Jan. 6, 2022: Taking action to support survivors


NOTE: This letter refers to situations that may trigger traumatic memories for members of our community. Resources and assistance are available through multiple campus programs.

 

Dear Spartans,

Michigan State University has made many significant changes to foster a safer campus and address instances of relationship violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking. When I came to campus in 2019, I knew there was more work to be done and tasked the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup with developing a five-year plan for action, in parallel and coordination with the university’s strategic plan and our strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion. I’m very pleased that all three of those plans were unveiled last year.

Now we are launching a significant effort, based on of one of the actions outlined in the RVSM Strategic Plan, aimed at transforming MSU’s culture as it relates to instances of relationship violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking. The Support More initiative focuses on providing guidance for how to respond to disclosures of these experiences in an empathic manner as well as promoting the availability of related campus resources and services.

During my initial meetings with survivors, they said they wished more people at MSU knew what to say and what to do in these conversations. In fact, research has found that teaching people how to provide helpful, supportive reactions to disclosures helps alleviate victims’ distress and promotes healing.

To accomplish this, the initial launch of the effort includes:

  • The supportmore.msu.edu website as a single place with all the information related to this effort, the Know More survey and RVSM Strategic Plan.
  • Videos that give a behind-the-scenes look at supportive resources on campus and details on how to access each program.
  • Posters outlining the available resources and sharing examples of statements showing support for survivors.
  • Brochures with guidance for faculty, staff and students on how to respond if someone discloses their experience with relationship violence, sexual assault or abuse, sexual harassment and stalking.

I want to thank the team representing the RVSM Expert Advisory Workgroup for their hard work and dedication to this effort and our partners at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Victim Services for their support of this work with a Victims of Crime Act grant award.

There is still more work to be done. The Support More initiative will go a long way in fostering a safe university environment so every member of the campus community can be successful. Our resolve to make a difference and the strength of our community will carry us even further.

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., M.D. (he/him)
President