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Multiple MSU student groups withdraw from CORES and COPS coalition

February 2, 2024
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

MSU Asian Pacific American Student Organization and Culturas de las Razas Unidas announced Thursday that their respective student organizations are withdrawing from the Coalition of Racial and Ethnic Students and Council of Progressive Students coalition, due to what the organizations said is conflicting interests and a lack of effective communication.

The Feb. 1 statements came almost a week after MSU Black Students' Alliance, or BSA, announced that the student organization is withdrawing from the Coalition of Racial and Ethnic Students, or CORES, and Council of Progressive Students, or COPS, coalition.

In BSA's statement, which was released on Jan. 27 via social media, the student organization said that while making significant progress, including securing a permanent space in the Multicultural Center, the organization has endured challenges within the CORES and COPS coalition.

"It has become apparent that CORES and COPS have different purposes, which has led to conflicting interests and a lack of effective communication," the statement said. "Despite our shared goal of serving marginalized students, these conflicting missions hinder our ability to make meaningful progress."

The statement said BSA decided to withdraw from the COPS coalition, while remaining committed to its partnership with CORES to best serve the needs of marginalized students. 

The statement explains that a "lack of communication and unilateral decisions, such as the unauthorized allocation of funds and statements has undermined the integrity of the coalition," a pattern that is seen in each groups' statements. 

In the statement from the Asian Pacific American Student Organization, or APASO, the organization said that with the establishment of the CORES and COPS coalition, higher administration took $5,000 from each of the CORES groups' allocated funds without the knowledge or consent of each group. This was one of the many factors that led to APASO's withdrawal from the CORES and COPS coalition. 

The organization says they "hope APASO's decision to leave the coalition will demand current leadership to re-evaluate the purpose and structure of the CORES and COPS Coalition."

APASO's statement also said the group recognizes that many intersecting identities within the group are represented in COPS, and leaving the coalition is not a notion of being "anti-COPS." Instead, withdrawing is "simply a motion acknowledging the coalition's lack of presence and disregard of communication" since 2019.

"As we all serve multiple communities, one vital purpose of the additional coalition was to create events where all of our respective communities could come together," APASO President Hanaa Yoo said in an email to The State News.

Yoo said APASO has set up a meeting amongst CORES and COPS leaders scheduled for the following week to have dialogue and hopes it create an action plan for solidarity between both the CORES and COPS coalitions. 

The statement from Culturas de las Razas Unidas, or CRU, echoed similar sentiments, citing issues with communication and alignment of objectives. This has "hindered (CRU's) ability to effectively pursue (its) mission over recent years."

"Our departure from the coalition does not diminish our commitment to collaborating with COPS groups in the future," CRU's statement said. "However, we feel it is essential to address current and previous issues our organizations have encountered in order to progress with our collaborative work. We are committed to working together to resolve these challenges and foster a more inclusive and effective partnership moving forward."

Toward the conclusion of each statement, the groups expressed their dedication to advocating and serving on behalf of the Black, Chicanx/Latinx, and Asian American Pacific Islander Desi American/Asian communities at Michigan State University, along with the collective mission of creating a sense of belonging and welcomeness to all students. 

COPS, BSA and CRU did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

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