Friday, September 30, 2022

ASMSU Academic Committee passes bill advocating for renaming of Broad College lab

September 16, 2022
James Madison College Representative Shaurya Pandya speaks before the ASMSU Academic Affairs Committee on Sept. 15, 2022.
James Madison College Representative Shaurya Pandya speaks before the ASMSU Academic Affairs Committee on Sept. 15, 2022. —
Photo by Sheldon Krause | The State News

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, Academic Committee held a meeting on Sep. 15 electing a new chair and vice chair and passing two bills supporting donor accountability and renaming of a Broad College lab.

Elections

The committee held an election for a new vice chair. Committee members nominated College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Representative Nicholas Prestly and Council of Students with Disabilities Representative Maddie Tocco. After a ten-minute closed session, the committee held a private vote. Tocco won in a 4-3 vote with one abstention and immediately assumed the role. 

The committee then held an election for the new chair. Members nominated James Madison College Representative Shaurya Pandya and Asian Pacific American Student Organization, or APASO, Representative Connor Le. Both candidates gave two-minute speeches, which were followed by a closed session and private vote. 

The vote resulted in a 4-4 tie, so the committee determined that the candidates would each create a two-minute video to send to the committee members. Then all committee members — including those not in attendance at the meeting — would vote remotely for the new chair. 

Bill 59-10 

Le introduced Bill 59-10 which advocates for the removal of Larry Gaynor's name from the Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab in the Broad College of Business.

The Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab is a room in the Broad College of Business named after MSU alumnus and donor Larry Gaynor. Le said in 2020, Gaynor went on a racist tirade against Vietnamese-Americans and Vietnamese salon owners. Student groups first requested the name change in 2020, but it was dismissed at the time.

“We would like to ask MSU, ask Stanley, ask the Board of Trustees to really consider … if we really want (a lab) named after a racist man — who’s shown that he’s racist — on this campus,” Le said. “I want to reiterate the statement that MSU follows: ‘Hate has no home here.’ By actively having this room here, we are allowing hate to have a home here.”

Le demonstrated the feasibility of the name change by citing an instance in 2020 in which the name “Nisbet” was removed from Nisbet Hall due to Stephen Nisbet's affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan. Le said that the university would determine the lab’s new name.

After several more representatives echoed their support of the bill, the bill unanimously passed.

Bill 59-11 

Le introduced Bill 59-11 which aims to establish accountability policies and stricter background checks for MSU donors whose names may be included around buildings on campus.

Le said this bill would ensure that MSU and its donors are held accountable which would help the university create a more equal, equitable and inclusive environment. The bill unanimously passed.

Discussion

The committee unanimously voted to table the discussion item regarding goals for the committee until a new chair is elected. The committee adjourned the meeting at 8:11 p.m. The next General Assembly meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 22 in the International Center at 7 p.m. 

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