Michigan State University put in place a new relationship violence and sexual misconduct (RVSM) and Title IX policy following new federal regulations that take effect today, Aug. 14. MSU’s new policy replaces the university’s previous RVSM policy.
Changes to MSU’s policy were made in accordance with new Title IX regulations released in May by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and govern how K-12 schools, colleges, and universities must respond to reports of sexual harassment and assault under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex.
“We took this as an opportunity to create a policy that strives for clarity and important supportive measures that increase equity, accountability, and transparency for all involved in the Title IX process” said Tanya Jachimiak, Associate Vice President of MSU’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance in a letter to campus. “Our commitment to ensuring a campus free of violence remains unwavering.”
MSU’s new RVSM and Title IX policy will:
- Define prohibited conduct in alignment with community expectations as to what constitutes relationship violence, sexual misconduct, and stalking as well as prohibited conduct under Title IX.
- Make clear that Title IX regulations apply to complaints brought by or against employees and are not limited to complaints involving students.
- Explain the process for responding to and addressing reports of prohibited conduct, including retaliation.
- Provide claimants with more autonomy as to whether to request an investigation through the formal grievance process.
- Explain the availability of equitable supportive measures, interim measures, University-provided advisors, and confidential resources.
- Provide for an equitable, fair investigation process and hearing process with realistic time frames and regular communication from investigators and decision makers.
- Streamline investigations, including permitting parties to review all evidence directly related to the allegations prior to completion of a final investigation report.
- Set expectations for University faculty, staff, and academic staff on reporting conduct.
The new policy is the result of work by a multi-disciplinary team of faculty, staff, and students and received feedback from a number of groups on campus. Those included the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup; the Center for Survivors; MSU employee labor unions; Academic Human Resources; MSU Human Resources; the University Committee on Faculty Affairs; the Academic Specialist Advisory Committee; Associated Students of Michigan State University; the Council of Graduate Students; Council of Racial and Ethnic Students; and other faculty, staff and students.
Jachimiak’s team will continue to meet with stakeholders throughout the Fall semester to compile ideas, questions, and suggestions. Members of the campus community can also provide individual feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance leads MSU’s efforts to cultivate a campus community that is free of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct and relationship violence. To learn more about Title IX at MSU visit the OCR website.