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Federal government completes sexual assault investigation at MSU

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Michigan State University Spartans

This story was updated at 3:03 pm on 9/1/15 

The US Department of Education has finished its investigation into whether Michigan State University mishandled two complaints of sexual assault.

In their report released today, the DOE says MSU's "investigations of both complaints ultimately were thorough and equitable."

The DOE also says the university has taken important, positive steps to provide and maintain a safe learning environment for everyone on campus, after entering  into a resolution agreement to correct violations found during the Office of Civil Right’s investigation.

But the rest of the report is pretty damning.

According to the DOE report, during the five year period under investigation (2009-2014), MSU administrators "failed to address complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence in a prompt and equitable manner, and may have contributed to a continuation of a sexually hostile environment for numerous students and staff on campus."

As part of the resolution agreement, MSU agreed to a number of terms, including:

  • Develop a procedure to ensure the university maintains documentation regarding sex discrimination complaints, including complaints of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence, and the university’s handling of those complaints.
  • Provide bi-annual mandatory training to all university faculty and staff regarding recognizing and reporting incidents of sexual harassment.
  • Provide mandatory online training to all university students regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault/violence and to offer a series of in-person information sessions to students that cover similar topics.

“Sexual assault and harassment are serious problems in society and on college campuses, including ours,” President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a written statement. “No member of our community should be threatened by sexual violence, and we have made a commitment to be part of a larger societal conversation on this issue. We have been constantly making improvements, using various inputs to be better tomorrow than we are today."
“We did not let the process of the OCR investigations delay our progress, and we were pleased that changes we have made over the past few years address nearly all of the primary OCR concerns,” Simon said.

You can read the full report here.

This story was updated to include a statement from MSU President Simon.

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