According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, “13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.” It's an unfortunate truth, but if you're a parent of a student at Michigan State University, you need to prepare yourself to take action in the case that your student faces allegations of sexual misconduct.
Michigan State University is no different. During the 2018-2019 academic year, 4,000 undergraduate women on its campus became victims of sexual assault. As a result, Michigan State University has stepped up its reporting and investigative processes to ensure its student body remains safe. The MSU Office of Institutional Equity works hard to maintain a safe atmosphere for its entire community with strict sexual misconduct policies.
If your student stands accused of sexual misconduct, their road ahead could be extremely difficult.
That's where you come in. If you take proactive steps now, you may be able to shield your child from sloppy trials, unfair hearings, or other practices from the University that could portray your child in a bad light. Working with a smart and savvy sexual misconduct advisor could well be the best thing you could do to keep your child's future safe from harm.
What are Michigan State University University's Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policies?
As the parent of a student facing sexual misconduct charges, you likely have at least a few questions. Referring to MSU's code of conduct may be a good idea as you brush up on school policies prior to your student's investigation. That document will contain much of the information you'll need, including the comprehensive answers to these questions:
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that the United States government established to govern academic institutions as they investigate allegations of sexual assault. Importantly, under Title IX, any publicly-funded university must respond to all alleged infractions quickly or risk losing its funding. In 2020, the federal government updated Title IX. As a result, in many instances, Title IX policies have a more limited scope. American universities (including Michigan State University) have responded by issuing their own Title IX and sexual misconduct policies that allow them to take needed steps to keep their communities safe.
What does MSU mean by ‘sexual misconduct'?
According to Michigan State University's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy, the University considers the following actions punishable:
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Statutory Rape
- Sexual Exploitation
- Relationship Violence
- Dating Violence
Depending on the specific circumstances of your child's alleged infraction, there may be nuances or explanations that are very important for their case. It's therefore critical that you seek out a Title IX and sexual misconduct advisor that has experience fighting these types of allegations. The severity of your child's alleged incident will dictate the severity of the punishments they may experience.
What punishments can my child expect after their incident?
After Michigan State University takes time to investigate what happened, you may receive an invitation to a formal hearing before school board officials. Alternatively, the University might decide to mete out restorative, supportive, or punitive measures in a more informal manner.
The University's code of conduct and sexual misconduct policies suggest that your child may be able to expect some form of the following measures:
- Loss of privileges
- Community service
- Modifications to class schedules, work schedules, or living quarters
- No contact directives
- An entry on their permanent record
The short-term punishments after this type of infraction might sound stark enough, but the real consequences are more long-term. With sexual misconduct on your student's permanent record, they may find that applying to further learning opportunities or scholarships (or even, in the long run, their dream job) might be more difficult than necessary.
To protect your child's reputation and potential, you need to act now.
Does my child have any rights at all?
Your child does have rights during their sexual misconduct investigation, and it's extremely important that you help your child protect those rights. Michigan State University must consider your child innocent until proven guilty. The University also has a responsibility to notifying your child several times during their sexual misconduct investigation with comprehensive information, including the nature of their charges and the full investigative report. Your child also has the right to ask questions and receive answers during their investigation.
Finally, your student has the right to request or pursue adequate representation. Although your school might offer you in-house counsel, it's definitely better to hire your own aid. When you're fighting these types of sensitive charges, it's always best to have legal advisors on your side that will be completely loyal to you in every respect. Trusting lawyers in your school's employ might be a decision that you'll later regret.
Joseph D. Lento Is A Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Advisor Ready to Help You
If you have recently learned that your child stands accused of sexual misconduct allegations at Michigan State University, it's natural to feel a little overwhelmed. Suddenly, you're getting notifications regarding punishments, meetings, and investigations that you had hoped you'd never have to read.
Especially if you're not familiar with student discipline procedures, this can seem like a lot is coming at you and your family very quickly. As you start to navigate due process and take steps towards establishing your child's innocence, it will be vital for you to work with a sexual misconduct advisor that has experience dealing with these types of cases. Joseph D. Lento is that advisor. For years, he has successfully dealt with student misconduct allegations at universities across the nation. Whether Michigan State University chooses to adjudicate your child's sexual misconduct case through an investigation, a formal hearing, or any other method of meting out justice, Joseph D. Lento will be there for you and your family.