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
- sexism, and
- conflicts of interest.
Today for #ShutDownAcademia #ShutDownSTEM, the GEU and its coalition partners in the STEM community are calling for the removal of Stephen Hsu as VP of Research and Graduate Studies at @michiganstateu.— Michigan State GEU (@GradEmpUnion) June 10, 2020
🔗 Blog Pieces
With Friends Like These: Comments on the Uproar over Stephen Hsu
- by Kevin Bird
- dated June 16th, 2020
- Stephen Hsu and Ronald Unz and Holocaust Denial
- Stephen Hsu and the Ethical Responsibility of Scientists
- Stephen Hsu and academic freedom
- Stephen Hsu and the Upside-Down World
- Stephen Hsu and Guilt by Association
- Stephen Hsu: An Irresponsible Leader
- by Pete Shanks
- published on The Center for Genetics and Society Biopolitical Times
- dated June 17th, 2020
- Quest for ‘Genius Babies’?
🔗 Press Coverage
- Hundreds of MSU professors, GEU call to remove VP of research Stephen Hsu
- Petition seeks removal of MSU VP of research over controversial comments, research
This 👇🏻 It’s not an academic freedom issue. If Hsu were ‘just’ a faculty member, he would be entitled to his appalling views. But he is in a position of power while promoting beliefs that are directly in conflict with @michiganstateu values. #FireStephenHsu https://t.co/ylotLkPrQu— Laura Schmitt Olabisi (@Lkshumaine) June 13, 2020
It would be a good idea for MSU to remove Stephen Hsu as VP of research. I have seen people criticize this position as eroding academic freedom. I value acad freedom and want to explain why that’s compatible w/ favoring removal (in my layperson’s view) (1) https://t.co/7F9oBCKWhF— Doc Edge (@DocEdge85) June 11, 2020
The professor, Steve Hsu, has now threated to sue grad students and others involved with this petition. It's tough to argue you're creating an environment for critical thinking by meeting grad students in court https://t.co/2KyP9Z9hGH pic.twitter.com/pX3FQFru6t— Matias Kaplan (@matias_kaplan) June 16, 2020
Stephen Hsu: “These horrible people will stop at nothing.”— Katja Thieme 👀 (@Katja_Thieme) June 16, 2020
“These horrible people” are faculty at the uni where he is VP Research.
“These horrible people” are graduate students where he is VP Research.
He doesn’t have their trust.
He is in a leadership positions over them. https://t.co/2UHMSn17db
As VP for the GEU, I can tell you the GEU published this bc individuals & academic units were afraid to do so out of fear of retribution, either from Hsu himself or racists on twitter.— Acacia Ackles (@alackles) June 11, 2020
Now it is out there and needs your support. Faculty, please speak up to #FireStephenHsu. https://t.co/ZpmT9t6a5R
after initial shock seeing a senior MSU VP— Matthew A Moreno (@MorenoMatthewA) June 19, 2020
- appear alongside a noted white supremacist
- dismiss systemic racism as an “unscientific hypothesis”
- insinuate genetic differences in intelligence between racial groups
... I was left with the question, “So what?”
Stephen Hsu has a blog titled "In the land of autistics, the aspie is king", how does that foster an inclusive environment at Michigan State? https://t.co/EnSCuvrYwL— Elizeth Cinto Mejia (@Elizethcm) June 16, 2020
“This was 10 years ago!”— Acacia Ackles (@alackles) June 17, 2020
Point me to somewhere he’s condemned these ideas Point me to statements he’s made in opposition to what he states here. Point me to somewhere he’s done anything but change the header of this blog post to “Senior VP of Research and Innovation, MSU”. https://t.co/OzoVLlfKpR
.@GradEmpUnion is calling for removal of Stephen Hsu as VP of Research & Graduate Studies at @michiganstateu. We've been tracking Hsu's eugenicist actions and ideas steeped in scientific racism for years. Some are included in this thread. #FireStephenHsu.— Genetics and Society (@C_G_S) June 16, 2020
Critiques of our campaign frame the issue to @michiganstateu as one of academic freedom. This is wrong! Hsu is free to do his research & writing as a tenured faculty in the Physics department. The problem at hand is Hsu's beliefs make him unable to uphold University values as VP— Michigan State GEU (@GradEmpUnion) June 15, 2020
- Sabisky row: Dominic Cummings criticised over ‘designer babies’ post
- The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism
- ASHG Denounces Attempts to Link Genetics and Racial Supremacy
- Michigan State University Statement on Diversity and Inclusion
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.
The faculty sent a copy of our own open letter to President Stanley, which you can see here: https://t.co/dK2RLpKO06— Laura Schmitt Olabisi (@Lkshumaine) June 11, 2020
If you would like to sign it and didn't get an invitation yet, please DM me.#FireStephenHsu https://t.co/sp3Z5S7RA6
We've already passed 500 signatures! Thank you everyone for standing together to make MSU a community that lives up to its professed values and mission. Don't let up the pressure, we've got to make them listen and respond to our collective voice. https://t.co/38Am5iFf8K— Michigan State GEU (@GradEmpUnion) June 16, 2020
🔗 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.
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.
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
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.
assembled a collection of materials I've found useful in understanding the #FireStephenHsu movement that's arisen around MSU's Senior VP for Research & Innovation— Matthew A Moreno (@MorenoMatthewA) June 17, 2020
hope this might be useful to others as well
will push updates as the situation developshttps://t.co/jFFusI2bIV