Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Spartan Strong Fund: Where the money has gone so far

February 12, 2024
A "Spartan Strong" sign is iced over after a winter storm came through the Michigan State University campus on Feb. 23, 2023. The sign is part of a memorial to students affected by a mass shooting that took place on Feb. 13, 2023.
A "Spartan Strong" sign is iced over after a winter storm came through the Michigan State University campus on Feb. 23, 2023. The sign is part of a memorial to students affected by a mass shooting that took place on Feb. 13, 2023. —
Photo by Jack Patton | The State News

In the wake of the Feb. 13, 2023 mass shooting on campus, Michigan State University received calls from community members asking how they could provide monetary support to those most impacted. In response, MSU established the Spartan Strong Fund, which raised $2 million from approximately 4,200 donors. 

Here’s where that money has gone so far.

Individuals most directly impacted

MSU announced on June 9, 2023 that $1 million of the fund would go to the families of the deceased with needs unmet by state and federal crime victim compensation funds, as well as the continued undergraduate education of the five injured students. 

The fund also set aside a portion to provide financial resources to 50 physically uninjured individuals who were in the two first-floor Berkey Hall classrooms or the MSU Union food court.

According to an expenditure table of the $1 million set aside to support those most directly impacted provided by MSU, $990,771 has been distributed as of Jan. 12.

In a statement to The State News, MSU spokesperson Mark Bullion said the “remaining funds will continue to support those most directly impacted."

According to the expenditure table, $540,069 went toward scholarships and fellowships, $285,000 for donations, $83,465 for student support, $40,000 for staff support, $40,000 for faculty support and $2,177 for programmatic support. 

Bullion said the $2,177 helped fund University Health and Wellbeing’s April Connection Concert series programming. 

Mental health reimbursements

When MSU announced the allocation of the Spartan Strong Fund in June, it said $500,000 would be set aside to reimburse or directly pay for mental health services used by community members in the wake of the shooting. 

On Jan. 25, the university announced that students, faculty, staff and first responders could now apply to receive a portion of the funds. 

Qualifying out-of-pocket expenses include deductibles, co-pays, or co-insurance relating to out-patient counseling and mental health care services, including tele-health, in-patient hospitalization with a mental health diagnosis and residential mental health treatment. 

Students, faculty, staff and first responders, including dispatch workers and telecommunicators, can visit uhw.msu.edu/spartan-strong-fund to apply. 

Dr. Alexis Travis, the director of University Health and Wellbeing, said her office has received 71 applications so far totaling $33,608.

Payments are expected to be made to community members within 30 days of the payment request, Travis said. 

Reimbursements are available for both individuals with insurance and without it. Applicants with insurance must submit an electronic version of an invoice or Explanation of Benefits and proof of payment. Individuals without insurance must submit an electronic version of an invoice from their health care provider and proof of payment. 

According to the webpage, reimbursements, in full or in part, will be subject to the availability of funds. MSU is encouraging individuals to submit their reimbursement requests as soon as possible. 

“We're encouraged by the early days of this rollout and encourage people to reach out if they have questions,” Travis said. 

Community members are encouraged to see the FAQ section on the website if they have questions. Additionally, they can contact the fund administrator by email at uhw.accounting@msu.edu

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Resiliency and healing programming

The university also set aside $200,000 for “resiliency and healing programming."

Bullion said about $30,000 has gone toward this programming thus far. 

The Associated Students of MSU, MSU’s student government, received a $10,000 grant for programming during the week of Feb. 13, Bullion said. 

$20,000 was given to the East Lansing Fire Department to provide peer support training for East Lansing-area first responders who were on duty on the night of the shooting.

Bullion did not provide any details at the time of publication on where the remainder of the $200,000 will go.

Campus memorial

The university also set aside $300,000 for a permanent campus memorial to commemorate the victims of the shooting. 

A committee of students, faculty, staff and community members was established in Oct. 2023 to “guide the process of establishing a memorial in honor and remembrance of those we lost,” according to the memorial planning webpage. 

According to the webpage, there will be a survey open to community members on the memorial planning web page throughout February, which will give community members the opportunity to provide input on the memorial planning process. 

In March, two engagement sessions will be held in which feedback from the survey will be presented to the planning committee. 

In spring 2024, “all community input will be synthesized and used to inform a request for artist proposals, and in the fall of 2024, the committee will make a final selection of an artist proposal. 

In spring 2025, construction of the memorial will begin.

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