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Supporting Our Israeli, Jewish, Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and All Impacted Communities

This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

MSU’s public condemnation of violence
Michigan State University condemns all violent attacks, including those on Israeli and Palestinian civilians in the Middle East. The Israel-Hamas conflict has elevated concerns about rising antisemitism and Islamophobia on United States higher education campuses. MSU is committed to providing enhanced resources, support and security measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community.

How has MSU responded?

  • Streamlining communications: MSU leaders are fully engaged in outreach to share resources and highlight community sessions and conversations.
  • Acting swiftly: Campus leaders acted decisively to publicly address and investigate the appearance of Hitler’s image on the Spartan Stadium’s billboard on Oct. 21, issuing several statements condemning its use and committing to actionable steps to ensure careful review of all materials that appear on our scoreboards moving forward.
  • Heightening monitoring: The MSU Department of Police and Public Safety has heightened campus monitoring for threats and is prepared to increase security presence when needed and as appropriate.
  • Promoting reporting: The Office for Civil Rights and Title IX developed an infographic to promote reporting and understanding the Anti-Discrimination Policy process, including resources for addressing safety concerns.
  • Providing spaces: Centers and units on campus have provided spaces for listening, educating and addressing concerns, including hosting the workshop series, Conversations on Antisemitism and Islamophobia, Teach-in on the Crisis in Gaza and a webinar on the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What can the community do to help?

File a report.
The physical safety of our university community is our priority, and anyone receiving any targeted or personal threat, as distinct from free speech, or has information to assist with an investigation should immediately contact the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety at 517- 355-2221. In an emergency, call or text 911. Additionally, the community is encouraged to download the SafeMSU App to access valuable safety resources. MSU DPPS is collaborating with impacted groups to understand community needs and take appropriate action and is prepared to provide additional security on campus as requested. The department is ready to investigate any criminal activity or hate crime.

If you or someone you know has experienced conduct that may violate MSU’s Anti-Discrimination Policy or Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy, report it to the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance. Go to the frequently asked questions section below to learn about freedom of speech and the Anti-Discrimination Policy investigation process.

Access support services.
Groups across campus are poised to gather resources, including providing dialogue guides and offering opportunities to join listening circles to help our community process recent events, find the care they need and engage in conversation. Students who are impacted can visit the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions and the Inclusive Campus Initiative.

If students are experiencing a mental health issue, contact Counseling and Psychiatric Services for culturally informed support or call the 24/7 crisis hotline at 517-355-8270 and press “1” at the prompt. Staff and faculty seeking support are encouraged to visit the Employee Assistance Program. All community members can also contact the MSU Health Care Psychiatry clinic.

In addition, the Office of Student Support and Accountability regularly assists students who are experiencing situations that may interrupt their academic and campus life. The office can be reached by email or phone 517-884-0789.

Seek educational resources.
The Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion is currently hosting Conversations on Antisemitism and Islamophobia, a four-part series to discuss the history and current manifestations of these prejudices occurring globally, nationally and on college campuses. Participants can share their observations and ideas that contribute to the inclusivity of MSU.

Learn about available accommodations.
Academic advisors have tools to help support any student, and students are encouraged to work closely with an advisor to make their needs known. These tools include credit/no credit, which may be available for some classes taken as electives. For the fall 2023 semester, the deadline for choosing credit/no credit has been extended to Dec. 8, and students must work with an advisor to request a class be recorded as credit/no credit.

Advisors can also help students apply for a grief absence, which allows for up to two weeks of excused absences from classes, as well as incompletes that will provide a student with additional time to complete a course. Even though the drop deadline for a class has passed, academic advisors can still request that class be dropped from a student’s schedule.

For persons who may be affected by discrimination and/or harassment based on a protected category, supportive and interim measures are available. Such measures include support services, non-disability related accommodations and other forms of assistance. These may be available to anyone, even if an individual chooses not to report to law enforcement or participate in an investigation through the Office for Civil Rights. (See above for how to file a report.)

How has university leadership reached out during this time?

