MSU revises Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy
Michigan State is revising how it conducts investigations of campus sexual misconduct due to recent changes in the interpretation of Title IX law.
The Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance is required to follow the new mandates of the Sixth Circuit Court.
A September 2018 review of the University of Michigan’s Title IX investigation process led the court to require all universities in its jurisdiction to modify their investigation policies to allow for cross-examination.
Changes have been made to the university's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct, or RVSM, policy and were put into effect Feb. 8.
The revised RVSM policy changes include:
- An opportunity for cross-examination of parties and witnesses at a video conference hearing in instances where credibility is an issue, to avoid the parties being in close proximity to each other; and
- Requiring both the accuser and accused to use an adviser of their choice to conduct the cross-examination. If parties do not have their own advisers, MSU will have advisers available to them.
The U.S. Department of Education proposed rules and regulations similar to the Sixth Circuit Court's that would require cross-examination in Title IX investigations to occur nationwide.
MSU submitted a letter on Jan. 30 to the Department of Education, strongly disagreeing with the proposed regulations. In it, Acting President Satish Udpa said cross-examination would lead to a "chilling effect" on accusers coming forward.
"MSU believes adversarial cross examination will cause undue distress to participating parties — claimants and respondents alike," Udpa said. "Universities have taken great strides to address gender-based harassment and discrimination. In many respects, the proposed rules are a step in the wrong direction."