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Jan. 29, 2018

Ron Hendrick: Empowered to raise our voices

Ron Hendrick is the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. On Jan.25, he wrote a letter to the CANR community regarding recent events at the university.

CANR Colleagues and Students: 

Our land-grant mission is about connecting with the people of the state, country and world. It’s what we live every day as we interact with colleagues, community partners, friends and family – and those relationships are based on trust. 

The impact statements that victims made during Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing is evidence that trust – and so much more – has been broken. When trust is broken or damaged, it is important to recognize that and to create space for reconciliation and rebuilding trust. Having these topics hit so close to home can create or increase emotional turmoil for survivors and everyone else. 

This tragedy has deepened my commitment to putting into practice the core values of Michigan State University. We must speak the truth, hold one another accountable and create a more just and responsive community. I stand in support of those survivors who have shared their stories and those who cannot yet share theirs. 

Their strength has heightened my awareness about our connections to each other as individuals and as a unit. 

The recent resignation of President Lou Anna K. Simon has left MSU with challenges, but also with some imperatives. Right now, our work needs to focus on reconciliation, rebuilding trust and fostering a dialogue in which all voices are heard. As we move forward, our work should focus on building a culture where new possibilities and including more voices are the order of the day. 

It is my steadfast expectation that all members of our CANR community will always feel empowered to raise their voices – especially when something is wrong – and to know that their words will not fall on deaf ears.

Our shared values of inclusion, dignity and respect can and should be espoused and lived by all Spartans. Offering people inclusion, dignity and respect is always the right thing to do. It doesn’t take extra time or resources, but it does mean that we must consider not only our intent, but our impact. 

It’s time to recommit to our core values and work harder than ever before to create a community in which we respect, listen and respond to each other in ways that ensure dignity for all. 

In the coming weeks, we will schedule time to discuss these issues in person and in groups. Please be on the lookout for your invitation.