A culture embracing diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, is essential for all we want to accomplish together at Michigan State University. In December 2019, I announced a comprehensive planning process focused on DEI values and practices for MSU. Today, I want to share some outcomes of this effort and my support for recommendations moving forward.
A DEI Steering Committee co-chaired by Luis Alonzo Garcia, director of Migrant Student Services, and Wanda Lipscomb, Ph.D., senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion and associate dean for student affairs in the College of Human Medicine, worked throughout 2020 to identify barriers to a fuller realization of these values at MSU and to formulate a comprehensive DEI strategic planning framework. We will announce that framework later this semester. But as the tragic loss of lives and concerns about systemic racism brought protests into the streets across the country in 2020, I asked the 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 on DEI issues.
I identified three areas of focus for the task force: campus climate and safety, policing and diversity of faculty and staff. Each focus area intersects with the others. A respectful and accountable MSU Police Department is a necessary component of a healthy campus climate. Likewise, a safe, welcoming and respectful campus climate will help enhance the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and staff and ensure all students and trainees are supported.
The three focus area groups were led by faculty or staff members with specialized expertise or scholarship:
I asked them to think creatively, and with the support of students, faculty and staff selected for their working groups, they have submitted recommendations for immediate and longer-term consideration. I believe a number of recommendations are very actionable in an early time frame and am pleased to note that others are already in effect in some form or in planning.
More detailed responses are provided here for each task force working group’s recommendations, and we acknowledge addressing these issues must be done in a holistic manner across all three areas as well as across additional areas identified through the ongoing work of the broader DEI Steering Committee. I want to thank the task force leaders and members for their dedication to this effort over the past several months, and I look forward to partnering with them as we move forward together.
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.
In January, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar Bennett, Ph.D., and task force co-chairs participated in informational webcasts to review recommendations, discuss President Stanley’s responses and answer questions collected from the community. The conversations were moderated by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee co-chairs Wanda Lipscomb, Ph.D., associate professor and College of Human Medicine Department of Psychiatry senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion, and Luis Alonzo Garcia, director of Migrant Student Services. The recommendations, responses and webcasts are linked below.
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