Michigan State deans: 'We must avoid temptation to put Nassar crisis behind us'

Posted at 12:09 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 12:09:52-04

Eight Michigan State University deans are calling for transparency with investigations while also saying the university must not forget about the Larry Nassar crisis.

In an article published on Inside Higher Ed, titled "Can Michigan State Recover and Chart a New Path for Higher Education?" the deans outlined three different ways for change at the university.

Those deans are: Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., dean, College of Human Medicine; Rachel Croson, dean, College of Social Science; Prabu David, dean, College of Communication Arts and Sciences; Ronald Hendrick, dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Thomas D. Jeitschko, dean, The Graduate School; Mark Largent, associate dean for undergraduate education; Christopher P. Long, dean, College of Arts & Letters; Cheryl Sisk, interim dean, College of Natural Science

The first way, according to the article, is to not put the Nassar crisis behind them. 

"Rather, we need to keep what happened and the lessons we learned from it in front of us," they wrote. "The injury inflicted ont he vulnerable is a symptom of a deeper cultural problem within society related to power, voice and silence.

"Keeping the crisis in front of us requires us to acknowledge that the very institutions created to transform individuals and communities through education can easily be derailed by self-interest, insecurity and competition," they added. 

Another way the deans believe MSU should change is by reconsidering the system of evaluation and reward, which includes institutional rankings, tenure and promotion and scholarship metrics.

"It is time to acknowledge that we have fallen short of our values, reaffirm them in light of our current situation and align our reward system accordingly," they wrote. "Only then can we fulfill the transformative role that higher education was established to create for the communities we serve. Change must begin with us."

Finally, the deans believe that they need to hold each other accountable.

"the culture we need requires each of us who has some power ot effect change to put our effort, influence and weight on the side of creating more trust and equity," they wrote.

The deans also called for the university to remain transparent during state, federal and NCAA investigations into the university's handling of the Nassar crisis.