Michigan State this fall initiated its "Know More" campaign to promote awareness of the resources available to those in the campus community who are affected by sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking.
“In the wake of the horrific revelations stemming from the trial of Larry Nassar and the survivors’ testimony prior to his sentencing, MSU has responded in an unprecedented way,” said Rob Kent, interim director of the MSU Office of Civil Rights. “While healing for survivors — and for the campus community — might come slowly, the university recognized that immediate and ongoing action is needed to improve and promote its policies, procedures and the culture surrounding relationship violence and sexual misconduct and its reporting.
Know More is one more way Michigan State is renewing its efforts to provide a safe environment where all students feel protected, empowered, aware of their rights and knowledgeable about available resources. Highlighting on-and off-campus resources for relationship violence and sexual misconduct support and reporting, the campaign is being embraced and promoted by student groups, faculty and staff, support groups and the enforcement community.
“Know More is built on the foundation of our Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, which is centered on defining what constitutes sexual misconduct and requires everyone on campus who becomes aware of an occurrence to report it,” Kent said. “And those efforts are reflected in our latest Title IX annual report data.”
Since implementation of its mandatory student and employee awareness training in 2015, Michigan State has seen steady year-to-year increases in reported complaints under its RVSM policy. The number of reports in the 2017-2018 academic year represented nearly a 63 percent increase from the previous year. The increase allows the university to address the effects of this historically underreported conduct, provide resources to survivors and take action against perpetrators.
“The Know More campaign visibly acknowledges the existence of relationship violence and sexual misconduct and normalizes and validates resources and options available to trauma survivors,” said Tana Fedewa, director of the MSU Sexual Assault Program. “My hope is that the Know More campaign will reduce stigma and increase help-seeking for those impacted by relationship violence and sexual misconduct.”
All MSU community members play an important part in preventing and reporting sexual assault and relationship violence. In the 2017-2018 academic year, 99 percent of nearly 53,000 students and 98 percent of MSU employees completed training on sexual assault and relationship violence prevention and reporting. This year, in addition to online training, MSU is conducting mandatory, in-person sexual assault and relationship violence prevention programming for all first-year and transfer students, and in-person bystander intervention training for all second-year students.
To learn more about how MSU is cultivating a campus community that effectively fights discrimination, sexual harassment and assault, visit www.civilrights.msu.edu.