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April 26, 2024

Apr. 26, 2024: Encampment Update

Dear MSU leaders,

I am writing to provide you with an update about the protest that began early yesterday at People's Park on our campus.

Thursday morning, the university learned that a group of protesters had established an encampment, calling for MSU to divest from Israel. MSU Department of Police and Public Safety engaged in peaceful discussions with the leaders of the group, informing them that the setting up of tents violates MSU Ordinance 13, which prohibits camping on university property. The group was reminded that they were free to continue their protest without the tents and were made aware that they could apply for a permit to allow the tents.

Shortly thereafter, I visited the site and spoke with the individuals at the encampment, as did SVP Vennie Gore, VP Laura Rugless and other members of the SLE team, underscoring our commitment to dialogue and understanding among all community members. Outreach also has been made to our Jewish leaders and organizations on campus who we know are impacted by the presence of the protest.

After consultation with members of my leadership team and Board of Trustees Chair Dan Kelly, the permit request to allow tents was granted through Sunday.

Those gathered at People’s Park have remained peaceful, and MSU police will continue to act in ways that protect all members of the campus community. There have been no altercations and no arrests have been made.

The university respects and upholds the right to protest and freedom of speech. At the same time, certain regulations must be adhered to ensure the safety and proper functioning of our campus. Our police department was instrumental in ensuring a safe environment for the protest and for our greater campus, and I’m grateful for their professionalism and commitment to our Spartan community.

As we have discussed with various groups over the past several months, and I expressed to the protesters today, MSU has been steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding the university’s investment portfolio from political influence. We have no direct investments in gun manufacturers, and we do not have direct or indirect investments in the three publicly traded civilian firearms manufacturers. Further, the university does not own an Israeli-issued security bond. Given this context, and as the Board has previously indicated, the university will not be making any divestment changes. Our investment decisions will continue to focus on strong financial stewardship that allows us to advance our educational and outreach mission.


At this time, we do not believe student protestors will move their location to the site of commencement. MSU DPPS is working alongside university officials to help ensure the safety of our commencement ceremonies.

  • The Provost Office has created safety plans for the events at Breslin Center and individual college ceremonies, working in conjunction with MSU DPPS.
  • MSU police will be prepared for protests and work with other campus partners on outreach, as appropriate.
  • To facilitate any protests that do take place, MSU DPPS will have a designated visible protest area outside of the Breslin Center and Wharton Center this weekend.
  • For college-specific ceremonies, event organizers are encouraged to work directly with DPPS should there be a need for designated protest space and/or additional police staffing.

Safe and Inclusive Community

The safety of our community remains our top priority. We will continue to engage with protestors to ensure their voices can be heard in a way that does not compromise others' safety or well-being. We are also engaging with other concerned parties to reaffirm our commitment to students and community members of all backgrounds and experiences. I would like to thank Senate Faculty Chair Jack Lipton and Senate Faculty leadership for engaging with student leaders yesterday on this event and supporting the importance of civil discourse, commitment to free speech principles and our collective ability to respect all voices and opinions.

I look forward to seeing many of you throughout today and this weekend as we honor the Class of 2024. Graduation is a time of celebration, and I’m honored to share these ceremonies with our 9,500 graduates, our faculty, staff and university leadership. This ritual represents the culmination of so much hard work and determination and is a joyous time to be on campus. If you haven’t watched or shared the video created by University Communications, I encourage you to start the day on this positive note: Congratulations, MSU Class of 2024!

Please feel free to share this information with your units, departments and teams, as you deem appropriate. Should you have any concerns or wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to reach out.


Kevin M. Guskiewicz signature

Kevin M. Guskiewicz 


Professor, Department of Kinesiology