The State – 04/26/23

Rachel Fulton

Today’s weather forecast is predicting partly cloudy skies with a high of 52 degrees and a low of 33 degrees.

MSU Dean of Students resigned after drunken misconduct, records show

Michigan State University Dean of Students Anthony Williams Jr. voluntarily resigned in February. He received three months of “transitional pay” and told staff that he chose to leave because he was a finalist in a closed-search at another institution.

But Williams’ exit was spurred by his “inappropriate behavior” while at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ regional conference in Chicago, Illinois in November of 2022, according to records obtained by The State News, which were initially withheld by MSU.

While at a hotel bar, Williams engaged in a “level of consumption of alcohol which led to disruptive behavior,” and had “interactions with a female delegate that was perceived as unwanted.” Williams was removed by “security staff,” according to a letter from Williams’ supervisor, which cited witness interviews conducted by MSU Human Resources.

The letter, authored by Vice President of Student Life and Engagement Vennie Gore, said Williams’ conduct was especially disappointing given his responsibilities with reporting and regulating substance use and sexual misconduct amongst the students he oversaw at MSU. Gore wrote the behavior “compromises (Williams’) credibility and effectiveness.”

Nonetheless, Williams entered into a voluntary resignation agreement with MSU.

After his resignation was announced but not explained to his staff, Williams sent them an email apologizing for the department’s “abrupt announcement.” He wrote “it was my decision to resign, and I did so for personal and professional reasons.”

Williams then provided an explanation, writing “I am in the process of pursuing a new opportunity outside of MSU. I am a finalist in a closed search that is coming to an end.”

The university did deny The State News’ request for the letter’s full contents. It argued that remaining portions of the letter fall under another Freedom of Information Act exemption which protects “non-factual,” and “preliminary advisory,” determinations made within public bodies like MSU.

Student plans protest against Board of Trustees following denial of Nassar document release

After Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees denied Attorney General Dana Nessel’s request for thousands of long-withheld documents relating to the disgraced ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar, students reacted furiously and planned to protest the Board’s decision.

Communications and music junior Charlotte Plotzke called for students to join the protest at 11 a.m. on April 25 at the Hannah Administration Building to hold the Board of Trustees accountable.

Plotzke said it filled her with rage that the Board was protecting Nassar, as it was harmful to the community of Spartans, especially those who were abused by Nassar.

Plotzke said students who have experienced sexual assault are going to feel disturbed by the university’s choice.

Valerie Von Frank, the mother of a Sister Survivor and president of a survivor advocacy group, said she was glad that there is a demonstration against the Board of Trustees decision, as the decision affected many students.

Graduating seniors reflect on time as rec sports Zumba instructors

If you found yourself in Holmes Hall on Tuesday night after 9 p.m. you’d hear loud music blasting from Room C105, home of the rec sports Zumba Cardio Dance class.

At the front of the room are instructors, international relations senior Olivia Antal and political science-prelaw senior Jocee Schwass.

The hour-long class consisted of 16 songs broken down into four sets of four. After the first four warm-up songs are played, participants take a small break before coming back together to finish. The last two songs of the class are for participants to cool down before ending with a stretch. It was held from 9:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Antal and Schwass, who graduate in May, joined the Zumba class as members when they were freshmen and were eventually trained to teach the course.

Due to logistical reasons, Antal and Schwass’ Zumba Cardio Dance class is ending after the spring semester. The final session took place yesterday.

While there are dozens of fitness classes offered through rec sports, MSU Group Exercise Assistant Director Bianca Guess said Zumba is simply fun and lowkey.

Some benefits of group exercise classes are relieving stress and bringing people together, Guess said.

Schwass said she and Antal encourage participants to do what is best for them and their level of comfort.

Based on original reporting by Alex Walters, Julius Patto and Maddy Warren.