Reclaim MSU is an advocacy group of students, faculty, staff and members of the community founded to address issues surrounding the Larry Nassar scandal. I talked with three members of Reclaim MSU to learn about their experience with group and the future of the organization.
Katie Paulot is a James Madison College freshman majoring in comparative cultures and politics with dual major in anthropology in the College of Social Science. She is the secretary and social media coordinator for Reclaim MSU.
Samuel Klahn is a junior at James Madison College majoring in comparative culture and politics and another major in the College of Arts and Letters. He is a coordinator for Reclaim MSU.
Natalie Rogers is a sophomore majoring in comparative culture and politics .
How did you got involved with Reclaim MSU?
Paulot: After the stuff with Nassar came out, I was really angry. I wanted some way to make my campus a better place, to speak my mind and to feel productive in trying to change our campus for the better. I am friends with Natalie (Rogers) and got connected through her.
Klahn: I was involved very early on in the process. It was Natalie (Rogers) and I just reaching out to the people we knew on campus, and asking them to reach out to people they knew on campus, just to get together and talk about the things that are going on.
Rogers: We started just sort of like a meeting place for students, faculty and staff around the first week of February, and then from there we became Reclaim MSU. There are so many other groups that are advocating for different things on campus; we want to be the group that all groups can identify with, focus just on the issue of governments and institutions so we can support all the changes and also offering positive solutions like policy changes.
How do you see Reclaim’s role as a student organization?
Paulot: I see the organization as a way to bridge the gap between student, faculty and staff voices and the institution (MSU administration). I think this gap needs to be filled, representation needs to be present in order to enact change a large majority on campus wants to see. And so we are here to help get our voices heard. I see myself as helping in coordination, as well as reaching out to students and connecting them to avenues in which their voice can be heard on campus.
Klahn: Reclaim MSU is very broad and it is inclusive as possible of faculty, students and staff and other people in the community. All we are looking for is to get the community’s voice onto the table; we want the community to be able to defend itself. The current system allows for the community to be ignored, and we don’t think that’s acceptable.
What has Reclaim MSU done in the past, and what’s its plan for the future?
Klahn: In the past we’ve got a policy agenda off the ground with a lot of competent policy writers and researchers and we submitted that to various groups, and then we had a couple of protests and rallies at the administration building and we’ve spoken to the Board of Trustees. Moving forward I think we want to keep some of those things going in terms of advocating for shared governance and student involvement in every level of decision making.
Rogers: The biggest thing that we’ve done is release our policy proposal. It’s a proposal for the state constitution in Michigan, and it’s also a proposal for changes to the bylaws. To support that we have a petition campaign going, and right now we have about 600 signatures on that. We’re hoping to get more. Our focus is trying to keep the momentum going and keep reminding the board that people are still angry and that people are want to see change.
How can other students get involved with Reclaim?
Paulot: We hold general meetings every Tuesday night and details can be found on our Facebook page @ReclaimMSU as well as our other media outlets and can keep up with us on our website reclaimmsu.com We would love to see more students get involved!