Advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at MSU

The last several weeks at Michigan State University have been filled with activities and programs associated with our efforts in building an inclusive campus community. We’ve met as a community to reflect, discuss, and hopefully heal as we shared with one another the impact of the deaths of Black men and women by police. The law enforcement community has shared its fears. We’ve listened to one another with respect.

We are reminded on a daily basis that as much effort as we put into building inclusive communities, our sense of progress can be dismantled by tragic events that target certain members of our society because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender, gender identity, and national origin.

We have created space for students, faculty, and staff of the African American campus community to share in their words, why Black lives matter. The Latino/Chicano community has expressed the need for similar time and focus given the incidence of violence directed at them, and as a community we have and will continue to create space for healing. We’ve similarly responded to the needs of our Muslim students, faculty, and staff. Working collaboratively, we’re responding as a community to the needs of our LBGT community as well. And, we continue to seek out new ways to support the needs of our international students.

Last year, we developed a number of action items to respond to the concerns of our students that will also contribute to the overall support of the campus community, including our faculty and staff. We’ve engaged in new initiatives to increase cultural awareness, and new learning modules in the residence halls will contribute to students gaining a deeper awareness of what it means to engage across cultures. We’ve improved our response systems to bias, discrimination, and harassment. Faculty and academic administrators are leading efforts to create more inclusive learning environments.

A senior leadership team is specifically charged with coordinating MSU’s efforts on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Over the summer, the team expanded the voices that have provided input on our future direction as a campus community that holds inclusion as a core value.

Our planning efforts continue. We have more work to do, and our success as a learning community depends not only on how well we listen to one another but on the steps we take to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion at MSU.

Paulette Granberry Russell
Senior Advisor to the President and Director 
Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives