Monday, September 20, 2021

Racist comments sent during ASMSU virtual election

April 19, 2021
Chalk in front of the capitol at the Black Lives Matter "Community Call to Action" on June 20, 2020.
Chalk in front of the capitol at the Black Lives Matter "Community Call to Action" on June 20, 2020. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

The Associated Students of Michigan State University posted a press release to its social media platforms Friday addressing racist comments made in the Q&A feature via Zoom call.

On Thursday, April 15, ASMSU was hosting its final night of Office of the President elections when racist comments were made specifically targeting the Black community. The individual’s name was recorded and reported to the Office of Institutional Equity and other university officials, according to the release.

ASMSU panelists were the only ones who saw the racist comments, not any attendees or other livestream viewers. Nonetheless, ASMSU emphasized in the press release that the organization is committed to creating a culture of inclusivity and safety at its events, workplaces and elections.

Five security measures have been implemented into any future ASMSU meetings that are hosted via Zoom.

MSU NetID logins will be required, attendees’ chat function will be locked, Q&A options will be limited to host(s) view only, Zoom reports will be utilized to monitor call attendees, and in the incident of bias comments, ASMSU will pursue all actions through the OIE or other relevant offices.

The 57th General Assembly passed Bill 57-27, a bill where ASMSU shall advocate for a mandatory review of the Anti-Discrimination Policy every two years. James Madison College Rep. Jordan Kovach introduced Bill 57-27, and International Student Association Rep. Nikunj Agarwal seconded it.

The bill asks that the university Anti-Discrimination Policy is updated to explicitly prohibit virtual discrimination when it could reasonably create a hostile environment within an education program or activity sanctioned by MSU, according to the press release.

Bill 57-27 also advocated for several new topics to be included within the Anti-Discrimination Policy such as a maximum 90-day window for OIE to complete investigations.

ASMSU is encouraging students who feel they have been impacted by the racist comments to take time for themselves and/or reach out to a trusted professional. 

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Shiksha Sneha can be contacted at diversity@asmsu.msu.edu for any questions or concerns.

For support related to this incident, visit MSU Counseling & Psychiatric Services or the Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives Office.

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