As MSU Provost Teresa Woodruff was named interim president, Council of Racial and Ethnic Students, or CORES, and Council of Progressive Students, or COPS, groups are overall in support of her transition.
“Woodruff has been one of the most open admin for the student body,” Asian Pacific American Student Organization Rep. Connor Le said. “She’s willing to meet with students to talk about advocacy issues. … I think that she will do a great job working and communicating with the student body of MSU to see what problems are happening.”
The appointment of Woodruff as provost in May 2020 received backlash during a Board of Trustees meeting due to her tenure history prior to MSU as Northwestern University's dean of The Graduate School.
However, Woodruff has held open communication and advocacy for all CORES and COPS groups at MSU, student leaders say.
“She just has great preexisting working relationships with students and student leaders on campus,” North American Indigenous Student Organization Rep. Stevie Quijas said. “She has a great working knowledge of the strategic plans of the university, and she’s very receptive to including students and implementing them.”
Woodruff has also been inclusive of MSU’s prominent international student population.
In Sept. 2020, the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, sent a proposed rule that limited international students’ status to two years. Woodruff, Stanley and Associate Provost and Dean for International Studies and Programs Steven Hanson released a letter in disapproval of DHS’ proposal.
“It basically hurts ... international students,” Vice President of International Student Association, or ISA, Rochisshil Varma said. “It had a great impact … because we know that, OK, she is someone who stands with us.”
Last spring, Woodruff attended ISA’s leadership retreat and spoke on her vision to include international students in every field at MSU. In fall of 2021, Woodruff also invited the president of ISA to speak as the first international student speaker at fall convocation.
Woodruff isn’t shy to discuss important issues connected to the APASO community, specifically on MSU's donor accountability, Le said.
Many CORES and COPS leaders say they are especially thankful for Woodruff’s focus on continuing President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan, MSU 2030: Empowering Excellence, Advancing Equity and Expanding which developed last year.
“(This) is a step forward and should be applauded,” Council of Students with Disabilities Rep. Madeleine Tocco said. “I know for myself as a disabled student, I am absolutely excited and ecstatic to see what happens and where this goes. Not just for my sake, but for the sake of my constituents of color.”
Overall, many CORES and COPS leaders are hopeful for Woodruff coming in as interim president.
“She has the deep working knowledge of the institution that is necessary right now,” Quijas said. “Students, faculty and the administration are all very willing to cooperate together to move forward past everything that we faced in the media, and I think that she’s a great person to lead us through that.”
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