Preventing Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault

Prevention of sexual misconduct and sexual assault is central to maintaining a safer campus community. It starts with clear expectations backed by meaningful policies, consistent practices, and adequate resources. Michigan State is evaluating and supporting its prevention activities and directing increased staffing, training, and awareness efforts toward the goal of a safer campus.

  • MSU’s Title IX policies are compliant with all applicable legal requirements. MSU hired an independent third party to conduct a review of MSU’s Title IX policies and procedures. In addition to finding MSU’s Title IX policies compliant with all applicable legal requirements, the review found MSU to be at the forefront of a number of practices. The reviewers also made recommendations for improvement, which MSU is implementing.
    • A second phase of review, released in preliminary form in March 2018, looks at awareness and outreach, prevention and education programs, and crisis and advocacy support services. To be released in final form before the end of the semester, the preliminary draft identifies several areas for improvement in campus community awareness of sexual assault and prevention resources, policies, and procedures. To that end, the report recommends more concentrated and credible communications to support cultural changes, promote MSU’s values, and disseminate relevant information to the campus community. Better alignment of training, awareness, and prevention programs; increasing mental health support services; and clarifying responsibilities and accountability for Title IX were among other recommendations. 
  • MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity held a series of Campus Climate Forums March 25 and 26 to solicit feedback from students and employees to that report.
  • Community suggestions and other input focused on prevention are being solicited and received by the interim president’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup through its online contact channel and through consultation with diverse campus and community groups. The workgroup is using the feedback to develop recommendations for improving MSU’s programs and practices and supporting culture change regarding relationship violence and sexual misconduct. 
  • All students and employees are required to complete an online training program. Both the student and employee programs focus on:
    • Providing information to identify sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including relationship violence and sexual misconduct;
    • Raising awareness of the impact of these issues on the campus community and encouraging community members to engage in efforts to end these types of violence;
    • Advising members of the MSU community about their rights and reporting responsibilities under the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy;
    • Communicating behavioral expectations for all members of the MSU community as outlined in the policy;
    • Connecting community members with support and resources that are available when issues or assaults occur;
    • And training employees on their roles in administering the policy.
  • MSU’s Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Program is using a grant from the governor’s office to tailor sexual assault awareness training for fraternity and sorority affiliated students and risk managers. The training encourages leadership, intervention, and continued dialogue related to sexual assault and relationship violence prevention.
  • An updated leadership development training session for MSU supervisors and administrators focused on preventing harassment and discrimination rolled out in March 2018. New protocols for information sharing between campus units are part of the session content.
  • MSU is training employees how to recognize and report child abuse. The university introduced enhanced training in March 2017 for individuals managing youth programs, including information about mandatory reporting requirements and recognizing signs of child abuse. This training is being expanded to a full-day workshop in March 2018.
  • MSU established the Youth Programs Policy in 2013. The policy has evolved over time with multiple revisions that are detailed online.
    • In May 2017, MSU strengthened protections for youth participating in campus programs. The university’s youth program policy has been updated to mandate that all individuals who have unsupervised access to minors are required to undergo criminal background checks within the past 12 months. This extends to any external organization using MSU facilities. Additionally, new requirements have been put in place regarding annual trainings, reporting protocols, and transportation of minors.
  • MSU is making continuing efforts to train youth program directors and coordinators. Trainings focused on identifying and reporting child abuse and expanded to an annual workshop for Youth Protection Workshop in 2017.
  • MSU hired aYouth Program Director to help manage and oversee all youth programs. David Chupak joined MSU in November 2017 to oversee youth programs including any class, camp, program, or other learning activity held on and off-campus that includes participation by minors.
    • A Youth Programs Advisory Board was established in January 2018 from multiple campus units to consult on youth program policies and procedures.
    • Training was expanded for youth program coordinators and directors, including presentations from subject experts covering topics such as policy compliance, identifying maltreatment, reporting requirements, gender equity, police response, and supporting mental health.
    • Other program personnel trainings in the planning stage include interviewing practices to prevent child maltreatment, implicit bias awareness, surviving active shooter situations, and addressing cyber-bullying.
    • Director Chupak is working with General Counsel and his advisory board on youth program policy revisions covering topics including one-on-one adult/youth exposure and electronic communications. New requirements will include application of industry guidelines for supervisor-to-youth ratios.
    • Handbook templates containing uniform program requirements also will be developed, including the topics of central policies, communication processes, and conduct rules for program participants.
    • Program registration deadlines will be set and a software will be implemented for online registration to allow more efficient program tracking.
    • The director will begin conducting program compliance audits this summer.
    • Director Chupak provides ongoing consultations to youth program directors. Program directors have displayed an eagerness to comply with university-wide policy requirements and a commitment to providing safe experiences for minors.
The campus-wide “It’s On Us” campaign held a Spring Week of Action April 2-6, 2018. MSU faculty, academic staff, and support staff were encouraged to participate in a series of awareness activities to lead of national Sexual Assault Awareness Month.