. The responsibility of creating a truly inclusive campus should not fall on one person but should be a shared priority for all. All of us must confront the personal attitudes that conveniently blind us to our past and, as a result, make it difficult for us to move forward."

This follows a series of racist incidents that began in October, including a toilet paper noose being hung on the door of a black student in Bryan Hall and a university Sona survey that included racist and xenophobic slurs.

The full email can be read below.

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