Michigan State University announced that many of the recommendations provided in the final report from Husch Blackwell outlining opportunities to enhance sexual misconduct prevention and education are now in development.
The final phase two report, from the Kansas City law firm hired by MSU to evaluate its Title IX program, reaffirmed the themes and recommendations provided in the preliminary report and included additional feedback and suggestions from MSU students, faculty and staff members.
“I want to thank our community for participating in this process and Husch Blackwell for providing an in-depth review and evaluation of our programs and how we can improve them,” said John Engler, interim president. “Since the preliminary report was released in March, we’ve already started addressing many of the suggestions including adding new staff resources, creating the foundation for new education and outreach programs, and evaluating ways to review the campus climate. This final report will help inform how we proceed with formulating a variety of strategies to address the findings.”
Improvements MSU has underway include:
- Enhancing education and outreach programs for employees, Greek-affiliated students, student athletes and graduate students.
- Updating the academic orientation program for incoming students to include information and resource materials related to sexual misconduct and fostering a culture of safety and respect.
- Developing and implementing education programs for students who live on campus and resident assistants.
- Exploring new communications options for outreach to students and employees.
- Planning for a comprehensive Title IX campus climate survey for students, staff and faculty that will launch during the 2018-2019 academic year.
- Reviewing online and in-person prevention education programs to improve effectiveness while continuing to meet compliance obligations.
- Adding staff positions to the Sexual Assault Program, OIE and Student Affairs, to provide direct support to survivors and individuals engaged in the Title IX process.
Additionally, new communication and coordination protocols between OIE, human resources and unit leaders have been implemented. The university also is providing training to campus leaders on responding to and preventing harassment and discrimination.
“Strengthening our protocols, adding resources and enhancing our educational outreach programs are first steps toward addressing the concerns we heard throughout this review process,” said Jessica Norris, associate vice president of MSU’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance. “We are committed to providing a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff, and we appreciate the time community members spent sharing their feedback over the past few months. Community input will continue to be important as we create additional solutions in response to the report that will move our campus forward.”
The final report is available on the Title IX website. This concludes a two-phase review that began in fall 2017. The first phase focused on MSU’s Title IX policies and procedures, while the second phase evaluated the effectiveness of Title IX-related education and prevention programs, outreach and awareness efforts, and crisis and advocacy services.
MSU’s Our Commitment website focuses on the university’s values and the actions being taken to foster a safe environment. The page also includes areas to submit comments and suggestions for changes and improvements in relationship violence and sexual misconduct, health care and patient safety and youth protection.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. MSU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy, administered by the Office of Institutional Equity, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual harassment, including gender-based harassment, sexual assault/misconduct, relationship violence and stalking. For more information on MSU’s Title IX program, including the preliminary report as well as reporting and resources information, visit MSU’s Title IX website.