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MSU announces 'values-driven' plan to combat sexual misconduct on campus

MSU Strategic Plan
Posted at 12:12 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 12:54:29-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University has unveiled a new institution-wide strategic plan to combat sexual misconduct and relationship violence on campus

Co-chairs of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup, Rebecca Campbell and Andrea Munford, say the five-year, comprehensive plan is the product of collaboration between the administration, students and the MSU community.

The plan is “values-driven” and recommends initiatives aimed at reducing incidences of sexual misconduct and shifting the campus culture around sexual misconduct.

Rebecca Campbell for Michigan State University Dept. of Psychology

“We hope to see that the number of people who are experiencing relationship violence or sexual misconduct, that the number of them who feel comfortable to seek come forward and seek help should increase,” Campbell said.

“We're really addressing that the culture isn't holding people accountable, but also educating and then providing supporting services along through that process,” Munford said.

Lt. Andrea Munford for Michigan State University Police Special Victims Unit

Sexual misconduct is a problem on college campuses across the country, but it has a special significance at MSU, where the crimes of former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted hundreds of women and girls, aren't far in the past. The workgroup tasked with creating the report says trauma and healing have become a main focus in shifting campus culture.

“I'm glad that you pointed out it does feel different at MSU,” Munford said. “It felt different because we had seen institutional failures that really left survivors exposed on supported that, where, where people could get away with harassing type behavior, and, and really harming others. And it really wasn't looked at in the way that it should have been.”

Munford was the MSU police investigator for the university’s Special Victims Unit in the Nassar case.

“I heard these stories over and over again, you know, I took so many of these reports and work with so many survivors," she said. "And so, for me to see what they went through, and the additional harms by the university to be able to be a part of the process that works on making this a better place, a better place to teach, to learn to live to visit is really kind of personal to me."

The comprehensive plan lays out seven initiatives and 28 sub-initiatives aimed at improving resources for the community and changing the culture around sexual misconduct

“We try to bundle and combine as many services in one physical location as possible so that when people reach out, they can have all of the different things that they need to attend to in one physical location in a comprehensive program. So, it's really about redesigning how we think about supporting people,” Campbell said.

The 72-page plan was released Tuesday but the university plans to implement new elements of training and resource evaluation over the next five years.

Read the entire plan here.

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