The U.S. Department of Education handed Michigan State University (MSU) its biggest fine ever after its mishandling of the Larry Nassar case.
Michigan’s largest public college will pay a $4.5 million fine and make major changes to its Title IX procedures after it failed to protect students from sexual abuse.
“What transpired at Michigan State was abhorrent, inexcusable, and a total and complete failure to follow the law and protect students,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said. “Michigan State will now pay for its failures and will be required to make meaningful changes to how it handles Title IX cases moving forward. No future student should have to endure what too many did because concerns about Larry Nassar and William Strampel were ignored.”
Devos also added, “Students, faculty and staff must all feel empowered to come forward, know that they will be taken seriously, and know that the Department of Education will hold schools accountable.”
The Ofice of Civil Rights (OCR) and the Federal Student Aid (FSA) released the findings of their investigation into how MSU mishandled the Nassar situation. OCR looked into the handling of reports of sexual violence against Nassar. FSA investigated the school’s compliance with the Clery Act, which requires colleges to maintain and make public crime statistics and safety information.
OCR interviewed 47 witnesses, viewed thousands of documents and concluded the school did not adequately respond to sexual misconduct reports about Nassar and Strampel. Currently, Nassar is serving a 60-year prison sentence for child pornography and Strampel, the former MSU dean, recently began his one-year sentence in August for his involvement in the Nassar case.
To address these Title IX violations, MSU has agreed to make substantial changes to its Title IX procedures. The school must “address the campus climate around issues of sexual harassment and sexual violence, strengthen staff training, and assess the need for additional student services.”
FSA’s investigation found the school did not record crime statistics accurately, lacked administrative accountability and failed to set up a system for collecting crime statistics.
To fix these errors, MSU needs to hire an independent Clery Compliance Officer, establish a Clery committee and create a system of protective measures for its student-athletes.
MSU’s President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.issued a statement after the investigation was released:
“OCR’s letter of findings is very clear that the provost and former president failed to take appropriate action on behalf of the university to address reports of inappropriate behavior and conduct, specifically related to former Dean William Strampel,” he said. “In my effort to build a safe and caring campus, we must have a culture of accountability.”
After the investigation results became public Thursday, Provost June Youatt resigned from MSU, according to the Detroit Free Press.
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