  • Convening leadership: The Interim President, Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., has led senior leaders in team meetings on enhancing safety measures, direct community engagement and proactively calling for heightened responsiveness during this time.
  • Meeting with students: Woodruff and other leaders have continued to meet with student groups to discuss support and safety resources, as well as receive feedback from the Jewish Student Union, Spartans for Israel, Arab Culture Society, Muslim Students Association, Students United for Palestinian Rights and support groups.
  • Being in the community: Woodruff sat with numerous communities, including MSU Hillel and Chabad Jewish Center, and has had regular check-ins with the Muslim Studies Program and the Serling Institute for Jewish Studies leaders. In addition, she has been present at vigils at The Spartan statue, Beaumont Tower and the Rock. Her other contact points have included individual meetings with parents and students and regularly scheduled meetings with an MSU Department of Police and Public Safety liaison.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is travel restricted to Israel and the Palestinian Territories?
Yes. MSU continues to review information from local partners on the ground, including our medical and security evacuation provider, International SOS, and the U.S. Department of State (U.S. Embassy and Overseas Security Advisory Council).

MSU is developing guidance in this complex environment to help the university determine when travel to the region may resume. MSU travelers with further questions should contact the Office for Global Health, Safety and Security for guidance, including proposed travel to bordering nations and territories or any nearby destinations that may be drawn into the conflict. For up-to-date information on country risk levels, please visit this webpage.

Is speech protected if the Rock is painted over with offensive language?
The Rock is a forum where students have painted messages since the 1960s. Speech is protected unless it is a “true threat” or constitutes another form of unprotected speech. In the next question, learn more about the difference between protected vs. unprotected speech.

What is meant by freedom of speech and hate speech?
Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, protected under the First Amendment, that allows individuals to express their opinions, beliefs and ideas without government censorship. It is a cornerstone of democratic societies, fostering open dialogue and the exchange of diverse perspectives. However, hate speech does not have a legal definition and is protected unless it constitutes a form of unprotected speech, including discriminatory harassment.

While the university firmly condemns hate speech, it is vital to understand that it is generally protected under the First Amendment. Speech that is considered offensive, including biased messages and even hateful comments, is likely protected speech. Speech is not constitutionally protected when it constitutes a “true threat,” “discriminatory harassment,” or falls into another category of unprotected speech. When speech is not protected by the First Amendment, it may breach MSU's Anti-Discrimination Policy or other conduct policies. We encourage anyone who has encountered or witnessed harassment on campus or is unsure if the speech or conduct is prohibited under our policies to contact the Office for Civil Rights for information on filing a report.

What is the Anti-Discrimination Policy investigation process?

  1. Support and intake.
    The Office for Civil Rights, or OCR, reviews all reports for potential policy violation(s) and provides outreach to the impacted person(s). If there are immediate safety concerns or additional reporting obligations, OCR coordinates with appropriate partners to address them.
  2. Claimant options.
    Options for supportive and/or interim measures and resolution are offered to the impacted person (claimant). Examples of supportive measures include no contact directives, deadline extensions, housing changes and work schedule adjustments.
  3. Initial assessment.
    Upon receiving a report, OCR will conduct an initial assessment to determine if the reported conduct is covered under the Anti-Discrimination Policy, or ADP,, and to provide the claimant(s) or impacted person(s) with information about resources and other applicable processes. OCR may refer the report to the unit and human resources for follow up under other HR-related policies.
  4. Investigation and decision.
    During the investigation, the claimant(s) and respondent(s) have an opportunity to present their information in separate interviews with an investigator. Investigations can be expected to be completed within 90 days. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator will release a Preliminary Investigative Report and evidence to the parties for review and feedback. After the parties have provided feedback, the Investigator will issue a Final Investigative Report, which will include findings of fact and a determination of whether the policy has been violated. If an employee is found to have violated ADP, the employee’s supervisor and HR will coordinate and determine appropriate discipline and follow up. If a student is found to have violated the ADP, the Office of Student Support and Accountability will determine an appropriate sanction.
  5. Appeal.
    Both claimant(s) and respondent(s) have an opportunity to submit an appeal to the Equity Review Officer. Appeals must be submitted within 10 days of the written notice of findings, except where a student respondent is found to have violated the ADP, in which case appeals must be submitted within 10 days of the written notice of the sanction decision. The ERO will issue a written response to the appeal within 18 days of receiving any responses to the appeal. If no appeal is filed, the decision in the Final Investigation Report is final.

ADP Process