President’s remarks at Board of Trustees meeting, Feb. 17, 2017

MSU is currently dealing with several unrelated issues of sexual assault or harassment that people might associate together, because they’ve come to light at about the same time.

Each case is different, each is taken seriously, and each is subject to separate investigative processes that deserve to be respected. Because there are multiple investigations surrounding any one incident, and because these take time to unfold, it can be confusing—and frustrating—for members of our community and for the public. In all cases involving sexual assault or other forms of gender violence, there is both a law enforcement and Title IX investigation.  Those investigations are separate and proceed independently.

It takes courage for victims to come forward and share details of personally traumatic events. I want to acknowledge them and assure you we will continue to look at every situation with integrity and diligence.

I understand many in our community may be feeling anxious and frustrated by these recent developments. People might conclude these developments indicate a culture problem here at MSU. Let me be clear: We are committed to creating a culture of both accountability and safety and responsiveness regarding sexual assault and harassment. There is no culture of tolerating sexual abuse or harassment on our campus.

No member of our community should be threatened by any form of sexual violence. Simply put, it has no place in our community. And we expect every university employee to cooperate fully with any law enforcement or Title IX investigation.  Any interference with those investigations will not be tolerated.

Like all institutions—and society itself—MSU is not perfect, but we are dedicated to being better tomorrow that we are today. And we are absolutely committed to the safety and security of every member of our campus community.