APASO representative lobbies to rename campus lab to support Vietnamese community

Michigan State University Associate Students APASO Representative Connor Le will introduce Bills 59-10 and 59-11 at the September 22 general meeting.

Bill 59-10 is to advocate for the removal of TNG Worldwide CEO and the name of MSU alumnus Larry Gaynor from the Larry and Teresa Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab, and Bill 59-11 is to establish donor accountability policies and stricter background checks for those dedicated to the lobby. names.

Described as a “five-pronged attack”, five MSU organizations will take part in this movement: ASMSU, Vietnamese Students Association, Faculty Senate, University Council and Graduate Council Students.

In June 2017, Gaynor donated $3 million to support construction of the lab for collaboration space and entrepreneurship classes.

However, in May 2020, Gaynor made racist remarks towards the Vietnamese communities during a Company online seminar.

“Obviously, I was quite surprised,” said Udai Singh, co-author of Bill 59-10 and representative of the Broad College of Business. “I mean you have a business leader like Larry Gaynor, someone we consider an esteemed alumnus, who we’re supposed to be proud of, right? … Frankly, I don’t think people who make these kinds of remarks should be commemorated in any way.

ASMSU originally introduced legislation in June 2020, to hold MSU donors accountable, remove Gaynor’s name from the lab, and adopt more Asian Pacific Islander Desi American, or APIDA, programs at Broad Business College.

In response, Gaynor and MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. issued an apology to various organizations that spoke about how MSU was trying to incorporate more diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, efforts. , but they chose not to remove Gaynor’s name from the lab. .

Following Gaynor’s racist comments and acts of anti-Asian violence, MSU Asian Pacific American Student Organization, or APASOAsian, Pacific Islander, Desi American/Asian Faculty and Staff Association, or APIDA/AFSA and the Cultural and Academic Transitions Office, or OCAT, held a community town hall that demanded action from the University to support its APIDA community. Among the demands, he included the removal of Gaynor’s name from the lab.

Now, in 2022, Le has decided to bring the bill back in hopes that MSU will take action.

“As a Vietnamese American myself, having a name like that on campus…having someone dedicated, celebrated, even if they don’t like me, they don’t like where I’m from , where my family is from, it hurts,” Le said.

It hasn’t been a unique experience for MSU. In 2020, the board renamed the Nisbet Human Resources Building after the discovery of former board member Stephen Nisbet’s affiliation with the Klu Klux Klan in the 1920s.

“Stanley has been shown to have the power to do this,” Le said. “It has been shown that the board has the power to do that. So if they did it to Nisbet, why can’t they do it to Gaynor? »

Singh said no university is perfect, but that doesn’t mean real change at MSU isn’t needed.

“We need to have some level of awareness of what we as students and what we as a school are trying to dictate,” Singh said. “We have to do our part and that’s the great part of ASMSU and being a representative of Broad and working with people like Connor. We care enough to do something and try to be the best establishment we can be. … We must also do our best to protect marginalized communities, this is also essential in the bill.

Le asks Stanley and the board of directors to put themselves in the shoes of the Vietnamese community.

“Imagine there’s a room on campus, there’s a building on campus named after someone who basically knows they hate your community,” Le said. “We know they’re racist, but we still celebrate them for what they’ve done to MSU, even though they just donated money. …Why are we celebrating a man who thinks that my people shouldn’t speak their native language, shouldn’t be involved in the business they love, wouldn’t have done anything good for the living room – why should we celebrate this man?

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James C. Tibbs