MSUToday
Published: June 14, 2018

MSU expands sexual misconduct workgroup

Contact(s): Jessi Adler Communications and Brand Strategy office: (517) 355-6469 jessi.adler@cabs.msu.edu

Michigan State University’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup has added two new members as it continues to receive feedback and enact suggested changes related to the university’s response to relationship violence and sexual misconduct.

The two new members are:

Mary Ann Ferguson, the MSU College of Law’s Title IX director and founder and director of the college’s Diversity and Equity Services Office.

Tom Fritz, doctoral student in the College of Education focused on student sexual assault advocates and their development as a result of working with peer survivors. He also is a trained bystander intervention facilitator and survivor advocate for the state of Michigan.

“I am pleased to appoint Mary Ann and Tom to the RVSM advisory workgroup to provide even more depth and expertise in the areas of Title IX, diversity and inclusion,” said MSU Interim President John Engler.

Ferguson and Fritz will join the other workgroup members as they seek suggestions from campus organizations, committees and individuals to ensure the voices of students, faculty, staff and alumni are heard.

“Both Mary Ann and Tom have extensive experience in RVSM issues and are well-qualified to serve on the workgroup,” said Rebecca Campbell, workgroup chair and psychology professor. “Their appointments will bring diverse perspectives to the workgroup and help us further our efforts to provide a safe and inclusive campus environment.”

The workgroup is composed of leaders throughout the MSU community with expertise in handling issues of sexual misconduct and who are committed to prompt action. It continues to solicit feedback from the community and has already provided suggestions to improve university programs and policies.

Since February, the workgroup has received more than 180 suggestions through an online contact form. This feedback, along with additional suggestions, has resulted in the following actions and initiatives:

  • The creation of the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, which oversees the Office of Institutional Equity, as well as the Prevention, Outreach and Education Office.
  • The expansion of the POE office to five specialty areas of prevention programming that will take effect in the fall:
    • Staff and Faculty
    • Graduate Students
    • Undergraduate Students - Sexual Assault Relationship Violence (SARV)
    • Bystander Efforts
    • Male Outreach
  • An increase in the number of therapists and victim advocates in the MSU Sexual Assault Program and the addition of a crisis counselor and clinical supervisor.
  • A new protocol between the MSU Police Department and the Office of Institutional Equity, ensuring that MSUPD notifies OIE when investigating relationship violence, stalking or sexual misconduct complaints.
  • The development of a comprehensive Title IX campus climate survey for students, faculty and staff to be released during the 2018-2019 academic year.
  • The addition of RVSM-related information and resource materials to the Academic Orientation Program for incoming students and their parents.

The expert advisory workgroup will continue to advise the president on policies and programs related to relationship violence and sexual misconduct, ensuring that decisions are based on best practices and in line with MSU's goal of creating and sustaining a safe and supportive campus for all.