REMEDY MSU's PAST ABUSE OF ALL STUDENTS--INCLUDING ITS GAY STUDENTS #EndTheAbuseMSU
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I understand how a sick PREDATOR like LARRY NASSAR could THRIVE at MSU, because I, too, survived MSU’s refusal to STOP ITS EMPLOYEES from ABUSING STUDENTS.
In the 1990s, I was President of the on-campus Graduate Student Association in Owen Hall (called OGA). In an attempt to improve hall services, we sent a survey to students. What we uncovered was scary. STUDENTS WORRIED about their WELLNESS AND SAFETY.
Three Disturbing Things Stood Out:
1. STUDENTS COMPLAINED that a residence hall director was trolling students for sex – an activity that MSU’s policies did NOT prohibit in 1992! This employee also kept no regular office hours.
2. PEOPLE WORRIED that Owen Hall was the only dorm open 24 hours per day—and that ANYONE COULD ENTER when the night security employee went on rounds. There had been sexual assaults in the building, and a person that The State News nicknamed the “blue bandit” had been masturbating in students’ windows on the ground floor.
3. OWEN HALL had a high SUICIDE RATE. As an international dorm, with graduate students representing many cultures, stress could run high. Many students thought an on-site professional counselor would be better than the Residence Life “services” that MSU provided.
OGA shared these concerns with the Division of Student Affairs and proposed some rational solutions. The Vice President of Student Affairs, Moses Turner, responded by attacking the students who brought the complaints to him—promising them “student affairs records that would keep them from ever getting a job in academia.”
Turner bizarrely then had his staff steal OGA’s bank funds (a felony!) and establish a “new OGA government” that his staff controlled.
Around this time, Turner’s staff failed to intervene in an Owen Hall suicide attempt of which Residence Life had been warned. I became convinced that MSU was completely incompetent regarding issues of student safety—and I went to the campus paper, The State News, with the story.
When the reporter called Moses Turner for comment, he told her he believed there to be “an element of race,” in my advocacy for overhauling Owen Hall’s Residence Life structure. Simultaneously, he falsely charged me and another student with racism in the MSU judicial system—which he himself administratively oversaw. The State News therefore declined to cover what was happening on Owen Hall, though MSU’s Council of Graduate Students had independently investigated what Turner was doing and had passed a resolution condemning MSU’s actions.
I remained vocal, because I knew the student who had attempted suicide (and was one of the people to whom he had given away possessions before jumping off a 5th floor balcony!). Turner’s staff then threatened to out me as gay.
I persisted. At which point they threatened to out a friend of mine as gay.
That worked too well—the same university Vice President who oversaw the MSU Counseling Center singlehandedly taught me what clinical depression feels like. The depression lasted several years. I took out $100,000 in student loans to get by—and both the financial aid office and the English department kept certifying my student loan eligibility—completely failing in their oversight of MSU’s federal loan program. The other student whom they “charged with racism,” met the same fate. He dropped out of school with no B.A. after taking out $40,000 in student loans that can never be discharged under federal law—though his department likewise provided no academic oversight.
In effect, MSU paid themselves $140,000 in federal loan funds, for which they delivered no academic services or degree program oversight! And two students have been paying off $140,000 in federal loans for over two decades—for the honor of having been harassed and abused by an MSU Vice President. It was a real education—but it’s not the education we paid for—AND BETWEEN US, THERE IS STILL OVER $100,000 IN STUDENT LOAN DEBT REMAINING.
I have written about this to EVERY MSU President since 1992. Not one of them has ever made things right—let alone apologized. John Engler got his letter in February of 2018 after publicly promising that he was going to completely change things at MSU. HE HASN’T.
When a university cannot correct the mistakes that are made in its name, people like LARRY NASSAR THRIVE. Until real change is made at MSU, no student is safe.
What happened to me could happen to you—or to your son or daughter…
Please join me in asking that MSU make appropriate amends for what it did to me and that other student (whom I will never name and out as bisexual) in 1992.
Join me in demanding that MSU radically improve its environment for LGBT students. MSU has had an anti-gay hate crime on its campus in each of the past three years. During the first year I was at MSU, a gay student had his dormitory room set on fire. Not much has changed.
Join me in asking MSU’s FUNDERS—including foundations, corporations, and major donors to WITHHOLD donations—until the university makes amends with those it has damaged in the past—and verifiably transforms MSU's toxic victim-blaming culture.
And JOIN ME IN ASKING MSU’S Accrediting agencies, including both the Higher Learning Commission and the American Osteopathic Association to suspend their accreditation of MSU—until the university demonstrably proves that what happened to me—and to so many patients of Larry Nassar—can NEVER happen again.
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