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Michigan State VP of Research Stephen Hsu resigns

June 19, 2020
<p>The Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 23, 2019 in East Lansing.  </p>

The Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 23, 2019 in East Lansing.

Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced Friday that Stephen Hsu is resigning as Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, returning to a tenured faculty position, effective July 1.

“I believe this is what is best for our university to continue our progress forward. The exchange of ideas is essential to higher education, and I fully support our faculty and their academic freedom to address the most difficult and controversial issues," Stanley said. "But when senior administrators at MSU choose to speak out on any issue, they are viewed as speaking for the university as a whole. Their statements should not leave any room for doubt about their, or our, commitment to the success of faculty, staff and students.”  

Stanley plans to appoint an interim VP in the coming days and will consult with the Academic Governance Steering Committee on this selection in accordance with university policies, according to the statement.

The MSU Graduate Employees Union posted a Twitter thread June 10 calling for Hsu to be removed, denouncing scientific racism, sexism, eugenicist research and conflicts of interest, sparking concerns on social media.

The GEU's petition for his removal received more than 800 signatures.

A faculty-led petition was also started and sent to President Stanley last weekend. A counter-petition in support of Hsu was also circulating this week.

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, also called for his removal in an impromptu summer meeting Thursday.

Hsu was hired to lead the university's research enterprise as the VP for Research and Graduate Studies under ex-MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon in 2012.

Hsu's prior experience in academic administration was serving as director of the University of Oregon’s Institute for Theoretical Science.

Prior to MSU, his research and primary work had been in applications of quantum field theory, particularly to problems in quantum chromodynamics, dark energy, black holes, entropy bounds and particle physics. He also co-founded Silicon Valley companies SafeWeb and Robot Genius Inc.

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