Law firm determines MSU failed to properly certify 2021 Title IX violations

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) — A law firm review found that Michigan State University (MSU) failed to certify Title IX violations.

MSU’s Board of Trustees announced Friday that it has retained the law firm Honigman LLP to investigate whether the University properly followed state law to certify that the Former MSU President Samuel Stanley, who resigned on Friday, and a board member reviewed all 2021 Title IX reports regarding alleged employee sexual misconduct.

Title IX is an education amendment that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities.

Honigman’s partner, Matthew Schneider, led the investigation, who was the former United States Attorney in Detroit.

According to the board, Honigman reviewed more than 24,000 documents and interviewed 18 witnesses, including the eight trustees, former MSU president Stanley, and current and former university employees. Honigman concluded that MSU failed to meet its obligations under state law that required the president to certify that he and at least one member of the board of directors had reviewed every Title IX report involving an employee.

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According to a document released by the MSU Board of Trustees, if a university does not submit certification, the State Budget Director “will withhold 10 percent of that university’s annual operations funding until the university submits the certification”.

Honigman also said MSU’s president relied on incorrect information provided by MSU’s Title IX office. A third thing that was reviewed was the actions taken by the board of directors in 2022, which Honigman said took proactive steps to ensure that the chairman and at least one board member had reviewed every report of the title. IX of 2021. Finally, the board stated that it hopes this incident can help improve its future process and that it has already taken the necessary steps to do so.

Dan Kelly is Vice Chairman of MSU’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Board’s Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee.

“The findings of the investigation confirm that little or nothing has been done by the President to address the certification issues raised by the Board of Directors for more than two years,” Kelly said. “The Board remains committed to improving our Title IX processes to avoid repetition in the future and will take the recommendations in the report seriously. We look forward to the Acting President’s commitment to improved communication and our shared goal of exemplary Title IX enforcement. »

They determined that there were significant breakdowns in MSU’s Title IX reporting process that prevented the University from properly certifying to the state. Honigman made recommendations to improve the reporting process, including restructuring how the University reviews and distributes Title IX reports, creating consistency in the review process, establishing a regular audit process, and by providing increased training.

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