Monday, November 28, 2022

ASMSU general assembly recap: How has MSU made progress in the Title IX office since 2019?

November 18, 2022
Members of ASMSU asking the Interim president, Teresa K. Woodruff questions at the ASMSU GA meeting, held at the international center on November 3, 2022.
Members of ASMSU asking the Interim president, Teresa K. Woodruff questions at the ASMSU GA meeting, held at the international center on November 3, 2022. —
Photo by Denille Reid | The State News

At the general assembly meeting for the Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, on Nov. 17, two special presentations focused on healthcare and relationship violence and sexual misconduct, or RVSM, initiatives at MSU. The meeting rounded out Mental Health Awareness Week.

“We were asked back in October to give a summary of everything that’s happened in the RVSM space from 2019 to 2022 to the Faculty Senate and to do so in 15 to 20 minutes,” MSU psychology professor and RVSM adviser Rebecca Campbell said. “That is not possible ... there is literally no way I can do justice to everything that has happened.”

The restructuring of the Title IX office and RVSM response protocol at MSU began in 2019 with the hiring of president emeritus Samuel L. Stanley Jr. and a federal agreement to revise non-discrimination and sexual misconduct reporting policies.

The agreement requires the university to hire a third-party consultant to review the Title IX office biannually. Hired in 2019, the law firm Cozen O’Connor reviews and analyzes every report filed with the Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE. Every six months, MSU must write a reply letter about how they will improve their reports.

“In general, we found the investigative reports to be well written, comprehensive, appropriately neutral, and reflective of a fair, impartial and thorough fact-gathering,” the law firm wrote in the most recent analysis of OIE reports at MSU.

However, the analysis found the timeliness of report processing was sometimes an issue and improving administrative organization may help, Campbell said.

In addition to more robust staff and faculty training, other RVSM initiatives at MSU include increased staffing levels at the MSU Center for Survivors and within the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, or OCR. First in the nation — a free campus-based sexual assault healthcare program launched in 2020 and is located in the Student Services Building.

“We now have the largest number of investigators in any Big Ten institution,” Campbell said. “Still not enough, but it is the largest.”

This year, an initiative to bring 24-hour RVSM advocacy response programs to residence halls was piloted in Snyder-Phillips Hall. The goal is to implement the program in all the residence halls across campus, Campbell said.

“A key barrier to seeking any type of service is ‘Where do I go? What do I say? What do I do?’” Campbell said. “So we bring advocates to residence halls if there has been a recent sexual assault.”

Similarly, Executive Vice President for health sciences Norman Beauchamp discussed making healthcare more accessible to MSU students by reducing barriers like transportation and cost.

“I want to partner with you to keep our campus safe for all and partner with you to keep our campus well,” Beauchamp said to the ASMSU general assembly.

Among the initiatives in discussion were 24/7 access to emergency care, a medical insurance sign-up day on campus, donating unused free Olin Health Center visits to students in need and bringing back walk-in visits to Olin. Visits are currently by appointment only.

“If I can’t do it through my office, at least I can be an advocate,” Beauchamp said.

Open seats in the ASMSU general assembly

After the resignations of several general assembly representatives this semester, there are vacant seats that span nearly every college. 

“We really want to hit those strategic plans going forward  . . . and making sure that we’re getting quality representatives so that every college can feel represented is so important to us,” ASMSU President Jo Kovach said.

Students interested in applying can email rec@asmsu.msu.edu to begin the process. The seat will be marketed for two weeks prior to an interview process. Candidates will be appointed at the following general assembly meeting.

“We have so much power behind our voices because we stand for 40,000 voices ... every single one of us is here to benefit students,” Kovach said.

Increased funding for iClickers and TI-84 calculators

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A bill to allocate $5,000 to purchase additional iClickers and TI-84 calculators available for rent was introduced by Agriculture and Natural Resources Rep. Prestly. This semester, the demand for the resources was too high to meet the needs of all the students seeking the rental service, said ASMSU vice president for finance and operations Vipul Adusumilli.

The bill passed with 24 votes and one abstain. 

iClickers and TI-84 calculators are available for rent at the ASMSU engagement office on the third floor of the Student Services Building.

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