MSUToday
Published: Sept. 5, 2019

Stanley sets course of action following federal reviews

Contact(s): Emily Guerrant University Spokesperson office: 517-355-6560 emilyg@msu.edu

President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., has announced several actions today in response to the investigations concluded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and Clery Act Compliance Division.

First, Stanley spoke with Provost June Youatt this morning and accepted her resignation as provost effective immediately.

Second, he has formed a new oversight committee charged with ensuring the actions Michigan State University will take are fully responsive to the steps outlined in the agreements with the department, as well as OCR’s letter of findings.

“OCR’s letter of findings is very clear that the provost and former president failed to take appropriate action on behalf of the university to address reports of inappropriate behavior and conduct, specifically related to former Dean William Strampel,” Stanley said. “In my effort to build a safe and caring campus, we must have a culture of accountability.”

OCR found the university violated Title IX in its handling of the Larry Nassar and William Strampel cases. A letter of findings and resolution agreement between OCR and MSU lay out actions the university will begin immediately.

As part of its review of MSU’s compliance with the Clery Act, which requires universities and colleges to properly and promptly report certain crimes, the Clery Act Compliance Division issued a preliminary program review report in December 2018. Since then, MSU has been working closely with federal representatives to resolve the issues identified and agree on a $4.5 million fine, the highest amount ever levied associated with the Clery Act. The agreement also requires several enhancements MSU will implement to improve Clery Act compliance.

“I’m grateful for the thoroughness of these investigations and intend to use them as a blueprint for action,” Stanley said. “Included is a review of current and former employees who had received notice or complaints of sex discrimination and failed to take appropriate steps. We will conduct this review, and once completed, if further personnel actions are needed, we are prepared to take them.

“The agreements with U.S. Department of Education further remind us that we failed survivors and our community. Following very thorough reviews, these agreements raise several concerns with university processes and policies. While we have made some improvements, it’s by no means sufficient or the end of the road. I know the magnitude of our responsibility and am determined MSU will act thoughtfully with our focus on survivors and the safety of our community.”

Stanley established an oversight committee responsible for all the needed changes at MSU, which report directly to him.

  • Marilyn Tarrant, team chair and associate vice president for the Office of Audit Risk and Compliance
  • Shannon Torres, assistant general counsel
  • David Weismantel, university physician and director of the Student Health Center
  • Rebecca Campbell, chair of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup, psychology professor and recently appointed special adviser to the president on RVSM issues
  • Andrea Munford, lieutenant with the MSU Police Department’s Center for Trauma-Informed Investigative Excellence, also recently appointed as a special adviser to the president on RVSM issues

Stanley directed the committee to move as swiftly as possible to complete the necessary actions and provide him with regular updates. In addition to the OCR and Clery Act agreements, the committee also will be responsible for implementing actions outlined in the university’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in August.

Within the next month, a dashboard will be created on the Our Commitment website to provide frequent updates for the community on the university’s progress.

MSU already is engaged in several of the recommendations from the Department of Education. The agreements layout timelines for completing the additional activities during a three-year period.

“While MSU has made improvements and changes to how we handle our Title IX responsibilities in the past several years, we know there is more work to do,” said Dianne Byrum, chairperson of the MSU Board of Trustees. “The board understands the seriousness of these findings and the significance of the fine. We fully support President Stanley’s committment to be better on these critical issues; our community – and the many survivors who are part of it – deserve nothing less.”