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11 MSU employees found in violation of OIE policy are still affiliated, LSJ reports

January 28, 2021
<p>Beaumont Tower photographed on May 15, 2019.</p>

Beaumont Tower photographed on May 15, 2019.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Content warning: This story contains descriptions of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.

Out of 49 Michigan State faculty and staff in violation of university sexual misconduct policy since 2015, at least 11 are still affiliated with the university in some way, according to an 18-month Lansing State Journal investigation.

At least 14 people had multiple people accuse them of sexual harassment or sexual assault, five of which remain employed: marketing Professor Tomas Hult, criminal justice Professor David Foran, anatomic pathology Professor Matti Kiupel, communications Professor William Donohue and physiology Professor Robert Wiseman

Despite being found responsible for sexual harassment of a coworker and being accused of sexual misconduct two other times, Hult was a member of the presidential search committee that brought in current MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. 

The former Osteopathic Medicine Dean William Strampel as well as political science professor William Jacoby, were allowed to retire prior to the completion of the investigation or any punishment. According to the report, this allowed them to keep some retirement benefits, such as health and life insurance. 

Strampel was arrested and jailed in 2019 for his willful neglect of the ongoing abuse committed by former MSU doctor Larry Nassar, as well as 11 months of misconduct in office. 

Two retired professors lost their emeritus title, two are under review and while four others were allowed to keep them, according to the report. 

“Much work has been done to change the culture of Michigan State University," Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen said. "To foster culture change, we continue to make broad-based systemic improvements to our handling of any behavioral issues of our faculty and staff. We have strengthened compliance through our changes to the Discipline and Dismissal of Tenured Faculty for Cause Policy, Consensual Amorous or Sexual Relationships with Students Policy, Travel Policy and Emeritus Policy. Communication and collaboration have increased with Human Resources and the accountable administrators at all levels to address any and all behavioral issues. We review and investigate all reports of misconduct. Notice and transparency has strengthened the university’s ability to address behaviors, apply interim measures, and improve the quality of the working environment for the students, faculty, and staff. Culture change does not happen with one individual, it takes the whole system to work collectively to achieve the same goal of preventing inappropriate behavior and creating a culture where the behavior is not tolerated. There’s no mistake we have more work to do and the university is committed to that work.”

Olsen also confirmed that the contents of the report are accurate.

University administrators sent a preemptive response to MSU faculty, staff and students Friday, Jan. 15, outlining policy and procedure changes surrounding relationship violence and sexual misconduct three years after 204 women provided nine days of impact statements in Ingham and Eaton Counties in the wake of Nassar's abuse.

"Their powerful testimonies continue to remind us that MSU failed survivors and our community," the email said. "Their stories and voices challenge us to create culture change at MSU, and we know we have more work still to do." 

Lansing State Journal made 25 public records requests to Michigan State University over the course of the investigation, spending nearly $2,000 for public documents. 

Stanley, along with Provost Teresa Woodruff, Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Information Officer Melissa Woo and Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Norman Beauchamp, signed the message. 

"We are sharing this with you not to excuse past decisions; rather, we want you to know the actions we have taken the past few years and continue to take will improve our consistency and accountability," the email said. "Changes have been made, and more work will be completed soon to address inequities in the disciplinary outcomes and further strengthen our disciplinary actions."

Wendy Guzman contributed to the reporting in this article.

Editor's note: This article was updated to properly aggregate reporting by The Lansing State Journal.

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