Vice President of MSU’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX named

Dear Spartans,

We are pleased to announce the appointment of our new vice president of the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, Laura Rugless. This appointment, which follows an extensive national search, is effective July 1 and will be subject to approval by the Board of Trustees at the June 16 meeting.

In this newly elevated position from associate vice president to vice president, Laura will be responsible for leading the institution’s civil rights and Title IX compliance and building upon MSU’s commitment to a safe and inclusive campus. She will serve as the university’s Title IX coordinator and oversee the Office of Institutional Equity; the Prevention, Outreach and Education Department; the Resolution Office; the Office of Support and Equity; the equity review officer; and the American with Disabilities Act, or ADA, coordinator.

Laura, an army veteran, comes to MSU with more than 15 years of experience in higher education and state and federal compliance work. She has led civil rights offices and Title IX programs for Division I institutions and developed and implemented Title IX, ADA and other civil rights policies to address evolving state and federal requirements. Most recently, she served Cornell University as the associate vice president for the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX and before that as the Title IX coordinator. Prior to Cornell, she was the executive director of equity and access services and Title IX coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Laura earned her bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees from the College of William and Mary. Following her graduation, Laura practiced law in Virginia, specializing in employment law and employment discrimination.

We are grateful to Sarah Harebo of Grand River Solutions, who has been serving as interim associate vice president for the Office for Civil Rights over the past several months. Throughout her time at the university, she has provided stable leadership as we thoroughly searched for the right candidate for this critical role. Sarah will continue to lead OCR until Laura assumes her role this summer.

I would also like to thank the search committee and its co-chairs MSU Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar Bennett and MSU Department of Police and Public Safety Deputy Chief Andrea Munford, for identifying highly qualified candidates ready to move this important work forward. Jabbar and Andrea have vast experience in this important area, and I appreciate the time, energy and commitment they and our esteemed search committee have dedicated to this selection process.

Please join me in thanking Sarah for her excellent service and welcoming Laura to Michigan State University. We are confident in her leadership as we continue to create a safer and more equitable campus for all.


Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Interim President
MSU Research Foundation Professor