EAST LANSING, Mich. — With nearly 50,000 students, Michigan State University is aiming to be a national leader in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. So, school president Samuel Stanley laid out his vision.
“DEI was an important plan for him to make sure we engage the process of looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion as the university was going forward,” said Director of Migrant Student Services at MSU, Lous Alonzo Garcia.
The plan took 18 months to complete and a diversity team of 26 people - made up of students, staff, and faculty. The team compiled nearly 30 recommendations for how the university can do better in the DEI space.
“One of the recommendations was to have a campus-wide climate survey first, and have people answer how they feel about campus, then market over time,” said Associate Professor at MSU, Wanda Lipscomb. "Another recommendation was creating a physical representation of everyone you see on campus. So, as you think about the MSU building, what are some of the visible signs that we have at the university.”
The team also talked about accessibility on campus for students with disabilities. As well as expanding DEI training, building better relationships with on-campus police, and reaching students whose first language is not English.
“Do we take the time to engage communities that speak other than English,” Garcia said. “They are a vital asset to our institution and to the state, and as the population shift and demographic shift, we would be able to see that more and more. And if we want to be a diversity leader, we have to take that into consideration as we move forward.”
Among MSU students, 7.2% are Black, 6.5% are Asian, 5.6% are Hispanic, 0.3% are American Indian and around 66.5% are white.
“I’m actually a first-generation college student,” said PhD student Melissa Yzaguirre. “I’m also a second-generation Mexican American and I moved here from the West Coast. And coming to a very diverse institution like MSU, it was a culture shock.”
Yzaguirre was one of the grad students who helped develop the plan.
“Being able to participate in a thing like this where you hear about not only what is happening on campus, but where we want to take it to, it’s very exciting,” she said. “Especially for a student who is very passionate and actually wants to see some systematic change happening.”
Next up, the DEI plan will be reviewed by President Stanley, the Vice President, and the chief diversity officer. From there, they’ll decide how much money will be allocated to make the plan a reality.
Click here, to view MSU's full DEI Plan.