Largest-Ever Clery Fine Levied Against Michigan State University

  • The U.S. Department of Education announced it will fine Michigan State University (MSU) a record $4.5 million and require the University to make major changes to its Title IX procedures following its systemic failure to protect students from sexual abuse.
  • The fine and required corrective action come after two separate investigations, one by the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) concerning compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) and the other by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in February 2018, as directed by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
  • The fine is based on four serious findings of Clery Act noncompliance:
    • Failure to properly classify reported incidents and disclose crime statistics
    • Failure to issue timely warnings in accordance with federal regulations
    • Failure to identify and notify campus security authorities and to establish an adequate system for collecting crimes statistics from all required sources
    • Lack of administrative capability
  • As a result of these findings, MSU must take corrective actions that include the following:
    • Employ an independent Clery Compliance Officer, who will report to a high-level executive;
    • Establish a new Clery Compliance Committee that includes representation from more than 20 offices that play a role in campus safety, crime prevention, fire safety, emergency management, and substance abuse prevention; and
    • Create a system of protective measures and expanded reporting to better ensure the safety of its student-athletes in both intercollegiate and recreational athletic programs. Similar steps will be taken to better ensure the safety of minor children who participate in camps or other youth programs that are sponsored by the University or that are held on its properties.
  • OCR conducted a separate Title IX directed investigation into MSU’s handling of reports of sexual violence against Nassar.
  • As a result of the investigation, MSU signed a resolution agreement to address Title IX violations. Examples of requirements include:
    • Make substantial changes to the University’s Title IX procedures and ensure that certain officials recuse themselves from Title IX matters; and
    • Address the campus climate around issues of sexual harassment and sexual violence, strengthen staff training, and assess the need for additional student services.