On February 21, a campus-wide email was sent out by Paulette Granberry Russell, MSU’s Title IX Coordinator and director of its Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. In it, she stated that the university was “collaborating” with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. It was later revealed by local news outlets that MSU was in fact under a federal investigation for its policies and response to sexual assault claims.
The investigation stems from at least two complaints filed with the Office of Civil Rights, one of which is from a 2010 incident involving two members of the men’s basketball team. In the police report from the incident, one of the alleged suspects -- neither of whom have been publicly identified -- corroborated many of the details in the alleged victim’s complaint and expressed an interest in apologizing to the her a second time the following day. The two players were never charged by the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office.
Erin Buzuvis is a professor at Western New England University School of Law and director of its Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies. She’s also a co-founder and co-contributor to the Title IX blog, which tracks news and other developments around the federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded schools. Buzuvis joins us to explain what is expected of universities regarding sexual assault policies and what the possible ramifications are from the OCR investigation.