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Independent review finds Michigan State Title IX policy compliant

Posted at 3:08 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 08:25:00-05

Michigan State announced Monday that they are compliant with all federal legal requirements and reflect a strong and genuine commitment to combating sexual misconduct according to an external report.

The report was released by a Kansas city law firm and commissioned by University President, Lou Anna K. Simon in the spring.

Husch Blackwell, who prepared the report, said that MSU's policies and procedures were among the "most comprehensive and robust" that the firm has even seen.

“Conducting an independent, external review of our Title IX policies and procedures is part of our commitment to continuous improvement and dedication to develop leading-edge policies, programs and services,” Simon said. “Sexual assault continues to plague our campus and society at large. Creating change requires focused work and the discipline to sustain our efforts.”

The firm looked at five key areas: Title IX compliance, crisis and advocacy support services; prevention and education programs; awareness and outreach; and campus feedback.

The report reflects the first phase of the review, focusing on the policy’s compliance with Title IX. A second report addressing the remaining elements will be issued in spring 2018. Some areas of improvement were outlined in the report. For instance, the review board suggested the university reevaluate its mandatory reporting protocols and streamline the policy to make it more accessible for students and employees.

As part of the review process, Husch Blackwell interviewed university officials along with students, faculty and staff. Participants noted improvements such as recent updates to the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy as well as the addition of new staff in the Office of Institutional Equality.

“I’m pleased to see the review recognize our multi-disciplinary collaborative efforts and community involvement,” said Jessica Norris, MSU’s Title IX director. “My team and I have worked hard to make the process more approachable and craft a policy that is aligned with our community needs and values.”

The firm made note regarding MSU's many practices including collaborative work groups with employees and students. They also have clear penalties for employees who fail to report misconduct.