Feb. 7, 2018
It is not often I’m at a loss for words, but during the last month or so, I frequently was unable to speak or write. Often, all of my words were replaced with tears. Tears first and foremost for all of the courageous and determined young women who spoke about the horrific abuses they endured. My tears were mixed with awe at their bravery and my deepest hope for their healing. I cried for their parents and their families. And then I cried for the survivors again – over and over as each one rose to speak. Words escaped me, tears did not.
Later, I also cried for my university. For all of the incredible students, researchers, staff, faculty and alumni whom some are painting with the same brush of the ugliest color. This horrible thing is not who we are. A monster does not define us. It has shocked us and shaken us to our core. From the scientist in his lab looking for cures and the student studying for an exam, to the researcher figuring out how to feed the world and alumni making contributions around that same world, every Spartan is reeling. And yes, there have been many tears.
I’ve been inspired by the words of so many leaders on campus. Many of the deans quickly penned words of reflection, support and direction for the students and faculty in their colleges. Read messages from deans like Prabu David, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Christopher P. Long, College of Arts and Letters, Cheryl Sisk, College of Natural Science, who have eloquently expressed how many of us are feeling and have pledged to be active parts of the solution.
Oh, and the students – these young minds who came here to follow their educational dreams and witnessed a nightmare. As they shuffle their course loads, jobs, internships and community service projects, they somehow find time to make sure they’re supporting survivors and also helping chart the way forward. This new generation of Spartans has shown they are committed to creating better tomorrows. Check out the STUDENT VIEW: Coming together for a better MSU, to see just a few ways students are supporting survivors and each other.
While it feels like everything has changed, the best parts of MSU have not. Students are still learning, research discoveries have not stopped, art is being created and we’re still working incredibly hard to solve challenging problems. We can’t stop cleaning water, growing better food, curing disease, teaching leaders, finding sustainable solutions, or any of the other important things Spartans are doing all over the world.
While we are working, even as we are still drying our tears, we are also coming together to support survivors. We now shoulder the immense responsibility of making sure this never happens again here or anywhere. The task is great, but we can rise to the challenge. There is no other option. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner