Michigan State University administration is arranging an investigation into who at the university may have played a role in leaking the identity of the woman accusing football coach Mel Tucker of sexual harassment, spokesperson Emily Guerrant said Saturday afternoon.
She declined to provide any details on the scope or nature of the investigation, but did say it was ordered by the university’s administration, not the elected Board of Trustees.
Pressure for an investigation began on Tuesday, Sept. 12 when Brenda Tracy, the rape survivor and advocate who is accusing Tucker of harassing her while she was consulting for his team, said she was forced to publicly come forward after someone gave her name to the media.
That same day, "the process of commencing the investigation began," according to a statement released by the university nearly a week later on Sept. 18. The statement also confirmed that MSU has contracted with an outside firm, Jones Day, to conduct the investigation.
"Confidentiality in Office for Civil Rights cases is paramount," the statement said. "The university investigation will be thorough, and the outside firm will follow the facts wherever they may lead."
On Sept. 13, after hearing about a possible leak, MSU Trustee Dianne Byrum released a statement asking the university to "thoroughly investigate" whether someone at MSU was responsible for the leak
MSU's Office of Institutional Equity, which has investigated the harassment allegations leveled against Tucker and will decide whether he violated university policy at a hearing in October, does not release the identities of accusers. But, somehow, Tracy's name was leaked to local media, Tracy said.
Byrum argued in her statement the outing of Tracy could discourage future victims from reporting misconduct at MSU.
"We need to do everything in our power to ensure victims of sexual assault and abuse can come forward without fear or intimidation and have full confidence their identities and private information will be kept confidential," Byrum said in the statement.
Rema Vassar, the chair of MSU's board, did not return calls nor text messages from The State News throughout the week asking whether she would support an investigation into the leak.
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