Dean Ron Hendrick Our land-grant mission is about connecting with the people of the state, country and world. It’s what we live every day as we interact with colleagues, community partners, friends and family – and those relationships are based on trust. The impact statements that victims made during Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing is evidence that trust – and so much more – has been broken. When trust is broken or damaged, it is important to recognize that and to create space for reconciliation and rebuilding trust. Having these topics hit so close to home can create or increase emotional turmoil for survivors and everyone else.
Dean Christopher P. Long In the wake of the survivor impact statements, the Nassar sentencing, and the resignation of President Simon, we have entered an important period of transition and change at Michigan State University. I am grateful for the collaborative efforts our community is making to listen to the survivors. Their stories are heartbreaking. In following their lead and drawing strength from their courage, we are learning how to create a more just and responsive culture at MSU. Within the College of Arts & Letters, and collaboratively with deans and colleges across the university, we are committed to looking critically at ourselves, recognizing our failures, and rebuilding the trust that is required of us. Each of us is a leader; as leaders, we need to listen to one another and support each other as we undertake the difficult work ahead with integrity, empathy, and urgency.
Dean Prabu David It is a week after Nassar. We are a welter of emotions. Horror, shock, disbelief, frustration, anger and disappointment. We have to pick up the shards of broken glass. We see acts of courage. Courage of survivors who shook the conscience of a nation. Each solo voice collectively harmonized is an anthem for justice. Healing and restoration has to come soon. Spring is not far away. We have to find a fiber of resilience, spun in green and white. We have to look failure straight in the eye and acknowledge failure with humility. We have to search for meaning in the broken shards and commit with steely resolve to restore lost dignity.
Dean Robert Floden The statements from Nassar’s victims have been heart-wrenching. I can barely imagine the ways that they and their families have suffered, and continue to suffer. I admire the bravery the women showed in speaking out, and only wish that their voices had been heard and heeded much sooner. As educators, we have a special responsibility for creating environments where people feel empowered to speak, and those in positions of power are ready to listen. We also need to ensure the safety of the students in our programs.
Dean Sanjay Gupta This has been a challenging and an emotional few weeks for all of us in the Broad College and the MSU community as we heard the heart-wrenching statements during Larry Nassar’s trial. The suffering from this human tragedy is truly appalling, especially because something so terrible has happened involving MSU. As a Spartan, I am saddened beyond words. I admire the bravery the women showed in speaking out, and wish that their voices had been heard much sooner. At a university, we have a special responsibility for creating environments where people feel empowered to speak, and ensuring the safety of our students and the MSU community.
Dean Leo Kempel I am deeply saddened by the pain caused to the victims and their families by Larry Nassar, and honor their bravery in coming forward. It is extremely distressing that such criminal abuse could occur within our community at the hands of a person trusted by his patients, his colleagues, and the community at large. I resolve to do everything possible to not let this, or anything like it, ever happen again, and I ask you to join me in this resolution. Trust in the institution has been substantially weakened. President Simon has resigned and there will be changes at MSU. We need to come together, and make the necessary changes to protect all members of our community, and restore trust. I believe that this should start with strengthening transparency and accountability.
Dean Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore Like many of you, I am shocked and saddened by the abuses that the young women and women suffered. It is unacceptable that their voices went unheard or unaddressed, at all, let alone for so many years. I share in your outrage and heartbreak that even one life, let alone so many lives, was impacted in such a devastating manner. The outpouring of support that the survivors are receiving and the community that they are building amongst themselves is an important part of the healing process. There are simply few words that can express the confusion that we are all experiencing. The courage of the survivors to speak their truth publicly serves as a guide for us all. We desire real change. The administrators, faculty, researchers, staff, and other constituencies at this university have an obligation and opportunity to learn from all the failures that allow any type of abuse to persist.
Dean Norman J. Beauchamp Jr. It is difficult to find words adequate to capture how saddened I am by the tragic events that occurred at our university. The survivor impact stories, so courageously shared, are beyond devastating. Horrific acts occurred to individuals who came to Michigan State University. They were vulnerable and in search of healing. We failed them. We are disheartened. Ours is a profession defined by accountability and responsibility. Our core value is caring. Our students come to us knowing that they will graduate as physicians uniquely prepared to protect the dignity of those they serve and to heal those in greatest need. As individuals, we begin and end each day inspired to lessen the struggles of those in need.
Dean Sherman W. Garnett I wanted to communicate briefly with you in the aftermath of President Simon’s announcement of her resignation. I have by accident of my schedule watched most of this from afar in India, through major media outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, and ESPN. What I saw in our university’s response to the survivor statements in court from senior MSU spokespeople and leaders frankly made me ashamed. We are so much better than this, so much more dedicated to fundamental human and humane values, than these words conveyed. Our first thoughts should be with those survivors and of their courage. They are individually and collectively the human and moral polestar, and hearing their words is the only way to find our way back to who we are and should be.
Dean Mark Largent Over the last two months, our community has begun to wrestle with the deep and serious problems that plague MSU and many similar institutions. The survivors' impact statements, Nassar's sentencing, the university president's resignation and the votes of no confidence from students and faculty alike have thrown us into a badly needed period of change at Michigan State University. As Sherman Garnett, the Dean of James Madison College, wrote to his faculty, "Our first thoughts should be with those survivors and of their courage. They are individually and collectively the human and moral polestar, and hearing their words is the only way to find our way back to who we are and should be."