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Senate panel passes higher education budget – no penalties for MSU, new sexual assault reporting

Flickr User Emily Mathews

Michigan universities might have to report all campus sexual assaults to their governing boards.


The measure is, in part, a response to how Michigan State University handled complaints against former sports doctor, Larry Nassar. Multiple women say they reported that Nassar sexually assaulted them – but the school did nothing.

The MSU Board of Trustees has come under fire recently for saying it didn’t know about the complaints until after Nassar was arrested.

Tonya Schuitmaker is chair of the committee that passed the budget bill. She says school officials have to take responsibility.

“You can’t have a Board of Trustee or president saying I had no knowledge of that. When there’s you know, a hundred seventy-two hundred plus girls getting molested on your campus.

She says the committee discussed penalties for the school.

“To punish financially and monetarily Michigan State was really just going to punish the students at Michigan State, in terms of having tuition increase and that’s the last thing we want to do is punish students.”

Democratic Senator Curtis Hertel sponsored the measure.

“I want to make it clear from the Legislature that we want people to listen and the leadership of your university is going to know about any Title IX case you make. It’s not going to be swept under the rug, everyone is going to know, including the leaders at your university.”

The bill is, in part, a response to the evolving scandal at Michigan State University. The university is under investigation for its handling of sexual assault complaints. Multiple women say they reported former MSU doctor Larry Nassar to MSU officials – but they did nothing. Nassar is currently serving multiple decades in prison for sexual assault.