Michigan State University has hired Kroll, a global risk solutions firm, to investigate sexual assault and harassment complaints on campus, hoping to reduce the average investigation time, which now stands at 80 days.
“We are taking active steps to make MSU a shining example of Title IX compliance,” Interim President John Engler said in a statement released Tuesday, referring to the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in education. “80 days is not only far too long for a response to a complaint, it’s totally unacceptable. We owe it to all those who have been assaulted and had the bravery to step forward to have a safer MSU be their legacy.”
The university's Office of Institutional Equity has seen a 35% increase in the number of incident reports from the 2015-16 academic year to 2016-17, according to a news release, and expects the number to continue to rise.
“We do not believe the additional reports reflect an increase in incidents, but rather a community that is aware of their rights and options to report both current and past incidents,” Jessica Norris, MSU’s Title IX director, said in a statement put out Tuesday. “In fact, we expect the number of reported incidents to continue to increase as we build on efforts to support reporting and hold individuals accountable for behavior that is inconsistent with our institutional policy and our values.”