Provost Teresa K. Woodruff was unanimously appointed as the interim president to fill President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.’s spot after his 90-day resignation period ends during a special board meeting.
The decision was preceded by listening sessions in which the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, and various campus diversity groups were invited to communicate their input on the interim presidential candidates with the board.
“Everyone and anyone who was there was able to say what they wanted in an interim search and what they wanted in a permanent search ... almost every student there put forth Provost Woodruff and had their own anecdote about working with her and her administration as a provost,” ASMSU president Jo Kovach said.
In the midst of turmoil between the Board of Trustees and ASMSU, the decision to appoint Woodruff as interim president was supported by both groups.
“There has been shown a lack of communication between the Board of Trustees, higher admin and students,” Asian Pacific American Student Organization representative for ASMSU Connor Le said. “So hopefully with her interim position we can see more connection and communication between these groups and I think Provost Woodruff is able to do that.”
Student leaders within ASMSU applauded Woodruff’s commitment to the student body.
“Her office is one of the only offices that is consistently asking for student input,” ASMSU vice president Carl Austin Miller Grondin said. “In my time being student body vice president, I’ve never had another group ask me to come to their office and talk to them.”
Kovach said they feel Woodruff truly cares for every single student — she even knows all of the ASMSU leaders by name.
“Provost Woodruff has always been, for ASMSU, like a breath of fresh air," Kovach said. "It’s really easy for administrators to be a little bit more cold, a little bit more matter-of-fact but Provost Woodruff has always put her heart and soul into things when we speak with her.”
Faculty senate members echoed similar sentiments.
“Let’s just get back to business,” Faculty Senator Jack Lipton said. “Focus on the future.”
Lipton said he believes Woodruff will be able to lead the university forward in better communication and will continue putting in the work to better the state of relationship violence and sexual misconduct on campus.
Faculty senate chair Karen Kelly-Blake wrote a written statement commending the decision to appoint Woodruff.
“The faculty thank the Board of Trustees for listening to the community and taking this stabilizing step today," Kelly-Blake said in a statement. "There is still much to be done, and we will continue advocating for faculty and holding the board and administration accountable with the expectation of transparency and clear communication. But today's decision is a step in the right direction.”
Kovach said they are hopeful Woodruff will work alongside ASMSU for an open permanent presidential search in which there are campus-wide listening tours and student leaders have designated seats within the search committee.
“For student leaders, it’s really easy to be all in for MSU ... but I’ve also seen Provost Woodruff be all in for MSU so I’m hoping this administration can work together in that way and be all in for MSU,” Kovach said. “I hope that means sitting down together with the entire community to put forth steps together to reunify us.”
Multimedia editor Devin Anderson-Torrez contributed to the content of this article.
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