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Steps for Election Civility by MSU’s President Ignored by MSU Admin, Profs, and MSU President

Author: Sergei Kelley

Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley recently emailed an outline of steps for election civility, but MSU administration, professors, and Stanley himself have not followed those steps.

“Broad generalizations, character assassination, questioning another person’s values or patriotism...have no place in our community,” President Stanley stated in an October 20 email to the student body. Spartans must “ensure the free expression of ideas” by listening and “using language that communicates views without exaggeration or name-calling,” the President further shared.

Two days after this email, MSU Provost Teresa Woodruff appeared to violate Stanley’s standard for Spartans during a student government meeting. Responding to a question about sustainability, and referencing climate change, the provost declared, “the resoluteness of our population is in two parts, one that thinks there is nothing we can do... and only thinks in terms of economics and lining our pockets, and the other thinks we have to take swift and rapid action.”

[RELATED STORY: MSU Provost Announces Elimination of the Terms ‘Foreign’ and ‘Alien’]

President Stanley appeared to violate these steps when listing a presentation by US Customs and Border Protection officials, by invitation, to an MSU class with incidents of hate and causing “concern and anger.” Stanley said this in an October 2019 email.

The Morning Watch has reported several other incidents which would go against this election civility standard:

  • On the eve of the 2018 midterm elections, MSU professor Liam Brockey discussed non-voters and lazy voters, saying, “you’re a douchebag and don’t vote anyways because you’d probably vote Republican.”

  • A presenter at a bipartisan dinner sponsored by MSU in February 2019, said President Donald Trump has a “reptilian brain.”

  • An Islam and Feminism panel hosted by James Madison College students, and included MSU professors, affirmed that there are fewer stereotypes on campus because “most students vote blue.”

  • MSU presented and advertised the film, The Great American Lie, which “examines how a US value system built on the extreme masculine ideals of money, power, and control has glorified individualism, institutionalized inequality” in February 2020. A panel after the film shared how people are oppressed by a racist, women-hating, and uncaring patriarchal system.

  • In January 2020, The Morning Watch reported how three MSU social science classes have described America as “profoundly racist” and “white supremacist.”

  • An MSU class, Family and Society (SOC315), instructed students to write how patriarchy affects them and to discuss “how family shapes your experiences and utilization of patriarchy.”

  • MSU has routinely placed or funded boards throughout dormitories highlighting white privilege, cultural appropriation, and indigenous people. These boards have called Columbus Day “a complete lie” and state “refuse NRA blood money” and “vote because rich right-wingers want you to stay home.”

President Stanley’s email concludes by saying, “We know that whatever the outcomes of this year’s election or the next one, we remain a community of Spartans: leaders, lifesavers, world changers.”

The Morning Watch did not receive comment from the President Stanley in time for publication.

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