President Stanley guiding MSU through uncharted territory with empathy
Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. joins MSU Today and begins by sharing his feelings on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the wake of the George Floyd killing.
“We’re living during a time of profound hurt and frustration and, for many, a sense of deep disappointment and despair at the state of what’s happening with Black America in our country,” says Stanley. “Our challenges with systemic racism have never been more important to deal with. We need healing. We need people to come together. And we need to have real plans for what we’re going to do to address the problem of racism and the consequences of it for so many people in our nation.”
Stanley talks about his background in infectious diseases and how that has informed his decisions during the pandemic and the university’s decision to bring students back to campus in the fall. And he addresses whether he expects college football to be played in the fall.
“I think there are ways that this could be done. It involves frequent testing of players, coaches and trainers to make sure they’re free of Covid-19 infection. It involves physical distancing and making sure anyone who comes on the field doesn’t show any evidence that they’re infected with the virus. If you get there, then I think you can play. Then the next question becomes whether we can have fans in the stands. We would be outside and that reduces risk. And we can spread people six feet apart. Managing the entering and exiting of the stadium is one of the most difficult things to handle. The critical thing will be for all of us to wear masks.”
As the summer gets underway, Stanley is looking forward to the fall.
“We’ll be in some uncharted territory, and I appreciate people’s patience. We won’t have all the answers all the time, but we’re doing our best with the health of students, faculty, and staff paramount. Patience will be important as we move through these issues. And given the climate in our country right now, it’s important to talk to each other and maintain lines of communication. And it’s important to have empathy. There are people experiencing things right now in ways that may be different than you’re experiencing. Understanding their perspective and what’s hit them and what they’ve had to undergo is important in helping us deal with these critical issues we’re facing currently.”