Michigan State University was fined $4.5 million Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education for failing to comply with the Clery Act. In the wake of the report that found the school violated the law by failing to protect students from sexual assault, MSU’s Provost June Youatt resigned.
The more than fifty page report from the Department of Education mentions MSU Provost June Youatt several times for failing to act on information about sexual harassment and assault involving now convicted former MSU Dean William Strampel and former MSU doctor Larry Nassar.
In a statement from the University the new President called it “very clear that the provost and former president failed to take appropriate action.”
Emily Gerkin-Guerrant is a spokeswoman for the university. She said she can’t speak to why Youatt resigned only after the findings and fine.
“I can’t speak for the provost as to why the timing seemed appropriate for her now. She said in her note to the university that she thinks this is appropriate to allow the university to continue moving forward and we share that sentiment.”
Elizabeth Abdnour is a lawyer and former employee of the Office of Institutional Equity at MSU. She said she’s hopeful Youatt’s resignation will signify sexual assault and discrimination will be taken more seriously.
“I just think her being in that position and having allowed those things to go on and not having taken a strong disciplinary response on them sent a message that those were not issues that MSU took seriously.”
MSU will now be required to take corrective actions including hiring an independent Clery compliance officer and creating new systems of reporting to better protect students.