At their Oct. 30 meeting, the Michigan State Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Jabbar Bennett as the university's inaugural vice president and chief diversity officer, as well as addressing the concerns for public safety as football continues this weekend, at their.
Bennett was selected to fill the role Oct. 6, after meetings with finalists and a national search. He will begin on Dec. 1.
"The search committee, which included faculty, staff and students, worked incredibly hard to make every step of the search process as open and inclusive as possible, and I want to give special thanks to Dean Chris Long of the College of Arts and Letters and Dr. Melissa Woo the executive vice president for administration and chief information officer for leading the search," MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said. "I am certain Dr. Bennet will help us transform diversity, equity and inclusion across our university."
Additionally, the board approved tenure appointments of including Professor for the College of Nursing Susan Buchholz and Professor in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in the College of Human Medicine Thomas O’Halloran.
As Saturday's football game against the University of Michigan approaches, Stanley addressed the recent outdoor gathering regulations that the city made.
"We're looking forward to resumption of our football rivalry with the University of Michigan tomorrow, and of course it's also Halloween, so we're making special efforts to urge people to avoid large gatherings," Stanley said.
Certain parts of East Lansing are now limited to 10 people in outside gatherings.
"We expect that Michigan State University students will comply with these very important public health protocols," he said.
Last weekend there were eight large parties in East Lansing resulting in $500 penalties. There have been 38 large gathering violations issued to MSU students, all of which have been submitted to the dean of students disciplinary system.
"For people, particularly off campus — and particularly the temptations that come as we have Halloween and we have the game — really have to exert that willpower, really have to avoid large groups and even groups of 10 or more, constitute a violation in East Lansing and really have to stick to doing the right thing to prevent transmission of disease," Stanley said in a press conference after the meeting.
According to university deputy spokesperson Dan Olsen, 73 cases have been referred to the Dean of Students Office, and, of those 73, 23 interim suspensions have been issued. The suspensions are made when students' conduct presents a clear or present danger to a person or property.
They remain in place until a student successfully petitions for reinstatement or the student conduct process has been resolved.
Stanley said if multiple suspensions are brought forward, they are considering the possibility of expulsions.
"I want to thank all of those students, faculty and staff at Michigan State who are following the safety guidelines by wearing masks, limiting gatherings and following other precautions, and I encourage everyone in Michigan State University, East Lansing and in Ann Arbor this weekend to follow the same precautions," Stanley said.
The meeting also included the adoption of the State of Michigan Fiscal Year 2022 Five-Year Capital Outlay Plan, which aims to cut unnecessary expenses and add the funding for a multicultural center and renovations for the new African American and African Studies Department.
"Due to the challenges we are facing due to the pandemic, the state is not accepting major project requests for fiscal year 2022," Chair of the Committee on Budget and Finance Melanie Foster said. "Therefore, this year's capital outline process only includes the collection of five-year plans."
The project list can be seen attached to the memorandum, which clarified that the university provides a more significant potential list of priority projects, which is why the list is longer than the number of projects that would move forward in the five-year timeframe.
Foster said that the university is facing a $147 million deficit. Stanley clarified that while it is where the university currently stands, it doesn't completely take into account some of the mitigation strategies and some of the use of reserves that may be used to recover.
"So, it doesn't mean necessarily that we have a new $147 million worth of cuts to make, it rather expresses what the difference is between revenues and expenditures that we need to deal with," Stanley said.
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