Statement on investigation of sexual assault complaint connected to football program (Feb. 28, 2017)
“Michigan State University Police is investigating allegations of sexual assault against three MSU student-athletes. The police department has been in communication with the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, and upon concluding the investigations will forward its reports for review for possible criminal charges.
The university also is conducting a Title IX investigation of the sexual assault allegations. Title IX consultant Rebecca Veidlinger has been retained to conduct this investigation, which will address whether MSU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy was violated. She will report her findings to the Office of Institutional Equity.
The three student-athletes under investigation have been suspended from team activities and removed from on-campus housing pending the conclusion of the police and Title IX investigations.
As part of the criminal investigation, detectives are interviewing members of the coaching staff and other relevant individuals regarding their response since the complaint was made in late January.
Separate from the criminal and Title IX investigations, the university administration is retaining an external law firm to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into football program staff members’ compliance with university policy in connection with the allegations.
MSU will take prompt action, if appropriate, in response to any policy violations or other substantive matters as a result of the investigation. One staff member associated with the football program has been suspended by the Athletics Department pending the completion of that investigation.
Michigan State University has made significant strides in making its Title IX program align with the best practices developed throughout the nation. Sexual violence is abhorrent, and no member of our community should be threatened in this way. MSU has been proactive in education and prevention efforts and is strongly committed to fostering an environment that encourages sexual assault reporting and supports victims.
Every employee has a clear responsibility to follow the university’s well-established reporting protocols regarding sexual assault. MSU will not tolerate failure to follow established reporting protocols, interference with law enforcement efforts, or lack of cooperation with any Title IX investigation.”
-Jason Cody, MSU spokesperson
Message from the Athletic Director
“The core values of MSU Athletics are clear, consistently communicated and non-negotiable. Among them are respect for self and others, accountability for actions and choices, and integrity. Sexual assault is unacceptable, and members of MSU Athletics who fail to uphold our standards for creating a culture that is safe, supportive, and responsive to those affected by it will be held accountable. My expectation of all members of the department is full and complete cooperation with all investigations.
We have a strong athletics program at MSU, one based on values, traditions, and an understanding that as Spartans we are part of something bigger. Our promise to current and future student-athletes and to the entire Spartan community is to take the steps necessary, based on the facts determined through thorough review, to run this program according to the highest values and standards.”
-Athletic Director Mark Hollis
Message from Coach Mark Dantonio
“With spring practice beginning last weekend and preparation for a new season underway, I feel it’s important to reinforce the core values and beliefs that have built and defined this program during my time at MSU.
Since arriving here 11 years ago, my passion has been to lead a program that fosters a culture of integrity, respect and accountability, both on and off the field. That will never change. I have high standards for the program and expect all of our players and staff to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and principles of Michigan State University. Our goal is to develop young men of character who graduate and make a positive impact on society.
Regarding the ongoing investigations taking place within our program, the allegations are something we’re extremely concerned about and taking very seriously. We took immediate action by suspending those involved as soon as we were notified of the situation. Our action is separate from the ongoing criminal and administrative investigations. Those processes will determine if a crime has been committed and also if any university policy has been violated.
Mark Hollis and the university administration have set forth expectations for this program that I fully support, and we have gone to great lengths to consistently educate all members of the football program on our standards of conduct. I expect all members of the football program to live up to those standards, and I’m doing everything necessary to help throughout this difficult process.
When the time is appropriate, I will be able to answer questions regarding our program and discuss our team. At this point in time, we have to respect the process of the investigations for everyone involved.”
-Football Coach Mark Dantonio