Updates to the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy

Note: This email contains references to topics that may be triggering to members of our community. Find support.


Dear Spartans,

As we observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I am reminded of the critical importance of fostering safe and supportive environments within our community. This month holds particular significance as we reflect upon the impact of relationship violence and sexual misconduct. It is a stark reminder of the responsibility we bear in ensuring the well-being of everyone associated with MSU — it’s on every one of us. 

In my initial three months with the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, our primary focus has been on refining university civil rights policies. Robust, fair and effective policies serve as vital pillars of compliance, offering clear communication regarding expectations and accountability.  

While awaiting the publication of new Title IX regulations from the U.S. Department of Education, OCR has collaborated with campus partners and key stakeholders to make minor updates to MSU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX, or RVSMTIX, Policy. This proactive step ensures our policies remain current and aligned and clarifies the formal grievance process and changes to office and policy references. I extend my sincere gratitude to the policy work group for its dedication to shaping the future of our campus community.  

In alignment with our commitment to safety and awareness, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the updated RVSMTIX Policy and a step-by-step infographic depicting the incidence response and resolution process. Together, let us champion the values of respect, empathy and safety within our MSU community.  

As we delve into the revised RVSMTIX Policy, I want to circle back to the importance of this month — October — for raising awareness about domestic violence. It reminds us why having comprehensive policies surrounding relationship violence and sexual misconduct is not just a regulatory necessity but a moral imperative. And there is much more that MSU does apart from policies. Confidential resources like MSU Safe Place — the nation’s only on-campus domestic violence shelter — actively contribute to a safer and more supportive learning and working environment. Safe Place, which is now a program within Center for Survivors, does this by providing advocacy, emergency shelter, counseling, support groups, safety planning, information and referrals to survivors of violence and their minor children and by raising awareness in a number of ways. Each of these services is offered at no charge to members of the Spartan community.  

Let us also acknowledge the collective responsibility we bear as Spartans. It is crucial to cultivate an atmosphere that condemns acts of incivility, especially those targeting members of marginalized communities — a stance that echoes the very essence of our university’s values.  

As a reminder, under the RVSMTIX Policy and Anti-Discrimination Policy, MSU prohibits sexual harassment as defined by Title IX, relationship violence, sexual misconduct, stalking, and discrimination and harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran/military status and weight in its programs and activities. MSU also prohibits retaliation against those who report discrimination or harassment, or who participate in the university’s investigation and handling of such reports. This can be reviewed in the University's Notice of Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Non-Retaliation

Your well-being matters to us, and we are here to assist in any way we can. If you would like to report conduct that may be a policy violation, please contact OCR at ocr@msu.edu, utilize the Public Incident Reporting Form online, email oie@msu.edu, or call us at 517-353-3922 during office hours from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additionally, explore the wealth of resources at supportmore.msu.edu.  

Thank you for your unwavering dedication to advancing civil rights and fostering a campus community that values respect and safety for all.


Laura Rugless (she/her) 

Vice President and Title IX Coordinator 

Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance  

Michigan State University