Michigan State University gained infamy in August when two basketball players were accused of rape, and the Ingham County prosecutor decided not to prosecute since he claimed "no crime had occurred" — even though one of the assailants corroborated the survivor's story to police, admitting that the survivor's statements made it clear that she did not consent to sex. In line with the prosecutor's inaction, MSU administrators have also failed to take action regarding this case. Now, we of the Coalition Against Sexual Violence at Michigan State University want our university to be held accountable for taking real action to protect students from sexual violence and provide appropriate consequences for students who commit these acts of violence.
Only after storming the Administration Building on November 19th did Administrators agree to meet with the Coalition Against Sexual Violence. The Coalition has since met with the University's Title XI Coordinator and the interim vice president of the university twice; as a result, the Administrators have agreed to fund a campus-wide consent campaign and modified the University's sexual harassment policy. While the Coalition recognizes the strides the University has made, members still want the university to meet all their demands, including addressing the rape allegations involving two MSU basketball players, which administrators have refused to do.
On March 2nd, 2011 the Coalition Against Sexual Violence held a Day of Rage against sexual assault and rape culture, culminating in a peaceful teach-in at the Administration Building, where participants discussed rape culture, sexism, rape myths, victim-blaming, and consent dynamics, and ways to improve the atmosphere of misogyny on MSU’s campus. Students were then informed by University Administrators and the police that by the decision of President Simon, if they were to stay in the building after 6pm, they would be arrested. Four members of the Coalition Against Sexual Assault stayed and were subsequently arrested and charged with trespassing, resulting in over $750 in fines and criminal charges for all four students.
Students are outraged that administrators, and the university president in particular, were quick to denounce and punish the actions of students (mostly women) who speak out against rape and sexism, yet have remained silent and inactive, when it comes to students who commit rape and sexual violence.
You can lend your support to the Coalition Against Sexual Violence at Michigan State University by asking President Lou Anna K. Simon to meet the remaining demands of the students and to admit publicly that sexual violence is a problem that needs to be addressed at MSU.
*If you are an MSU student, alum, or faculty member, please sign with your MSU email address. Anyone is encouraged to sign in support, even if you're not a member of the MSU community!
The Coalition Against Sexual Violence's demands for President Simon:
1.We Demand that the university investigate all allegations of sexual violence on campus and/ or involving at least one MSU student. The University must adequately inform students of their right to take legal and/or judicial action in the event of a sexual assault. Additionally, the University must ensure that its judicial system is unbiased with regard to sexual assault cases and handles such cases with expediency.
2. Active and consistent effort on the University’s part to ensure that all students are aware of the legal, judicial, medical, emotional, psychological, and psychiatric resources available to them in the event of a sexual violation of any kind. Representatives of such resources, University affiliated or otherwise, must play an essential role in this effort.
3. The institution of a university policy declaring zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, or coercion. The Coalition Against Sexual Violence, as well as other student groups for which the elimination of rape is a key objective, must be consulted in the development of this policy.
4. The development of a safe campus initiative that aims to protect students from sexual assault. This initiative must include an investigation into the functionality of emergency “green lights” placed across campus and in University residence halls, which have been reported by members of ASMSU to function inconsistently at best.
5. Mandatory annual sexual assault education for student athletes and coaches. This program should be modeled after similar athlete education programs at other universities and developed in collaboration with the Coalition Against Sexual Violence and allied student groups.
6. We demand that the university match Coach Tom Izzo’s recent raise of $500,000 and devote that money to the new campus consent and anti-rape campaign.
7. We demand that the accused basketball players be removed from the basketball team and the university.
8. We demand that the university issue a public apology to the survivor (unnamed) and all survivors for their failure to act and speak out. Silence is betrayal.
9. We demand that Michigan State University President LouAnna K. Simon publicly acknowledge that sexual violence is a problem that needs to be addressed on MSU’s campus.