Sept. 5, 2019: Message on U.S. Department of Education investigations

Dear MSU community,

As you may have seen in the news, two separate investigations by the U.S. Department of Education have concluded. They outline specifically how Michigan State University needs to improve in light of its handling of the Larry Nassar and William Strampel cases.

As that information is released, I want to communicate directly to you as a member of the MSU community. We are taking these findings, agreements and requirements very seriously. I am grateful for the thoroughness of these investigations. I intend to use them as a blueprint for action.

Today I spoke with Provost June Youatt and accepted her resignation from her position, effective immediately. The letter of findings from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights made it clear that the provost and former president failed to take appropriate action on behalf of the university to address reports related to former dean Strampel.

As part of the OCR resolution agreement, we will review current and former employees who had received complaints and failed to take appropriate steps. Once completed, if further personnel actions are needed, we are prepared to take them. In our effort to build a safe and caring campus, we must have a culture of accountability.

To assist in that effort, I am naming a new committee that I have charged with overseeing the actions we will take to complete the steps outlined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Clery Act Compliance Division. This new oversight committee includes five experts from across campus. It will be led by MSU’s chief audit, risk and compliance officer and will report directly to me as it oversees the needed changes. I’ve asked the committee to update me frequently and communicate to the campus community.

We will work to increase transparency in our efforts and progress. Within the next month, a dashboard will be created on MSU’s Our Commitment website to provide the public and campus community with regular updates on the university’s progress. I expect to communicate further as additional information is known or when new actions are taken.

Acting President Satish Udpa previously has apologized on behalf of the university to all survivors and supporters impacted by these terrible situations, and I absolutely echo his sentiments. I am committed to using these findings and recommendations to significantly improve MSU’s prevention of and response to sexual assault.

We know what needs to be done and we will do it. As we make progress, if we need to do more, we will.

Thank you all for your efforts and support as we address these critical issues.


Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.