Dear College of Arts & Letters Alumni, Students, Staff, and Faculty,
One year ago this week, the courageous testimonies of the Sister Survivors began to sow the seeds of change at Michigan State University. Taking courage from their leadership, we in the College of Arts & Letters (and in collaboration with colleges and deans across MSU) embarked upon an intentional and difficult process of critical self-reflection, ethical candor, and intentional culture change. We remain resolved to create a culture in which daily practices of care, accountability, and equity empower us to use our position and privilege to support our colleagues – students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends.
At a meeting this morning, the MSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Satish Udpa, Executive Vice President for Administrative Services, as Acting President of Michigan State University. Dr. Udpa is a University Distinguished Professor and has served as Dean of the College of Engineering and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. I wholeheartedly endorse this choice. I know Dr. Udpa to be a person of integrity, compassion, and empathy. In a letter he wrote to faculty and staff on January 30, 2018, he stated, “Let’s make sure we treat each other civilly and with kindness and make sexual harassment and other forms of abhorrent behavior alien to our culture. We owe it to ourselves to create an environment where everyone is given an opportunity to grow and thrive.”
Our goal at MSU is still to have a new president by June 2019. Nominations are being accepted, and the board and search committee plan to review applicants and conduct interviews beginning in February, with the aim of selecting a permanent president. The Presidential search timeline can be found at https://msu.edu/presidentialsearch.
Collaboratively with deans and colleges across the university, we are committed to nurturing a culture that is transparent, open, trusting, and safe, leadership that is caring and accountable, and an engaged community that is inclusive and equitable. In today’s meeting, Nancy Schlichting, a new member of our Board of Trustees, emphasized that “values matter.” Putting these values into intentional practice every day will continue to shape our work together as we make enduring culture change at MSU. I look forward to having further conversations with you as we continue to create the university we expect ourselves to be.
Christopher P. Long
Dean of the College of Arts & Letters