Dear College of Arts & Letters Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Friends,

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.

Over the weeks and months to come, we will work together to have conversations that will shape this important time of change. Your voices, actions, and support are critical to building a culture of responsibility.

Let the courage and power of the women who have spoken so publicly and eloquently stand as a model for us. Let us continue to learn. Let us remain open and honest so we can create the university we expect ourselves to be.

Christopher P. Long
Dean, College of Arts & Letters

2 Comments

  • Samuel Klahn says:

    Dean Long,

    I will be sending a more formal letter towards the end of the week to you and other deans via your appropriate emails, or secretaries. But I would like to draw a realistic parallel for you: the needs I see as a student leader in the University are in many ways reminding me of the needs for restorative justice, and reconciliation that I read about while studying apartheid South Africa, and the University’s involvement in divestment. I’d be very interested in seeing a transparent, structured dialogue begin between deans, other administrators, professors, students, and community members about how to not only look at individual cases of justice where people were silent but larger cultural changes. Michigan State can either be the most recent large campus to face a large sexual scandal, or it can be the last one. I believe that if we embrace our imperfections, strive forward with humility, and choose to be vulnerable with one another as Spartans, we can innovate a new way to view our community. we cannot mistake change for improvement.

    Go Green,
    Samuel Klahn

  • Christopher Long says:

    Dear Sam,

    Your comment here came at just the right moment for me as a dean, a member of the faculty, and a person. I am struggling to respond to students, faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow deans in ways that embody the humility and vulnerability you rightly say is required of us.

    So your words come at once as a reminder of my own deepest commitments and as an indication of a path forward.

    The open letter here says: “we are committed to looking critically at ourselves, recognizing our failures, and rebuilding the trust that is required of us.” In our January 29th letter to the Board of Trustees, the deans made a commitment to one another and to the MSU community to: “foster and protect a culture that is transparent, open, trusting and safe; continuously cultivate leadership through caring and accountability; and empower everyone to be fully engaged in a community that is inclusive and equitable.”

    These commitments will only have power if we are able to live them out together in practice. That is the work ahead, and it is daunting; but your leadership and vision give me hope that we will be able to “embrace our imperfections, strive forward with humility, and choose to be vulnerable with one another as Spartans.”

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply to Samuel Klahn Cancel Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.