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Teach-in/Learn-in: Building a Just MSU

February 27, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 6:00 pm EST

Over the past month, Michigan State University has been in the national spotlight for the horrific actions of someone who worked among us for decades. The courageous statements of survivors revealed not only a predator in our midst, but also the deeply problematic culture and flawed institutional structures that allowed him to operate. Nassar is gone, but the environment that allowed him to operate remains in place. Inspired by the survivors’ bravery and determination, we know that we must rebuild MSU to make it a safer and more inclusive university.

In that spirit, the students, staff, and faculty of MSU’s three residential colleges—James Madison College (JMC), Lyman Briggs College (LBC) and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH)—have planned a day-long Teach-In/Learn-In. Students, staff, advisors, alumni, faculty and friends are invited to come together to share stories, ask and answer questions, and take our first steps toward building a better MSU.

A Teach-In is an act of protest that empowers participants to be agents of change. A Teach-In requires all participants to be both teachers and learners, working together in the knowledge that the bounds of normal academic learning are too narrow to successfully confront the challenges we face. As such, a Teach-In intentionally disrupts daily routines and endows participants with the knowledge needed to build the culture they want to see.


to be updated as more information becomes available

Morning Plenary

9:00 – 9:30a: Coffee, light breakfast, introductions

9:30a – 12:00p: Welcome session (including statement of purpose, land recognition); Training (how to listen and engage in meaningful dialogue); Community Forum (sharing our stories; an open, but moderated, discussion)

12:00 – 12:40p: Provided boxed lunch, open session sign-up

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Between 4-6 simultaneous breakout sessions will be offered in teach of the time-slots.

12:40 – 1:30p:

Open session.

WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE: MSU’S FORMAL POWER STRUCTURES (Dean Mark Largent) -Leading change requires a knowledge of the formal and informal power structures. Universities are organized in unfamiliar and complex ways, which makes influencing them – and the people who lead them – difficult. This session will introduce participants to how MSU is organized and how various leaders and offices on campus might be influenced by change agents.

TRAUMA INFORMED CARE (Tashmica Torok, Firecracker Foundation) – Information to come.

CONSENT (from 12:40 – 3:00, Prof. Kathleen Livingston, Bhargavi Dixit, Meghan Hollister) -What does it mean to practice consent, beyond saying “yes” or “no?” This consent workshop uses theater games and writing to initiate a shift toward consent culture at MSU at the level of practice.

DESIGNING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE STUDIO (12:40 – 3:50, Prof. Dylan Miner) – In this workshop, participants will learn basic strategies for making effective social movement-oriented art and graphic design. The workshop will also provide a space for participants to learn basic screenprinting using a preprepared screen.

1:50 – 2:40p:

Open session.

STUDENT VOICES AND PROTEST (Student Representation in University Governance) – Given concerns over the lack of voice given to student leaders in university decisionmaking, this panel will focus on the ways that students can have more of an influence. This will be a solution-oriented discussion moderated.

INTERSECTIONALITY (Profs. Rashida Harrison and Mark Axelrod) – This session aims to get students thinking more specifically about the experiences of different communities within our larger campus. We do this by first defining the concept of intersectionality, and next explore the usefulness of it as a frame to pursue our everyday initiatives that amount to justice and fairness. Participants should expect to engage race, gender, religion, nationality, class, etc. as it pertains to issues of safety on campus, as well as barriers to dealing with administrative entities.

3:00 – 3:50p:

Open sessions.

Next steps

4:00 – 4:30p: Gather to reflect on what was accomplished over the course of the day and suggest next steps.

For more information and up-to-date scheduling, stay tuned with updates from JMC, LBC and RCAH for more detailed information on the event.

This event is co-sponsored by James Madison College, the Residential College in the Arts of Humanities, Lyman Briggs College, the College of Arts and Letters, Jewish Studies Program, Muslim Studies Program, Asian and Pacific American Studies Program, African American and African Studies, the Center for Gender in a Global Context, Chicano and Latino Studies, and American Indian and Indigenous Studies.