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MSU administrator named in Title IX lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University

MSU
Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 23:15:44-04

MSU CAMPUS — The disturbingly violent claims of 11 Eastern Michigan University women who fill 166 pages of a Title IX lawsuit filed Wednesday against the university, campus officials, police and two fraternities.

Eastern Michigan University

One current Michigan State University administrator, Melody Werner, was named as a defendant in the lawsuit for “mismanagement of Title IX” during her tenure as EMU’s director of Title IX.

Melody
Melody Werner.

The lawsuit alleges Werner encouraged victims to stay silent about their assault. Many of the complaints against Werner reference the same dismissive tone.

“There is no point in reporting it. You’re going to have to go through all of this to report it. They’re in a fraternity. Greek community is going to back them up,” one victim reported Werner told her after she tried to report her abuse to the university.

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Todd Flood of Flood Law is one of the lawyers representing the 11 women who have come forward, on the condition of anonymity, in the Title IX case. Flood was unable to discuss the specific acts of mismanagement Werner is accused of but did explain that mismanagement of such processes is cause for legal action.

“Title IX is supposed to investigate these claims. And when they don't manage it properly, then there can be a cause of action to hold them accountable, especially when you have vulnerable young female adults that are living for the first time away from home oftentimes in you know, this big, different world with Greek life. So we want to make sure they're protected properly,” Flood said.

Werner denies the allegations entirely, according to a statement released by EMU.

“Melody Werner categorically denies ever saying anything of that nature to any individual reporting a sexual assault. Her career as a Title IX professional is dedicated to exactly the opposite - encouraging survivors to come forward and report what happened to them and to support them in any way possible," EMU spokesperson Geoff Larcom said.

Michigan State officials say they’re aware of the pending litigation and that Werner is contracted on assignment with the university in her current role through June 2021.

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