Policies and Procedures

Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy

MSU has established the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy in keeping with the university's commitment to fostering a safe and inclusive campus community.

The policy, administered by the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual harassment, including gender-based harassment, sexual assault/misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking.

For complete information, including definitions contained in the policy, download the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy.

  • Retaliation

    Michigan State University's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits retaliation against individuals who provide information to the university, bring forth a complaint, or who are asked to cooperate in an investigation.

    Even if you choose not to participate in the university's investigation process, you have a right to be protected from retaliation related to the information you share with MSU. This provision remains in effect even if the university finds that no violation of the  policy occurred, and MSU will take strong responsive action if retaliation occurs.

    • Retaliation is defined as an adverse action or adverse treatment against an individual involved in an investigation by an individual who knew of the individual's participation in the investigation.
    • If a claimant or witness believes that she or he is being subjected to retaliation (including retaliatory harassment), she or he should promptly contact the Office of Institutional Equity.

    Additionally, federal civil rights laws, including Title IX, make it unlawful for the university to retaliate against an individual who bring concerns about possible civil rights violations to its attention. It is also unlawful for the university to retaliate against an individual (such as a witness) for participating in the complaint or investigation process. If MSU is made aware of retaliation against a complainant, witness, or respondent by other students, employees, or third parties, the university immediately will investigate to determine what has occurred and take strong responsive action in cases of retaliation.

  • Investigation Process

    During the investigation process, the OIE investigator remains impartial and is neither an advocate nor an adversary with respect to the claimant, the respondent, or other parties involved in the investigation. OIE conducts each investigation in an impartial, fair, prompt, reliable, adequate, and unbiased manner.

    To review a step-by-step summary of the investigation process, review the University Procedures.

  • Student Rights

    In partnership with the Office of Institutional Equity, the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Office (SCCRO) is charged with adjudicating alleged violations of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, including issuing sanctions and interventions.

    For more information on:

    • Student Disciplinary Procedures
    • Possible sanctions/interventions
    • Information on the appeals process
    • Student rights within the student conduct process

    please review the following documents:

    For additional information about your rights, access the U.S. Department of Education: Know Your Rights Summary.

  • Mandatory Reporting

    If you are an employee and a student or colleague discloses that she or he was a victim of sexual assault or relationship violence, your response and support can make a big difference.

    MSU recognizes the complexities associated with fulfilling your mandatory reporting obligations as an employee while offering support and maintaining the relationship you have built with the student or employee. To that end, MSU has created the Employee Mandatory Reporting Guide in order to provide employees with information about the mandatory reporting process, including what happens when a report is made, as well as tips for responding and supporting sutdents and employees.

    Unless identified as a confidential source, all university employees are obligated to promptly report incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual misconduct, stalking, and relationship violence that:

    • Are observed or learned about in their professional capacity
    • Involve a member of the university community or
    • Occurred at a university-sponsored event or on university property

    Employees are only required to report relationship violence and sexual misconduct of which they become aware in their capacity as a university employee, not in a personal capacity.

    • For more information about employee mandatory reporting roles and responsibilities, download the Mandatory Reporting Guide.
  • Sample Syllabus Language

    It is suggested that instructors include the following information in their syllabi. 

    "Michigan State University is committed to fostering a culture of caring and respect that is free ofrelationship violence and sexual misconduct, and to ensuring that all affected individuals have access to services.  For information on reporting options, confidential advocacy and support resources, university policies and procedures, or how to make a difference on campus, visit theTitle IX website at www.titleix.msu.edu."

    It is also suggested that instructors include information on the limits to confidentiality as recommended by the Office of the Ombudsperson.

    Limits to Confidentiality

    Essays, journals, and other materials submitted for this class are generally considered confidential pursuant to the University’s student record policies. However, students should be aware that University employees, including instructors, may not be able to maintain confidentiality when it conflicts with their responsibility to report certain issues based on external legal obligations or that relate to the health and safety of MSU community members and others. As the instructor, I must report the following information to other University offices if you share it with me:

    • Suspected child abuse/neglect, even if this maltreatment happened when you were a child,
    • Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment when they involve MSU students, faculty, or staff, and
    • Credible threats of harm to oneself or to others.

    These reports may trigger contact from a campus official who will want to talk with you about the incident that you have shared.  In almost all cases, it will be your decision whether you wish to speak with that individual. If you would like to talk about these events in a more confidential setting you are encouraged to make an appointment with the MSU Counseling Center. 

  • University Reporting Protocols: Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Child Pornography

    The University strives to offer a safe and supportive learning and working environment for all individuals.  In support of that goal, the University has established reporting protocols for its employees and volunteers with respect to child abuse, sexual assault, and child pornography. For more information, review the University Reporting Protocols:  Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Child Pornography.

  • Procedures
    Please see University Procedures for more information or reivew our summary of Frequently Asked Questions.