Friday, September 30, 2022

EDITORIAL: MSU students deserve clear answers from Board of Trustees

September 20, 2022
A Michigan State University sign on Beal Street on Aug. 23, 2019.
A Michigan State University sign on Beal Street on Aug. 23, 2019. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

The MSU Board of Trustees needs to get it together. 

With all of the confusion between various news articles, press releases and statements about the discussion of President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.’s contract, students don’t know where to get the right information. 

Student and faculty groups have demanded more transparency in the process. The Board of Trustees are supposed to be there for students and respond to their needs, not further confuse them with another alleged university president scandal.

Yet the board as a whole has been silent. Aside from some trustees like Dianne Byrum and Melanie Foster voicing support for Stanley and others going on the record with various news publications to share information, the board has not had a productive public discussion.

That’s unacceptable.

As elected officials, the trustees need to come together and communicate clearly with the public, not pick and choose which publications they want to give an exclusive to next individually or anonymously. It’s confusing for the MSU community to find out information about its president through conflicting headlines. The board should give the MSU community – the community it was elected to serve – a clear answer to the simple question: What is going on? 

The board owes it to the university to look competent. Especially considering some of the trustees were around when MSU became a disgraced university. While they 'complied' in 2018 during the Larry Nassar scandal, they clearly didn't learn from their or others’ mistakes and their lack of transparency. Looking competent is the bare minimum, and it shouldn't be that hard for professionals.

The State News reported Friday that Stanley, after being accused of falsifying a Title IX certification document, said the board members are to blame for not following their state-required responsibilities. Trustees have called for Stanley’s resignation over this same document they failed to review themselves.

An unknown number of unidentified trustees have called for Stanley’s resignation. We don’t know why and no one will answer us. Sure, we’ve gotten written statements and press releases, but no trustee has clearly or directly answered calls or emails from The State News. Our job as a student publication is to work for the students. We want to answer their questions. We want to get the facts right. We can’t do that with dodgy trustees.

We, as MSU students and journalists, have seen where the board’s priorities lie. By running to the press with rumors and creating this avoidable chaos, our elected officials have proven they’re not in a place to make any sort of decision about MSU administration. The board needs to hold a public meeting to sort this out with transparency in their actions. 

The MSU community needs answers. 

They deserve them.

The State News editorial board is composed of Editor-in-Chief SaMya Overall, Managing Editor Dina Kaur, City Editor Drew Goretzka, Culture Editor Miranda Dunlap, Sports Editor Sam Sklar, Multimedia Editors Devin Anderson-Torrez and Rahmya Trewern, Social Media Manager Lauren Snyder, Copy Chief Claire Grant, Staff Rep. Maddy Warren and Diversity Rep. Jada Vasser.

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