University officials now say anti-Semitic card creator was previously a CMU student
Central Michigan University President George Ross said Tuesday that the creator of an anti-Semitic Valentine's Day card is a former student.
This is the third statement Ross has issued relating to the Feb. 8 incident. In his initial statement, Ross said the woman was not a student and referred to her as a "non-student" throughout the release. The university has since clarified its position.
In his latest statement, Ross wrote that assumptions that the student was suspended or expelled from CMU are false. The woman was not a CMU student this academic year, but was a student last year.
Ross condemned the message of the anti-Semitic card handed out by a member of the College Republicans at CMU after a meeting on Feb. 8 in Anspach Hall. He said the university issued its first statement "less than 90 minutes after staff leaders from multiple units met, reviewed social media posts and determined (the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity or OCRIE) would launch an immediate inquiry."
Those involved in the university inquiry include Ross, the provosts' office, the university's General Counsel, OCRIE, Office of Institutional Diversity, Student Affairs, Student Activities and Involvement, the CMU Police Department and University Communications.
According to Ross' account of the investigation, OCRIE officials spoke to students in College Republicans and others involved, including the woman who created the card. They concluded that portion of the investigation by 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, Ross said.
Student Activities and Involvement office also spoke to a number of students to gather more information.
"Once the facts of the situation were obtained from the individuals involved, I issued a second statement Friday afternoon," Ross wrote. "It was significantly stronger, reinforcing CMU’s values while also carefully modeling them."
Ross did not name the former student who created the card. He said the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act "precludes CMU from naming the individual."
In regards to the women's involvement in RSOs and other extracurricular activities, Ross said the former student was allowed to be a member because of specific RSO rules.
Program Board, Student Government Association and Residence Hall Assembly are the only three registered student organizations which are CMU entities who receive university administrative advisors and financial oversight. The nearly 400 other RSOs are independent.
"Many are not isolated to campus, but rather partner with area residents and communities, in keeping with CMU’s vision, mission, strategic plan and core values," Ross said of independent RSOs. "These groups have the freedom, for example, to determine their own activities, membership and attendance guidelines. Groups can be RSOs if they have three CMU student members, no matter how many other members they have."
Despite the confusion caused by the first two statements, Ross praised those involved in the process of looking into the incident in further details
"I am proud of the staff members who went to extraordinary lengths Thursday, Thursday evening and Friday to research the facts and handle this situation in a professional and timely fashion," Ross said. "I assure you that all of us working to address this situation were deeply disturbed by it and are completely committed to upholding CMU’s values.
"I understand and share concerns about this and other events happening around our country, and I will do my utmost to help our campus community rise above it all."