Michigan State University has suspended an employee it said was responsible for allowing a quiz question about Hitler and an image of the dictator to be broadcast on the video screen before the school’s football game against Michigan on Saturday. The School’s Associate Athletic Director, Matt Larson issued an apology saying the quiz was pulled from YouTube, and was “inappropriate,” and MSU’s Board of Trustees is investigating the incident.
According to NPR, the video was displayed on the screen for about 18 seconds. The quiz was pulled from the YouTube page The Quiz Channel and asked viewers “In which country was Adolf Hitler born?” But casual viewers were left scratching their heads when a giant portrait of Hitler hung over the crowd for an interminable amount of time, prompting MSU Vice President and Athletic Director Alan Haller to denounce antisemitism in a statement saying MSU will be taking all necessary steps to ensure a video like the one displayed won’t happen again. He added that the school failed in its responsibility to support the Jewish community and will be speaking with student bodies on campus who were impacted.
“Antisemitism must be denounced. The image displayed prior to Saturday night’s game is not representative of who we are and the culture we embody,” Haller said, adding, “Nevertheless, we must own our failures and accept responsibility.”
The MSU Board of Trustees said it has spoken with both Haller and Interim University President Teresa Woodruff to express its “extreme disappointment” that the athletics department allowed the video to be displayed.
“The Michigan State University (MSU) Board of Trustees is outraged at last night’s incident at Spartan Stadium. The projected image was unacceptable, and as the oversight body for MSU we want to publicly apologize to everyone who was in Spartan Stadium or learned of this through other means,” the board said in a statement.
The unnamed employee who allowed the quiz question to be displayed on the board is being suspended with pay pending the investigation, and Haller claimed the video wasn’t viewed in full by the athletic department, and called it a “failure in our process.” The video was taken without approval from a video posted by The Quiz Channel on YouTube, according to the video creator who said he was unaware that MSU was posting the content.
“To be clear, I was unaware Michigan State University is using my content for stadium entertainment and this was unsolicited and unauthorized use,” the channel’s owner, Floris van Pallandt, wrote on the page. “Shame they use an appropriate quiz question in an inappropriate setting.”
Larson said that MSU won’t be using the third-party source moving forward and claimed there will be a more stringent review and approval process for all future video board content.