MSU student groups join together in support of inclusion

02-14-2007

I was honored, today, to be the first member of our community to sign one of the banners promoting the student-led “I Stop Hate: MSU United” initiative, which aims to foster a more inclusive environment on campus and to promote better understanding of diverse viewpoints. And I was especially proud of our students for coming together with such conviction in support of the vision of an inclusive MSU community, as outlined in my Statement on Diversity and Inclusion. Their mobilization around an issue so central to our campus culture reflects a deep and shared commitment to one of Team MSU’s core values: inclusion.

As president, I can certainly provide leadership and direction; and that is an important part of my job. But to witness such an impressive coordinated effort by our students, our very lifeblood, speaks worlds to their equally valuable ability to provide leadership and direction for the university. With more than 60 representatives of MSU student organizations kicking off the “I Stop Hate: MSU United” initiative, one realizes quickly the critical mass behind ensuring a campus climate of respect for – and appreciation of – difference.

Student leaders from all major MSU student governance organizations, communities of faith, international student groups, lesbian-bisexual-gay-transgender and straight ally groups, women’s groups, racial-ethnic organizations, cultural groups, political organizations, student chapters of charity groups, and fraternities and sororities joined together around shared values and common concerns today. Twenty banners with an excerpt from the Statement on Diversity and Inclusion will be placed in various on- campus locations. The banners will be available for all members of the MSU community to sign as a symbol of support for inclusion at MSU.

As a portion of the statement on diversity and inclusion notes, “to benefit from our campus’ diversity, we must embrace the opportunity to learn from each other.” The message on the “I Stop Hate” banner echoes that sentiment:

"We believe a strong, vibrant learning community comes from the many perspectives we each offer. Our differing perspectives help to make MSU a great university. While we will at times disagree, our disagreements will not be used as a basis to do harm to one another. We commit ourselves to celebrating a community where mutual respect and intellectual discourse, shaped by our differing perspectives, guide how we deal with issues and with each other.”

Indeed, we are a community united along these shared values. This grassroots effort is rooted in common ground, and its launch today reminds us that there is often more that unites than divides us. As the “I Stop Hate” banner statement notes, a community dedicated to living such beliefs is indeed something to celebrate.

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