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Feb. 15, 2019

Udpa delivers personal message to survivors at board meeting

Acting President Satish Udpa opened the Michigan State University Board of Trustees meeting with an apology to the survivors of Larry Nassar.

“On behalf of this university I love, as acting president and an executive officer, and as a former dean and faculty member, I realize the need to formally apologize and to effectively atone,” Udpa said. “I am sorry you were subjected to the pain and humiliation of sexual assault by somebody you should have been able to trust. We failed to comprehend and acknowledge your injuries. We were too slow to grasp the scope and enormity of the offense you endured. And we failed to treat you with the respect and care you deserved even as we sought to make amends.”

Udpa continued, “My commitment to you today is that we will listen more closely, ask more caring questions and act more thoughtfully as all of us work to advance the culture of this campus to one focused first on safety and respect.”

Following Udpa’s remarks, Dianne Byrum, chairperson of the Board of Trustees, announced the board will re-establish a sexual assault survivors’ healing assistance fund. The details about the fund’s parameters and information on how to submit for reimbursement will be announced in the coming week.

“The board has met with survivors and their families and consulted with the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup on this topic, and we will continue our work on this issue to support those who need help,” Byrum said.

Also during the meeting, the board approved the establishment of the Department of African American and African Studies in the College of Arts and Letters. The new department will enhance the existing program by providing integrated education into the complex connection between race, gender and cultural differences.

In addition, the university delivered the final results of the “Empower Extraordinary” capital campaign. The effort concluded on Dec. 31, 2018 with more than $1.8 billion raised during the past seven years. With a total of 255,284 donors, MSU exceeded its original goal of $1.5 billion.

Other board activity included:

  • Authorization to plan an estimated $10 million upgrade to the outdoor pool at IM West to meet NCAA standards
  • Approval to proceed with $1.5 million in infrastructure updates at McDonel Hall
  • Authorization of a lease with Panera, LLC for food service space at the Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion at the Broad College of Business

The next board meeting will be Friday, April 12.

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