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MSU student groups, faculty split on controversy surrounding board chair Vassar

October 23, 2023
<p>Emily Hoyumpa speaking to the ASMSU General Assembly on April 18, 2023.</p>

Emily Hoyumpa speaking to the ASMSU General Assembly on April 18, 2023.

Photo by Henry Szymecko | The State News

Michigan State University trustee Brianna Scott called for the removal of board chair Rema Vassar Sunday night, alleging she bullied colleagues, interfered in legal disputes and attempted to keep word of her meddling out of an official report about the February campus shooting.

The news has elicited responses from members of the MSU community, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who called the allegations "deeply concerning."

Emily Hoyumpa, president of MSU’s student government, ASMSU, said the group “does not tolerate bullying or harassment and truly hopes the board can overcome their problems for the betterment and stability of all spartans,” in a text to the State News.

Hoyumpa did not answer if she thinks Vassar should resign.

Ty’Rianna Leslie, president of the Black Students’ Alliance, said she personally does not support Vassar’s removal, and doesn’t understand why Scott released the statement publicly.

“Especially with everything that the university has going on now, it’s just a little bit strange,” Leslie said. “It’s just bad publicity for all of Michigan State.”

Leslie said Vassar, unlike other trustees, has “always been on the Black community’s side,” and she would need more proof of Scott’s allegations before addressing them.

Faculty senate chair Jack Lipton called for "ethics reforms" and the resignation of Michigan State University board chair Rema Vassar Sunday evening.

“The apparent grift and privilege of Chair Vassar seems to have taken priority over the needs of students, faculty, and staff,” Lipton said in the statement. “I am hopeful Trustee Scott's revelations will result in ethics reform and a transparency-focused board that faithfully serves the MSU community and the people of Michigan.”

Hannah Jeffrey, president of the Council of Graduate Students, said she was sent the letter Sunday evening but the organization has not had the chance to officially respond.

The Graduate Employees Union did not respond to request for comment.

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