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MSU apologizes for Hitler question on stadium scoreboard during pre-game trivia

October 22, 2023
	<p>The scoreboard displayed a weather radar as evacuations were underway Sept. 7, 2013, at Spartan Stadium. Play began after a one hour delay. Khoa Nguyen/ The State News</p>

The scoreboard displayed a weather radar as evacuations were underway Sept. 7, 2013, at Spartan Stadium. Play began after a one hour delay. Khoa Nguyen/ The State News

Michigan State University issued an apology after a pre-game trivia question involving Adolf Hitler was displayed on the Spartan Stadium scoreboard before the MSU vs. University of Michigan football game.

Photos displayed on social media showed the question asking fans where Hitler was born. According to a statement released by MSU Athletics, the content was created by a third-party source.

Larson said the university is "deeply sorry" for the content displayed and "not representative" of their institutional values.

"MSU will not be using the third-party source going forward and will implement stronger screening and approval procedures for all video board content in the future," Larson said in the statement.

In an email to the MSU community, Interim President Teresa Woodruff said the display was "unacceptable."

"I am deeply sorry for the image displayed at Spartan Stadium, which made many of our community feel alienated and unsafe," Woodruff said in the statement. "I asked last evening for a full review of this university event and will take all necessary steps to align our messages and actions to our values."

Woodruff added that she aims to create a safe and inclusive environment within MSU.

"I will work with our Jewish community and every member of minoritized populations to ensure Spartans feel that this is a place where everyone can live, work, go to class and attend events that are welcoming," she said in the statement

MSU's Board of Trustees also released a statement publicly apologizing for the incident. In the release, the board said they spoke with Woodruff and Athletic Director Alan Haller to convey their "extreme disappointment" and "demand to know how this happened."

"MSU personnel must be accountable and held responsible for this disgusting display," the board said in the statement. "Every person in the MSU community and our guests deserve to feel safe and that they belong. The board does not condone bigotry of any kind."

The board said they will take steps to ensure the athletic department and administration live up to these expectations

"(We demand) that MSU administrators thoroughly examine all the factors and actions that led to this incident and report back to the board and the public about how this happened and who will be held accountable," the board said in the statement.

Haller released a statement hours later that he is "deeply sorry" for the content and apologizes for the pain it caused on the community, stating that MSU Athletics is responsible for the content on scoreboards.

"Before it was displayed, the video was not viewed in its entirety by anyone in athletics, exposing a failure in our process," Haller said in the statement.

The employee involved with the content has been identified and pending the investigation results, is suspended with pay, according to Haller's statement.

Haller stated he will be reaching out to Jewish community groups and student leadership groups.

"It's important they hear directly from me regarding our failed responsibilities as well as our promise to do better," Haller said in the statement.

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