Feb. 3, 2021: Task Force on Racial Equity webcasts

Dear Spartans,

Just more than a year ago, I announced a planning process focused on MSU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI. A DEI Steering Committee has been working ever since to identify barriers to a fuller realization of these values at MSU and develop a comprehensive DEI planning framework. I look forward to sharing that framework later this semester.

But as protests erupted last year in reaction to the tragic loss of lives and concerns about systemic racism, I asked the steering committee co-chairs and the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives to appoint a Task Force on Racial Equity to offer insights and recommendations for more immediate action.

I identified three areas of focus for the task force: campus climate and safety, policing and faculty and staff diversity. Last month, task force working groups focused on each of those areas delivered their recommendations, and I’ve formulated some initial responses. I believe many of those recommendations are worthy of adoption or further consideration.

In sharing the recommendations and responses with the MSU community, I also sought your feedback to guide a conversation with the task force co-chairs and MSU Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D. He will be a central figure in ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion responsibilities are acknowledged and embraced by MSU’s colleges and administrative units.

These conversations were recorded last week and moderated by the co-chairs of MSU’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee: Wanda Lipscomb, Ph.D., College of Human Medicine senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion and associate professor of psychiatry, and Luis Alonzo Garcia, M.A., director of Migrant Student Services. 

I’d like to invite you to view the recommendations and responses along with our conversations.

Task force campus climate and safety working group chairperson: Jonglim Han, M.A., Interim Program Director, Dow STEM Scholars; Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative; DEI Steering Committee member

Task force faculty and staff diversity working group chairperson: Quentin Tyler, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Acting Associate Dean for Administration and Faculty Affairs, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; DEI Steering Committee member, DEI Subcommittee of the COVID-19 Reopening Campus Task Force member

Task force policing working group chairperson: Jennifer Cobbina, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Criminal Justice

I am grateful for the work of the task force co-chairs and their recommendations to support broader awareness of racial equity issues, better communication, more inclusiveness and — importantly — building trust at MSU.


Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.