College boards must see all reports of sexual assault

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Michigan public university boards must see copies of all reports of sexual assault on their campus under a proposed new state law that passed its first hurdle Wednesday morning.

The provision was added to the budget recommendation of the State Senate Higher Education Subcommittee and is now heading to the Full Appropriations Committee.

The move comes as questions continue to swirl around Michigan State University and what members of its board of trustees knew and when they learned of the misconduct of Dr. Larry Nassar and the alleged misconduct of a former dean, William Strampel.

Board members have repeatedly stated that Nassar’s sexual assault on young students and their reports about them never reached them.

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State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, whose legislative constituency includes MSU, proposed the change, saying university boards need to know what’s going on at their institution.

The specific provision requires that “every public university provide written notice of any report” of sexual assault to the “board of directors.”

MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said the university welcomed the change.

“We appreciate the Senate’s intention to create a more transparent system and greater overall awareness in universities when it comes to reporting cases of sexual assault,” she said in an email. at the Free Press. “MSU plans to cooperate fully with this proposed change. “

Lawyer John Manly, who represents many of Nassar’s victims in the MSU civil lawsuits, was delighted to hear of the change.

“Whenever a serious crime occurs on campus, officials should know about it,” he told Free Press. “It’s a shame you need a law to force people to do the right thing, but apparently for MSU you are doing it. It will eliminate boards saying they didn’t know it. “

Strampel, who was Nassar’s boss, faces four counts. Professional misconduct carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A charge of sexual assault is a High Court offense, which means it carries a maximum penalty of two years. A willful breach of duty is punishable by a maximum of one year.

In an affidavit filed with the court, police said Strampel failed to act on student and athlete protection after a Title IX investigation placed restrictions on Nassar.

Despite his portrayal of his (and the College‘s) response to the allegations against Nassar, Strampel did not actually enforce or monitor the protocols, nor did he alert other employees at the Sports Medicine Clinic. of the existence of the protocols, let alone order that they be followed with regard to Nassar, ”the affidavit states.

Nassar, 54, the MSU doctor accused of assaulting dozens of college students and athletes, has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography and is being held in a high-security federal prison in Arizona. He also faces a 40 to 175 year sentence in Ingham County and 40 to 125 years in Eaton County, where he has been charged with 10 sexual assaults. These sentences will not begin until he has completed his federal sentence.

The higher education subcommittee also approved a $ 14.3 million increase in Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget recommendation and said universities should use that money for campus security, preventing sexual assault. and student mental health services.

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj


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