Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Investigation finds MSU mishandled sexual assault cases

September 1, 2015
<p>Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 29, 2015. Courtney Kendler/The State News</p>

Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 29, 2015. Courtney Kendler/The State News

Photo by Courtney Kendler | The State News

The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has found MSU did not resolve two separate sexual assault cases quickly enough in accordance to OCR mandates. The office pointed out violations in a statement released Tuesday.

Three investigations into MSU's handling of sexual assault cases were found to be pending against MSU in February of 2014.

In a letter to MSU's Deputy General Counsel Kristine Zayko, the office indicated MSU also did not notify students of the name or title of the Title IX Coordinator.

"OCR determined that the university failed to adequately notify students and employees of the name or title of the Title IX Coordinator, and the university’s notice of nondiscrimination failed to indicate that inquiries could be referred to the university’s Title IX Coordinator or OCR’s Page 3 – Ms. Kristine Zayko Assistant Secretary as the Title IX implementing regulation requires. Further, OCR determined that the university’s Title IX grievance procedures, in place during the time period covered by OCR’s investigation, failed to comply with the requirements of Title IX," an excerpt of the letter read. 

The OCR also found the slow response time might have contributed to a hostile environment for students.

“We have long understood that Michigan State is not isolated from sexual assault and harassment, domestic abuse, bullying, racism, and other social problems,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a statement. “But we must continue to persistently and consistently improve the environment on our campus with regard to how we address sexual misconduct and relationship violence. And we owe that to every member of our community, from students to employees to families and, most importantly, to survivors.”

Also in the statement, MSU agreed with the findings and outlined the many steps it has and will take to improve timeliness.

MSU will host a conference call for members of the press Tuesday at 4 p.m. Check back at statenews.com for coverage.

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