Michigan State University is the land-grant university for the State of Michigan, designated in 1863 by the Michigan Legislature to be the beneficiary of the endowment provided by the Morrill Act and supplemented by subsequent acts of the Congress of the United States.

As a land-grant university, it shares with its fellow land-grant universities the legal responsibility to provide a liberal and practical education for the agricultural and industrial classes and all others, to prepare them for the various pursuits and professions of life.

This historic responsibility the Board of Trustees (“board”) accepts, and to this obligation the trustees pledge themselves, separately and collectively, the material and human resources over which they have been given direction.

The board interprets this mission as being one requiring the University to offer undergraduate, graduate, professional, and continuing education of the highest possible quality in all appropriate fields; to cherish the knowledge that is our legacy; to preserve the best of our cultural, social, and political heritage; to encourage meaningful research and experimentation, both to develop new knowledge and to offer society to a full and objective study so that it may be made more nearly perfect; to be ever responsive to the increasing needs of a dynamic and complex society, by developing and carrying on programs of public service; and to diffuse the knowledge and information that will contribute to the well-being and development of the people of our state, our nation, and the world.

The present Constitution of the State of Michigan, like every other one before it, declares it to be public policy to encourage forever schools and the means of education. The Legislature, having the power of appropriation, shares the primary responsibility for implementing this policy.

The Constitution confers upon the board the freedom, power, and responsibility to develop a free and distinguished university and to promote the welfare of humankind through teaching, research, and outreach.

The board, elected by the voters of the State, exercises the final authority in the government of the University, within the limits fixed by the State Constitution. In exercising its responsibility, the board delegates to the president and through the president to the faculty, appropriate authority and jurisdiction over matters for which they are held accountable by the board. These matters include educational policy and the development of a strong and efficient organization with which to accomplish the objectives of the University.

In making these delegations the board declares its unequivocal support of the established rights and privileges of the academic profession and its intent to defend them steadfastly. These rights and privileges include academic freedom and tenure, compensation and other economic benefits as liberal as the resources of the University will allow, a viable faculty organization, and responsible faculty participation in the development of academic programs and policies.

With respect to non-academic employees, the board declares that because they carry a correlative responsibility and because their roles are indispensable to the effective operation of the University, they are entitled to compensation and conditions of employment commensurate with their responsibilities.

With respect to students, the board declares it to be its intention to provide the opportunity for each to realize the highest potential, to formulate reasonable rules governing student conduct, and to give due consideration to the opinions of students on matters related directly to their interest.

With respect to alumni, the board asks for their loyal support of the University and invites their advice and counsel, and knows that one way the University is measured is through their positive actions in their communities.

With respect to the people of Michigan, the board willingly acknowledges that this University is in the final analysis their University. As a public institution, Michigan State University is obligated to serve the best interest of the people who support it. The board invites the people of Michigan to support the time-tested principle that in the University's unceasing quest for truth and enlightenment, it must encourage the timely discussion in open forum of a wide variety of issues, some of which are bound to be controversial. This principle assumes that the views expressed in such discussion are subject to critical evaluation, and that any restraints on the freedom of expression at the University must be limited to measures to protect such free inquiry and to ensure that they are consistent with the preservation of an organized society in which peaceful, democratic means for changes in the social structure are readily available.

Finally, the board holds as its special trust the historical mission of a university to create an intellectual climate that will challenge and encourage the vigorous development and courageous expression of the human mind and spirit. Specifically, the board recognizes that it has a primary responsibility to assure the University of the financial and other resources necessary to the successful performance of its mission. They believe that the best method of assuring that support is to interpret the University faithfully and continually to their fellow citizens, to the Legislature and elected state officials, and to the federal government, and thus persuade them of the essential importance of the University's mission. To those tasks of interpretation and persuasion they are committed by their election to office, and to those tasks they pledge themselves without reservation.

To make effective the principle here declared, to achieve the stated objectives of Michigan State University, and to ensure that the conduct of its own affairs will be in accord with the highest standards of educational administration, the board adopts these bylaws: