Hate Has No Home at MSU

We, the Graduate Employees Union at Michigan State University, condemn the bigoted, hateful, and harmful statements issued by MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons on January 31, 2017. In these statements, Lyons claims that a blanket ban of individuals from select Middle Eastern countries and of all refugees is needed to protect Spartans from terror attacks. We remind Lyons that MSU has never been a victim of terror. Our community of Iranian, Somali, Libyan, Iraqi, Syrian, Sudanese, Yemeni and refugee students, scholars, faculty, staff, family and friends have made the greater Lansing community a stronger and more dynamic place. We welcome this diversity to our campus. We also question why Lyons, who has been silent on the real threats of sexual assault, discrimination, and mental health on campus, would choose to instead express his strong support for a discriminatory ban on immigration.

We, the Graduate Employees Union at Michigan State University, also recognize that MSU is built on stolen Anishinaabe land. We find Lyons’ approach to defending this land that was already once so violently taken both abhorrent and hypocritical. We at the Graduate Employees Union support human rights without room for modification or exception. We recognize that immigrants and refugees make this university thrive, and we acknowledge that MSU would not succeed as a top tier research institute without the contributions of guest scholars from around the world. This, however, is not why we stand with those non-citizens and refugees who research, study, and teach across our campus. We stand with these workers and scholars because they are human, and because we stand with all human beings in defense of their rights.
We stand with President Simon’s statement in support of our entire Spartan family. We stand with the hundreds who rallied last night in firm defense of those members of our campus community who are under attack from Lyons and others who share his rhetoric. We call on Mitch Lyons to deliver an immediate public apology for the damage his hateful comments have already done to members of our diverse MSU community. We call on all Spartans to stand with us. We call on our campus and community to stand up and take meaningful action to support their fellow humans in these dark times.

We also remind all Spartans that Mitch Lyons is up for reelection in 2018.

Union trumps hate.


The Graduate Employees Union is disgusted by the bigoted, destructive and nonsensical Executive Order barring refugees and citizens of select Muslim countries from entering the US. Our members include refugees, Iranians, Syrians, Somalis, Sudanese, Libyans, Iraqis and children of immigrants from 100 countries. We know we are stronger together, and reject hatred based on race, religion, or national origin.

If you are worried about how this order may affect you, please contact us at geu@geuatmsu.org. We will help provide you with support and information.

What Now?

  1. Talk with students and colleagues. Make sure they know we have their backs, that we will support them, that we will listen to them, and that we will not betray them.
  2. Join Academics United as we support and celebrate our diverse international campuses and communities on Thursday, February 9 from 12:00PM – 1:00PM at the Rock. This rally is part of a nationwide series of campus demonstrations that will be held simultaneously in a dramatic illustration of our widespread support for immigrants, international visitors, and refugees on our campuses and in our communities. Click here for more details.
  3. Join the GEU in addressing the MSU Board of Trustees to talk about was to make our campus safer in light of changing federal policies. We will meet at the GEU office at 6:00PM on Wednesday, February 15 to coordinate strategies for addressing the Board of Trustees at the regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, February 17. If you would like to address the Board, or if you would like to provide a message to be read by another GEU member please email GEU at geu@geuatmsu.org.
  4. Join or donate to the American Civil Liberties Union to help them bring legal challenges against discriminatory activities resulting from the Executive Order and follow them on Twitter to stay up to date on their progress.
  5. Call your Member of Congress and tell them to stop this ban based on National Origin & Religious Beliefs.
  6. Sign on to the Academics Against Immigration Executive Order letter and share it with colleagues.
  7. Check in frequently with your favorite news sources to keep informed about this developing story. The MSU College of Law Immigration Clinic will be posting updated information on executive orders as they are verified here.