Post-election thoughts

11-08-2006

This morning I extend my congratulations to all of the winners in yesterday’s elections. Team MSU is ready and eager to work with our elected officials to advance economic, educational, and cultural development in our state, and to join with them in the work ahead as collectively we move both Michigan State and the State of Michigan forward.

I welcome to our Board of Trustees Faylene Owen and George Perles, elected yesterday to eight-year terms beginning January 1. We look forward to the insights and perspectives they will bring to Team MSU. Trustees Dee Cook and David Porteous, who will leave the Board, have provided exemplary stewardship and leadership during their time on the Board, for which I am very grateful. They have worked diligently and effectively on behalf of MSU and have done much to move this institution forward.

The passage of Proposal 2, which bans affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, has many people wondering about the status of a variety of MSU programs. MSU will, of course, follow the law. But I caution against immediate conclusions about exactly what that will mean. If Michigan’s experience is like that of other states, Proposal 2’s impact will become more clear over time as the result of guidance from the state in a variety of forms, including judicial rulings to reconcile the widely varying statements made during the campaign.

It is my belief that our programmatic efforts, which reflect our land-grant commitments to access and inclusion, should not significantly change. Inclusion is one of our enduring core values and I assure the MSU community this will not change. We will immediately and carefully assess our efforts in ways that will keep faith both with our values and with our commitment to the state and its citizens. And we will continue to communicate with you about this very important issue.

Finally, I want to thank the many members of the MSU community who participated so actively during the campaigns and elections, as well as those who exercised their precious right to vote. It is the community of participants that truly makes democracy work.

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