Student Tribune

Special Message from the President: Follow-up

In follow-up to my message yesterday regarding an MCC student's recent social media post that included a racist slur and was a vile example of hate speech:

I understand that the College community is interested in any disciplinary steps that can or will be taken toward the student in question. As I hope you can appreciate, there are limits to what we can say about any student disciplinary matter. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of student records, including disciplinary records.

However, I can share the following:

Since our initial statements on this matter and Monday's forum here at the Downtown Campus, several things have changed.

First, the College has confirmed the author of the tweet.

Second, Vice President Holmes has met with that individual.

So, at this point, I can make the following statement:

While MCC believes in and supports the right to freedom of speech for all members of the College community, our student code of conduct extends MCC's jurisdiction on conduct to matters off college property when this conduct "poses a risk of harm or the threat of harm to the College community, and/or interferes with the College's pursuit of its objects and mission." In such cases, students are referred to judicial affairs for due process and potential disciplinary sanctions.

On the issue of this student's post, this is the extent of what I can say, given privacy restrictions set forth in federal law.

However, I have reflected on today's forum, and wish to share some steps that the College will take going forward. First, I thank everyone who spoke so frankly and openly. Your comments will lead to changes at MCC. I know it was not easy and I am grateful for your honesty. There is another forum today at the Brighton Campus (noon, Warshof Conference Center, Monroe A/B), but I and my leadership team have already committed to the following:

  • Vice President Lloyd Holmes and Provost Andrea Wade will convene a work team composed of students and faculty to review and revise the College's conduct code as it relates to social media postings by students and employees.
  • Assistant to the President for Human Resources Melissa Fingar will bring the request to require equity and inclusion training for all employees to CSEA and FA Labor-Management. Setting the tone for the College, I and my leadership team will complete such training before the end of fall semester.
  • Improving the alignment between the diversity of our faculty and staff and the diversity of our student body is essential to increasing understanding. I will report out to the Board on this data annually as part of our strategic plan, and will work with the Provost and Vice President to assure we move these numbers.
  • Assuring equity in student success is essential if we are to get at the root of the concerns expressed today. I have recently convened a President's Advisory Committee that will work with me on this fundamental mission. The PAC includes representatives from President's Staff, Deans, Directors, SGA, SEGA, Faculty Senate, Faculty Association, Support Staff, and CSEA. Our first meeting is this week.

I expect this list of actions will grow after today's Brighton forum.

I am committed to assuring MCC lives up to our values for all members of our community.

Kress, Anne
President's Office
10/03/2017