MSU Interim President John Engler names Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup

MSU Today

Michigan State University Interim President John Engler has announced the formation of an expert advisory workgroup to formalize recommendations drawn from the input of survivors, students, faculty and staff from across campus. The recommendations will help constitute a comprehensive university response to relationship violence and sexual misconduct.

The Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup will help plan the implementation of immediate changes and formulate decisions for longer-range changes affecting responses to reported incidents. It also will sharpen the focus on sexual assault prevention, which aligns with Engler’s mandate to ensure a safe and supportive campus.

“I’ve met with many MSU community members and groups in the three weeks since I arrived, and they’ve given me feedback on weaknesses in our current approach, as well as very constructive suggestions to improve our response to someone who has been the victim of a sexual assault,” Engler said. “We’re ready now to act on the advice we’ve been given.”

The workgroup is composed of leaders throughout the MSU community with recognized expertise in handling issues of sexual misconduct and who are committed to prompt action. Importantly, the workgroup will continue to solicit suggestions from campus organizations, committees and individuals to ensure that diverse viewpoints are being considered and that the voices of students, faculty, staff and alumni are heard.

The community’s collaboration and input will be facilitated through a new interactive feature on the president’s website, Opportunity for feedback will include suggestions both for prevention of sexual assault and for response to assaults. Engler said his intent is that community members feel enabled to engage with the workgroup.

The workgroup will be chaired by Department of Psychology Professor Rebecca Campbell. She will be joined by two other faculty experts: School of Social Work Assistant Professor Carrie Moylan and Department of Psychology Professor Cris Sullivan. Sullivan is director of the Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence.

“I am committed to helping Michigan State improve necessary programs and policies that will support survivors and create a model we can be proud of,” Campbell said. “This workgroup brings together experts on campus who have dedicated their careers to helping survivors and to preventing sexual assault and relationship violence. We’re looking forward to listening to the Spartan community and leveraging our knowledge to help drive much needed change.”

Campbell holds a Ph.D. in community psychology with a concentration in statistics from MSU. For the past 25 years, she has conducted community-based research on violence against women and children, with an emphasis on sexual assault. Her research examines how contact with the legal and medical systems affects adult, adolescent and pediatric victims’ psychological and physical health. Campbell also conducts training for law enforcement and multidisciplinary practitioners in civilian, military and campus community settings on the neurobiology of trauma. In 2015, she received the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, Vision 21 Crime Victims Research Award.

Also named to the workgroup were several campus relationship violence and sexual assault policy and program experts, including: Jessica Norris, Title IX coordinator; Tana Fedewa, director of the MSU Sexual Assault Program; Detective Lt. Andrea Munford, MSU Police Special Victims Unit; Holly Rosen, MSU Safe Place director; Jayne Schuiteman, Ph.D., interim deputy Title IX coordinator for investigations; Kelly Schweda, Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Program coordinator.