The Michigan State Black Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association, or BFSAA, wrote a letter in response to the selection of Teresa Woodruff as Michigan State University's next provost opposing her appointment by President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.
The letter, authored by BFSAA President Eunice Foster, described the disappointment the organization experienced following Woodruff's appointment.
"While we applaud Dr. Woodruff’s academic credentials as a scholar, and as we indicated in our feedback to the committee, if she were applying for or being hired as a distinguished professor or an endowed chair, we would be welcoming her enthusiastically to MSU. However, her limited administrative and narrow range of diversity experiences pale in comparison to the other candidates," the letter said.
The letter also touched on the levels of experience in diversity, equity and inclusion between the three finalists.
"You owe the MSU community a greater explanation of your selection than your letter provides given the stellar records of the other two candidates and their vast, outstanding administrative and exceptional DEI experiences. Our evolving trust in you as a strong advocate for diversity has been shattered," the letter said.
The association concluded that they will work with Woodruff as provost, but her selection is disappointing.
The Coalition of Racial/Ethnic Minorities, or COREM, and BFSAA both provided feedback to the search committee during the interview process discussing their concern about her lack of experience in dealing with issues regarding diversity, equity and inclusion, Foster said.
"When we had an opportunity for healing, leadership, bringing people together, as well as advancing our research as an institution, we decided we didn't want to do that," Foster said. "We're going to play the status quo and do what we've always done and ignore solving the problems, and it sounds like lip-service. It doesn't sound like sincerity. It doesn't sound like MSU really wants to make a difference."
She said that as she has interpreted it and discussed with the BFSAA, MSU has no made progress with diversity efforts.
"Actions speak louder than words," she said. "These actions have been broadcast throughout the world as far as I'm concerned. These are just loud actions, and this just demonstrates where MSU is and we have not moved."
The letter was also sent to the MSU Board of Trustees, Interim Provost Teresa Sullivan, the MSU Black Alumni Association, the Lansing branch of the NAACP and The State News.
An MSU spokesperson could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
The full letter can be viewed below.
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