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Michigan State Faculty Senate Send No Confidence Vote to Board of Trustees

Faculty and students hope that this vote comes as a sign of accountability to trustees for the future.

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Michigan State University Faculty Senate approved a no confidence vote against the school’s board of trustees on Tuesday.

The overwhelming approval of the vote came with a 61-4 decision, and is a response to the recent trials of former USA Gymnastics and MSU doctor, Larry Nassar, exposing decades long sexual assault of his young patients.

Tuesday’s meeting brought an increased pressure for the vote after the board of trustees chose to appoint former Michigan Governor, John Engler, as interim president. Former MSU President, Lou Anna Simon, resigned in late January at the height of the Nassar sex-abuse scandal.

The vote, while symbolic, carries no legal weight.

Faculty and students alike hope that this vote comes as a sign of accountability to trustees for the future. Nassar’s sex-abuse scandal caused many to call for the resignation of the entire board of trustees.

“I hope it tells the board of trustees that the spartan community is not with them,” said Natalie Rogers, a sophomore studying comparative culture and politics. “The spartan community is not behind them. We don’t respect them as our leaders, we want new people representing us.”

Rob LaDuca, a professor and associate dean of Lyman Briggs College, described that two trustees will not run for reelection at the expiration of their terms by the end of the year.

“We really need to have eight board members leave … out of love for the university and put eight academic leaders in place to move us going forward,” LaDuca said.

Tuesday’s meeting brought many students and faculty coming together, boasting signs voting in favor of the no confidence vote.

“If I was a member of the board of trustees and there was an unprecedented vote by this many people on the faculty in a vote of no confidence, I would certainly start listening,” said Deborah Moriarty, a professor in the College of Music.

John Verboncoeur, a professor in the College of Engineering, believes faculty needs to work on focusing the factors they can change because there is now a lack of confidence in the board of trustees. Factors faculty can change include finding a permanent president for the university, improving accountability and changing the culture surrounding sexual assault.

“If all we do is complain, I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere,” he said. “Yes, we have a lot of rage. But at some point we also have to focus our energy on the things we can and should change.”

Savannah is a third year Journalism major with a French minor at Colorado State University. She works as a Communications Intern for the CSU Alumni Association, and hopes to one day work in a French speaking country.

Education

Inside the Ivy: Hazing Allegations and Discrimination

Brown’s men’s swim team, a religious organization at Harvard, and Prince Charles’ appreciation of Cornell.

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Brown’s men’s swim team barred from Championships #busted

The men’s swimming and diving team for Brown University will not be participating in the Ivy League Championship due to an investigation into hazing allegations against the team.

The Brown Daily Herald reports, “in addition, the team’s schedule no longer lists the National Collegiate Athletic Association Swimming and Diving Championships, which will take place in March. The women’s team schedule still lists these meets.”

The men’s team roster also removed the two senior captains that were previously listed.

Sexual assault and guns may be the hot issues of the moment, but homophobia is still a problem

Harvard University’s Office of Student Life has placed the religious group Harvard College Faith and Action (HCFA) on probation after the organization forced a female member of its student leadership to step down because she was dating a woman.

The Harvard Crimson reports, “the decision to suspend HCFA, though, is almost certainly tied to the Sept. 2017 resignation of a female bisexual former assistant Bible course leader. HCFA leadership asked the woman to step down from her position after they learned she was dating another female student—violating guidelines laid out in the Harvard College Student Handbook, which stipulates recognized campus student groups cannot discriminate on the basis of ‘sexual orientation.'”

Confirmation of this order of events came from 12 current and former members of HCFA as well as documents, emails and text messaged obtained and reviewed by the Crimson.

Randoms:

Prince Charles talks up Cornell

Step up your Olympic-watching game with this UPenn idea

Quote of the Week:

“People are dying, and I think it’s about time somebody called BS.”

– Senior Maya Kassutto at a UPenn gun protest

Tweet of the Week:

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Academics

UC San Diego Refuses to Cancel Course on Woody Allen Films

University of California, San Diego refused to cancel a course on Woody Allen films despite a petition with over 20,000 signatures.

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The University of California, San Diego is refusing to cancel a course on “The Films of Woody Allen” despite a petition with more than 20,000 signatures.

The UC San Diego Academic Senate announced that they “conclude that canceling or removing this or any other course for the reason that it contains the study of controversial material, or even material widely regarded as morally problematic, would undermine both the value of free inquiry and the associated rights of faculty to engage in such inquiry by choosing their course content” in a press release.

The Senate also defined the subject of the press release as “Academic Freedom at UCSD”.

The petition, which currently has 21,895, was created by theater student Savanah Lyon, who said she “emailed all of the people in charge in an attempt to appeal to their sense of reason, humanity, and morality to stop this class and take it off the books so that no one can teach this class again.” Lyon’s emails have been met with dismissal, unprofessionalism, and dehumanizing rhetoric, according to the petition.

“They believe they have a right to teach this class due to academic freedom. They do not care about the statement it makes to survivors everywhere. They do not care that Woody Allen is on his way out of Hollywood,” Lyon also said in the petition.

“They do not care that the class is less than 1/3 full, making it an unpopular class that has no reason to be taught. They do not care that there are thousands of other directors who could teach the same film basics that they use Woody Allen to teach, directors who haven’t raped seven-year-old girls.”

Dylan Farrow, Woody Allen’s adoptive daughter with Mia Farrow, had accused him of molesting her when she was a seven year old. Allen is currently married to Mia Farrrow’s other adoptive daughter Soon-Yi Previn. He claims the affair with Previn started when she was 21 years old.

In  a Facebook post Lyon said she tried as hard as she could but the odds were stacked up against her from the beginning.

I tried, I tried as hard as I could, and the people around me and across the globe tried as well. The odds were stacked…

Posted by Savanah Lyon on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

“It’s hard to believe what would’ve been enough to get them to remove it from the books. Over 3,700 emails weren’t enough. Over 14,500 signatures weren’t enough. Various news clips and articles weren’t enough. The students weren’t enough, but the way the system works, I have a hard time believing we ever will,” she said.

“I don’t know if free speech and academic freedom will ever stop protecting oppressors. But, we can keep trying. Trying is radical and it will make them jump back every time. You get enough people pushing for change, it’ll start to happen. Don’t be discouraged by this.”

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Education

Seventh Grader Shoots Self in School

How many children have access to guns?

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Middle School students at Jackson Memorial in Stark County, Ohio, were placed on lockdown early this morning after a seventh grader shot himself in a school bathroom.

According to WECT-6 Cleveland, there have been no reports on whether the shooting was intentional. The student was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated, and police have not stated what his condition is. No other students were reported injured.

Just before 8am Tuesday, the seventh grader shot himself in the men’s room. The students and faculty at Jackson Memorial Middle School were unaffected, and the administration has worked to safely dismiss everyone from campus.

Some surrounding elementary and high schools have also been evacuated, and there will be no classes today as a precautionary measure.

The school is located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Cleveland.

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