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MSU being sued for mishandling of sexual assault investigations

Nov 18, 2015

A federal lawsuit accuses Michigan State University of mishandling sexual assault complaints.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The lawsuit is being brought by four women, all seniors at MSU, who claim the university dragged out investigations into their sexual assault complaints.    

The suit claims the university’s mishandling of the cases violated provisions of Title IX.  

Attorney Alex Zalkin says the women had to deal with ongoing harassment from their alleged attackers.

Emily Kollaritsch (left) and Shayna Gross are two of the four plaintiffs suing Michigan State University
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“If that’s not deliberate indifference to the issue of sexual violence on campus, I don’t know what is,” says Zalkin.

Shayna Gross says she has been a victim of sexual assault, and of the university.

“Michigan State University’s investigation process has caused me harm and delivered me absolutely no justice,” says Gross.

The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages.   There is a possibility more plaintiffs could be added to the lawsuit. 

This isn’t the first time MSU’s handling of sexual assault cases has been criticized.   The U.S. Education Department has also been critical of how sexual assault complaints are investigated on the East Lansing campus.   

The university has declined to comment on the lawsuit.  

MSU spokesman Jason Cody issued this statement:

“Sexual misconduct in all of its forms is an issue university leaders take very seriously. Over the past several years, MSU has taken significant steps to increase resources for survivors and revise policies to hear complaints in a timely and fair manner consistent with federal guidance.”