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Moving Forward Together

February 17, 2023

Dear MSU Students,
Each of us is working to recover in our own unique ways. This is a time for us to come together as a community focused on learning. To heal together. To learn together. 
This is a different semester than anyone had hoped for. And so it’s okay to reset your expectations about what's important. Give time and space for healing. The information below is to help you transition back to campus and to access the many different forms of support to help you heal from the violence our community experienced Monday night.  

Spartan Sunday Event 

Spartan Sunday takes place along the river trail by the MSU Library, Spartan Stadium and Spartan Statue, 1 to 4 p.m., Feb. 19.  Community members have rallied to create an environment for returning Spartans to feel cared for and supported. The event was conceived by Communication Arts and Sciences graduate student Emily Damman, who has also organized a Facebook event page. Volunteers will be handing out donated goods, non-perishable items, cards and notes of support, and more. Most importantly, it will be a time for us to come together to support one another.

Returning to Instruction 

We will all grieve and heal differently, and we should all be respectful of and sensitive to that reality. This coming week is not a return to normal, nor will this semester be. Please adjust expectations for yourself. Extend yourself and those around you grace, empathy, and flexibility. Instructors have been given the flexibility to adjust syllabus expectations and have been told that they need not rush to “catch up” for loss time. 

Credit/No Credit Grade Reporting Option

MSU will be offering a Credit/No Credit grade reporting option for all 100- to 400-level undergraduate courses for spring semester 2023. You will have the entire semester to make this selection. Additional details will be available soon to help you make an informed decision regarding Credit/No Credit. 
If you need assistance with classes (including a grief absence or medical withdrawal), please reach out to your academic adviser. There are many individual student accommodations that can be made to help you transition through this period and heal.

Police Presence on Campus

When you return to classes, we understand you may have concerns about safety and security. In addition to MSU Police and Public Safety, the East Lansing Police Department will be providing additional support to the university and have a greater presence on campus. Classroom Emergency Guidelines are available in classrooms across campus. 
SafeMSU App
SafeMSU is available for download through the Apple Store and Google Play. The app provides access to a number of safety resources right from your smartphone. SafeMSU includes:

  • “Virtual Friend Walk,” which allows you to share your location with a friend in real time so they can monitor you journey to your destination. The designated friend can then immediately contact authorities to let them know if they suspect there is a problem
  • One-touch emergency calls
  • Access to Safe Ride from the Associated Students of Michigan State University
  • NightOwl from the Capital Area Transportation Authority
  • Forms to send tips to the police

It is normal to experience a variety of emotions following traumatic events and for emotions to change over time. If you feel as if you are unable to function or perform basic activities of daily living, it is important to get professional help. MSU Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) provides free, remote crisis services 24/7/365, and they have also assembled a series of resources in support of the unique needs arising across our university community at this time.

Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Tragic Event  

As you take care of your health and well-being please keep the following in mind:

  • Talk about it. Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen to your concerns. Free counseling services are available at MSU through Counseling & Psychiatric Services
  • Strive for balance. When tragedy occurs, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and have a negative or pessimistic outlook. Balance that viewpoint by reminding yourself of people and events that are meaningful and comforting, even encouraging.
  • Turn it off and take a break. You may want to keep informed, but try to limit the amount of news you take in. While getting the news informs you, being overexposed to it can increase your stress. The images can be very powerful in reawakening your feeling of distress. 
  • Honor your feelings. Remember that grief is a long process. You may experience intense stress similar to the effects of a physical injury. 
  • Take care of yourself. Fuel your body with food, get plenty of rest, and build physical activity into your day. Avoid alcohol and drugs because they can suppress your feelings rather than help you to manage and lessen your distress. Remember to give yourself time to experience your feelings – and please reach out for support, whenever you may need it. 

Media Presence on Campus

You can expect media representatives on campus as they continue to cover the events related to Feb. 13, including at Spartan Sunday and next week as students return to class. Please know, you do not have to speak with the media if you are not comfortable doing so. To help ease the stress these interactions may cause, “No Media Please” cards will be available at Spartan Sunday and at welcome desks, which can be shown to any members of the media who may approach you. 
Be good to yourselves, and take care,
Thomas D. Jeitschko (he/him) 
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Professor of Economics
Vennie Gore (he/him)
Senior Vice President for Student Life & Engagement