MSU's core values cannot be voted away

11-17-2006

Since the passage of Proposal 2, there have been a lot of conversations on our campus, around the state, and even across the nation about what this means for Michigan and its public universities. While legal interpretations and issues are still unfolding, Michigan State University’s values and commitments remain crystal clear.

My blog post the day after the election affirmed that no ballot initiative can take away Michigan State’s core values. I reaffirm that again today. MSU is solidly committed to inclusion, which means embracing people with diverse experiences, viewpoints, and backgrounds to create a rich intellectual environment.

Although working within the strictures of Prop 2 may require new approaches, we are resolved to maintain our active role in addressing the inequalities, both large and small, that plague our society and that from time to time manifest themselves on our campus.

Rather than cling to the past, we will innovate to achieve our goals. And I am confident of our success. After all, determination and a practical approach to problem solving are deeply rooted in our land-grant culture.

Well before November 7 and ever since the election, I have talked with and listened to a wide range of members of the MSU community—and, indeed, the Michigan community—about their concerns related to Proposal 2. In these venues, I have shared my personal opposition to the proposal. I have also long expressed my view that the use of ballot proposals is an ineffective means of governing.

This Wednesday, I and other senior administrators met with a group of students to discuss the impact of Proposal 2 on MSU. Additional conversations are scheduled for the near future, including a meeting next Tuesday between the Board of Trustees and students. On Tuesday, I spoke to Faculty Council about our unwavering commitment to inclusion.

Along with my colleagues, I will continue to take part in these ongoing conversations with students, faculty, and staff as we discuss and monitor how Proposal 2 will unfold at the state level. I will also continue to communicate with the campus community about my thoughts and our institutional directions.

Michigan State University remains committed to inclusion. We will continue to find ways to meet that commitment.

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