A leader in support for students

07-24-2017

This year Michigan State University celebrates the 50th anniversary of the nation’s oldest university ombuds office, which was created to mediate disputes between students and faculty or staff. The milestone serves as a reminder of our core values of quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity.

The office was created in 1967 to help students, faculty, and administrators navigate their evolving relationships as cultural shifts across the country widened social divisions and relationships changed between students and the academy. It was formed with the Board of Trustees’ adoption of the Academic Freedom Report, which outlined students’ responsibilities—and rights the ombudsperson is charged with helping to protect.

Spartans can be proud that MSU has been a leader in supporting students and vulnerable members of our community. Michigan State offers the nation’s longest-running, student-run food bank, and we were the first university in the country to provide a domestic violence shelter on campus.

The MSU Counseling Center created its first sexual assault program in 1980, offering a 24-hour hotline, crisis intervention and referral, personal advocacy, individual therapy, and educational outreach. At about that time, women’s advisory committees on campus also began to develop policies on sexual harassment that served as a model for many other institutions. And today MSU is among only a few universities nationwide with a Special Victims Unit within the campus police department.

Respect and care for one another is an implicit and ongoing responsibility for each of us at MSU, and we always strive to be better tomorrow than we are today.
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