Nov. 11, 2023: Supporting our students

Dear Spartans,

As we approach December graduation, I find myself thinking about our students and our ultimate goal of enabling their success. There is no greater joy for a university president than to shake each student’s hand as they accept their diplomas and watch them go forth to make a difference in the lives of others and the world around us. Such moments remind me that students are the foundation of the university and bring the hopes and aspirations of MSU fully into view.

All of us have a role in advancing MSU’s aspiration of creating an inclusive community in which people of all backgrounds can thrive and meet their full potential. Recently, we have heard rising student voices telling us we must do better. These come as conflict in the Middle East polarizes communities and emboldens antisemitism and Islamophobia. Black students share feelings of isolation and safety concerns due to racist expressions and harassment on our campus. Such local and global issues are interconnected since they can impede MSU’s priority of student success.

This moment calls on us to demonstrate that we are a community of care and compassion. Our campus, after all, is many students’ front and back porch, and it should always feel like a safe and welcoming home.

To that end, I would like to share two webpages that address our institutional role of providing safety, education, resources and support for students and our Spartan community. The pages reaffirm that MSU condemns all forms of bigotry, hate, racism and violence, including what we have seen most recently inflicted on Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East. They also document our efforts to acknowledge and reach out to impacted groups, the university’s additional responses and how MSU community members can help support affected students. Finally, the pages include FAQs, including a helpful section describing the distinction between different types of speech. I encourage all of you to draw on and share this information.

Our aspiration to foster a more inclusive, welcoming and supportive university must be an ongoing, shared commitment. We are on a collective journey, and I am grateful to all for the time and energy you have invested — and will continue to invest — in this critically important work going to the heart of our shared values and the centrality of people in everything we do.

Together, let us continue to live our values of collaboration, equity, excellence, integrity and respect, and uplift all Spartans through the power of our mission of education, research and outreach with impact.

My Spartan best,

Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Interim President
MSU Research Foundation Professor