Letter to the campus community - March 29, 2019

 To the Michigan State University Community:

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month across the country, and I want to make sure you are aware of some of the notable events happening on campus throughout the month.

KNOW MORE @ MSU survey

I’ve written previously to our campus community members to encourage participation in the KNOW MORE @ MSU survey, which opened last week. We are hoping to establish a baseline of information about the culture, perceptions and policies associated with sexual misconduct in the MSU community from which we can measure our progress over the years. We believe the overall results will be extremely useful to us as we work to become a safer and more respectful campus.

It’s On Us Week of Action

The week of April 1–5 kicks off the 2019 It’s On Us Week of Action. It is a student-centric week of empowering activities aimed at elevating awareness of sexual misconduct in all its forms and the resources available to prevent and respond to it.

Alumni magazine “teal issue”

I look forward next week to the release of Spartan, MSU’s alumni magazine, which leads with an impactful story about how former MSU President Clifton Wharton inspired future leaders. We feel this also is the appropriate time to present the magazine’s “teal issue,” which was to focus on MSU’s sexual abuse crisis, but went unpublished last spring. The teal issue can be viewed online.

“Finding Our Voice” exhibit

A much-anticipated exhibit opens at the MSU Museum with an evening reception April 16. “Finding our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” was inspired by the hundreds of teal bows and ribbons tied around campus trees last year. Cocurated by sister survivors and their allies, the multimedia exhibit chronicles the struggle of the survivors and their allies to raise awareness of sexual violence and to promote dignity, healing and positive transformation. I hope you take the opportunity to visit the museum and see the exhibit, which runs through March 2020.

This is an increasingly busy period for students. Final exams start April 29, and spring commencement ceremonies begin May 3. I’m looking forward to greeting our graduates that weekend and welcoming our guest speakers and recipients of honorary degrees.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will speak at the advanced degree graduation ceremony May 3 and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Former Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins, now with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree and speak at the May 3 undergraduate convocation.

Both of these distinguished alumni reflect Spartan qualities of service and leadership, and I’m sure they will have inspirational messages for our graduating students. Also receiving honorary degrees are William Demmer, CEO of Demmer Holdings Inc. and Reimund Neugebauer, president of German research organization Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Of particular interest to our undergraduate students is the annual Associated Students of MSU election. Students vote online at asmsu.msu.edu from April 1–8. I enjoyed sharing information and speaking with ASMSU representatives at a recent general assembly meeting, and I encourage all undergraduates to engage with their student government and become familiar with current issues and vote.


Satish Udpa
Acting President