Last updated Jun 19, 2020 21:06 EST.

This blog post assembles a listing of materials I have found useful in understanding the #FireStephenHsu controversy surrounding Michigan State University’s Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, Stephen Hsu. I intend to update it periodically as the situation develops.

🔗 Graduate Employee Union Thread

The Graduate Employee Union’s statement on twitter appears to have ignited the current outcry over Hsu’s leadership position at Michigan State University. It unpacks concerns from blog posts and video interviews involving Hsu related to

  • racism,
  • eugenics,
  • sexism, and
  • conflicts of interest.

:arrow_up: Unrolled view via Thread reader app here.

🔗 Blog Pieces

🔗 Press Coverage

🔗 Tweets

:arrow_up: Unrolled view via Thread reader app here.

:arrow_up: Unrolled view via Thread reader app here.

:arrow_up: Unrolled view via Thread reader app here.

🔗 Context

🔗 Petitions

Two active petitions call for Hsu’s removal from his position as Vice President for Research and Innovation at Michigan State University, one organized via the Graduate Employee Union and the other organized via Michigan State University faculty.

🔗 Statements

🔗 College of Engineering

Subject: Message from The Dean and Chairpersons in the College of Engineering

Date: Monday, June 15, 2020

Dear Spartan Engineers,

Over the past few days, a petition regarding Sr. Vice President Steven Hsu has garnered considerable interest in the College of Engineering and across campus.

Without judging the merits of the claims in the petitions, the Dean of Engineering and Chairpersons in the College of Engineering make the following assertion:

The College of Engineering core values are in concert with the Land Grant mission, and in solidarity with those seeking social justice, embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion in support of equal opportunities in education and research for all, with the highest ethical standards, as we seek to bring benefit to humanity. We value freedom of expression, including its exercise in pursuit of research, even when controversial. We also recognize the responsibility of scholars to exercise good judgement in communicating their ideas to others with compassion, and the importance of understanding social context and societal implications of their work.

Best wishes,

Leo Kempel, Dean of Engineering

Darrell Donahue, Chairperson, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Brad Marks, Chairperson-designee, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

Chris Contag, Chairperson, Biomedical Engineering

Don Morelli, Chairperson, Chemical Engineering and Material Science

Neeraj Buch, Chairperson, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Abdol Esfahanian, Chairperson, Computer Science and Engineering

Andrew Christlieb, Chairperson, Computational Science, Mathematics and Engineering

John Papapolymerous, Chairperson, Electrical and Computer Engineering

James Klausner, Chairperson, Mechanical Engineering

🔗 Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Graduate Student Group

Subject: EGG Stance on the Removal of Stephen Hsu

Date: Thursday, June 18, 2020

Dear EEBB Community,

As members of the EGG leadership board, we are expressing our support for the GEU, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, staff, and faculty calling for the removal of Stephen Hsu as MSU’s VP of Research and Innovation. We believe that Hsu’s long-standing unscientific views on race, gender, and eugenics make him incompatible with MSU’s commitments to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Hsu’s position gives him immense power to direct decisions on tenure, promotions, and funding across MSU. His role as a gate-keeper is especially troubling given its effects on the members of the MSU community most disparaged by his prejudiced views, and the risk that these members incur when asking for his removal.

As John Stuart Mill said, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” Our stance is that, despite potential backlash affecting EEBB funding, Hsu’s removal is vital to making EEBB, and the university as a whole, a diverse and inclusive community. We support efforts by EEBB community members, especially faculty, to call for Hsu’s removal, despite potential risks to EEBB funding. If you would like to join us, please consider signing two petitions calling for Hsu’s removal: one from the GEU, and another organized by faculty.

We look forward to working with you all to take actions that make MSU a safe environment for everyone to learn and conduct research.

Best regards,

EGG Board

Meaghan Clark, EGG Secretary

Kevin Bird, EGG Executive Committee member

Miranda Wade, EGG President

Julie Jarvey, EGG Recruiting Liaison

Isabela Borges, EGG Seminar Committee member

Bruce Martin, EGG Recruiting Liaison

Olivia Fitch, EGG Social Media Chair

Allison Young, EGG Outreach Co-Chair

Emily Conway, EGG Academic Program and Executive Committee member

Maggie Sawdy, EGG Treasurer

🔗 Associated Students of Michigan State University

Bill 57-08: Advocate for the removal of Senior VP of Research and Innovation Stephen Hsu and to conduct further investigations into his decisions

Date: June 18, 2020

This bill was introduced by the Asian Pacific American Student Organization Representative and seconded by the Black Students’ Alliance Representative, advocating for MSU to conduct an investigation on possible biases by Hsu that might have affected research related decisions.

The bill passed by a voice majority.

🔗 President Stanley

President Stanley’s statement on resignation of Senior Vice President Stephen Hsu

Date: June 19, 2020

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., announced today that Stephen Hsu, senior vice president, research and innovation, is resigning from his leadership position and returning to a tenured faculty position, effective July 1.

“I believe this is what is best for our university to continue our progress forward. The exchange of ideas is essential to higher education, and I fully support our faculty and their academic freedom to address the most difficult and controversial issues. But when senior administrators at MSU choose to speak out on any issue, they are viewed as speaking for the university as a whole. Their statements should not leave any room for doubt about their, or our, commitment to the success of faculty, staff and students.”

Stanley plans to appoint an interim senior vice president in the coming days and will consult with the Academic Governance Steering Committee on this selection in accordance with university policies.

🔗 Let’s Chat

What materials have you found useful in understanding the current controversy surrounding Hsu’s leadership role at Michigan State or its context with respect to the history of scientific racism, eugenics, pseudoscience, etc.?

The twitter thread below is a good option to reach out.