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Diversity Equity and Inclusion Content


Michigan State University is committed to reflecting the rich diversity of its students and alumni in university experiences, initiatives, communications and interactions. The MSU Alumni Office (MSUAO) seeks to bring awareness to the university community’s diversity efforts by featuring content and stories supporting these communities. 

A different community will be highlighted every three months, with content changed out frequently, so you are encouraged to visit this page regularly. For more information about our content schedule or the MSUAO diversity, equity and inclusion workgroup, view our commitments and goals


Celebrating the Spartan Black and Asian Pacific Communities


Celebrating Black History Month

Your story matters — and these are just some of the many videos, podcasts and articles in our collection that recognize and celebrate the voices and experiences of Black Spartans. From a doctor who led the U.S.’s immunization program in the 1970s to alumni supporting and empowering Black students through mentorship, Spartans continue to make the university proud.

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Spartan Statue



Slavery to Freedom speakers


Slavery to Freedom Lecture Series
Feb. 4, 11 and 25 at 5 p.m. ET

2021 marks the 21st year of the Dr. William G. Anderson Lecture Series, Slavery to Freedom, which focuses on the history and legacy of African Americans in the United States. The series features new lecturers each year from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Each of this year’s lecturers speak to an arc of the history of African Americans’ pursuits of social justice in the United States. View previous lectures on the MSU Alumni livestream channel.

Feb. 4: Dr. Monique Morris  Register

Feb. 11: Patrisse Cullors  Register

Feb. 25: Dr. Cornell West  Register

Learn More Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade
Feb. 25, 12 p.m.-1 p.m. ET

Michigan State University's searchable database containing millions of records cataloging the lives of enslaved Africans and their descendants — — is launching a second phase that will accept contributions from the public and from academic researchers. At this virtual event, attendees will meet two of the principal investigators, Walter Hawthorne (MSU) and Daryle Williams (UMD), and learn about the history and promise of the project, the history of the Atlantic slave trade and the lives of enslaved individuals in the Americas, how the project is informing the national conversation on slavery and Black lives with big data and how they can contribute.



Painting of slaves at a market



Jeff Wray and Julian Chambliss


English Professors Use Film and Comics to Engage Students in American History

Jeff Wray and Julian Chambliss, two distinguished professors from Michigan State University’s Department of English, joined Russ White on WKAR’s MSU Today to talk about their work and how it impacts their students and our evolving society. The conversation began with their thoughts on a challenging time for racial tension on campus.

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Faculty Voice: Why Harris Won
Associate Professor LaShawn Harris, Department of History 

As the first woman, Black and South Asian American and Historically Black College and University alumna, Kamala Harris’ historic election represents what is possible in American politics. Her win opens the door for those who have been historically and systematically excluded from the political process; for those whose voices have been silenced by race, gender and class discrimination; and for Black and Brown people that have been historically read as unworthy of citizenship and undeserving of taking part in the political process.

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LaShawn Harris headshot


Coffee with the Profs graphic

Coffee with the Profs: Asian Migration and the Hidden History of Ellis Island
March 22, 10-11:30 a.m. ET

Join Professor Anna Pegler-Gordon for a talk on Asian migration. How does our understanding of Ellis Island change when we learn about the histories of Asian immigrants in New York? How does our understanding of Asian immigration change when we view it through Ellis Island? We’ll rethink American immigration by exploring the stories of South Asian sailors, Chinese smugglers and stowaways and Japanese “enemy aliens” who traveled through New York and were detained at, and deported from, Ellis Island.



I never considered a career in teaching, but the film encouraged me to consider how I really wanted to live my life.

Iwan Sayhril image

Spartan Alumni Follow Thousands of Paths

For Iwan Syahril, Ph.D. ’16, the 1998 film “Meet Joe Black” offered more than an entertaining 181-minute escape; the romantic fantasy sparked a life-changing revelation. The film’s intense look at living without regrets compelled Syahril to reflect on his own life and its trajectory, an intrinsic examination that propelled him into his current position guiding one of the globe’s largest educational systems.

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Dr. Stacey Camp and Dr. Ethan Watrall Awarded
National Park Service Grant

Associate Professors Stacey Camp and Ethan Watrall were awarded a three-year National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant for $379,017 to develop The Internment Archaeology Digital Archive (IADA). The IADA is an open digital archive that will host, preserve and provide broad public access to digitized collections of archaeological materials, archival documents, oral histories and ephemera that speak to the experiences of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II in the United States.

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Men playing game at Kooskia



Naoko Wake image


Lack of Empathy Takes the United States Deeper into the Second Cold War

This essay examines a history of US reports on pandemics, which has made it difficult for Americans to feel empathy for affected Asians and Asian Pacific Island Desi Americas (APIDAs). Key examples from the times of HIV/AIDS and SARS show how Asians and APIDAs remained misunderstood in America because of the black-and-white binary that obscures the wide spectrum of others. The resultant lack of empathy is foundational to the current, Cold War-like mentality of fear. The escalation of US-China tension around the pandemic today, then, may be seen as taking both nations deeper into a Second Cold War. By letting ourselves not feel for each other, we miss an opportunity to collaborate globally for virus eradication.

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Support MSU's Efforts 

Asian Pacific American Studies Funds

The Asian Pacific American Studies Program continues to expand in order to educate, support and empower more students. With your help, the program can better support students, faculty and staff through outreach, research, scholarships, lectures and events. 

Make a Gift



Content Suggestions and Feedback

Conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion are essential and constantly evolving.
If you have feedback or a topic suggestion, please email Maria Giggy