MSUToday
Published: Feb. 13, 2018

MSU hires firm to help promptly investigate reports of sexual assault, harassment

Contact(s): General media office: 517-353-7077 media@cabs.msu.edu

Michigan State University’s Office of Institutional Equity has enlisted Kroll, a leading global provider of investigative services, to serve as an independent third party to help investigate complaints filed under MSU’s Title IX Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Kroll will begin reviewing complaints immediately.

The OIE has experienced a 35 percent increase in incident reports from academic year 2015-16 to 2016-17 and expects the number to continue to rise. This trend is consistent with MSU’s efforts to raise awareness and foster a culture where individuals feel empowered and supported in reporting. However, due to the increased volume of reports the current average investigation time is 80 days.

“We are taking active steps to make MSU a shining example of Title IX compliance; 80 days is not only far too long for a response to a complaint, it’s totally unacceptable,” said John Engler, interim president. “We owe it to all those who have been assaulted and had the bravery to step forward to have a safer MSU be their legacy.”

MSU takes all reports seriously and strives to complete investigations in a timely manner. The additional resources from Kroll will supplement the existing team of nine OIE investigators and allow for a prompt investigation and response.

“We do not believe the additional reports reflect an increase in incidents, but rather a community that is aware of their rights and options to report both current and past incidents,” said Jessica Norris, MSU’s Title IX director. “In fact, we expect the number of reported incidents to continue to increase as we build on efforts to support reporting and hold individuals accountable for behavior that is inconsistent with our institutional policy and our values.”

Individuals wishing to report an incident of relationship violence or sexual misconduct can do so by completing the online incident reporting form at www.oie.msu.edu or contacting OIE at (517) 353-3922 as well as MSU Police at (517) 355-2221. Through the reporting process, individuals can request interim and protective measures, receive referrals to campus and community resources, and request an investigation. Individuals are also encouraged to access free and confidential resources through MSU’s Sexual Assault Program and MSU Safe Place for support and advocacy throughout the reporting and investigation process.

Kroll is often retained by academic institutions and other organizations to conduct sensitive internal investigations related to allegations of sexual assault or other misconduct. For more than 45 years, Kroll’s mission has been to gather the relevant facts, assess credibility, make factual findings, and develop recommendations with independence and objectivity. Kroll conducts investigations with professionalism, discretion, and sensitivity to the legal, privacy, human resource, and other particular concerns of the case at hand.

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