New Anti-Discrimination Policy Effective May 1

April 18, 2024

Dear Spartans,  

We are pleased to announce that the highly anticipated revised Anti-Discrimination Policy, or ADP, will take effect May 1.   

The ADP provides the framework for addressing discrimination, protected-identity harassment and related forms of retaliation within the university community. Its revision represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to advance civil rights and equity at MSU through improved policies. And, it is particularly fitting that it has occurred in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 

The Anti-Discrimination Policy, once under the governance of the MSU Board of Trustees, shifted to a university policy in September 2023. This adjustment facilitates alignment with MSU's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy and the university's DEI Plan and Report. Moreover, it enables more regular review and revision of the policy, emphasizing the significance of institutional frameworks that uphold principles of fairness, accessibility, and social justice.  

The redevelopment process began in 2022 and involved extensive community input from various stakeholders, including students, staff, faculty, campus partner offices, affinity groups, and academic governance. All input was appreciated and carefully considered in making changes to the policy. Through clear and updated identity definitions, standardized procedures, and a formal grievance process, we seek to ensure that every member of our community is aware of their rights and responsibilities under the policy, have a clearer understanding of how to navigate reporting incidents and know what types of protections and supports are available for incidents and retaliation.   

Throughout our many feedback sessions, we heard consistently from stakeholders expressing a need for educational outreach to help the MSU community gain a deeper understanding of the ADP. In response, the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, or OCR, has begun plans to utilize the successful strategies and supports inside the Prevention, Outreach and Education branch of OCR to build educational sessions. These sessions are planning to be offered in the academic year 2024-2025 and will be designed to build on the framework introduced in the DEI Foundations course. Together, these trainings not only enrich understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion principles but also establish a foundation for recognizing and addressing discrimination within our university community.  

Many stakeholders also asked that the ADP be expanded to prohibit “hate speech” and “bias incidents.” It's important to understand that speech protected by the First Amendment cannot, as a matter of law, be categorized as an ADP violation. However, this doesn't mean that the impacts of such speech should be overlooked. We strongly encourage reporting such incidents so that those affected can receive the support they need. Navigating what falls under free speech protections and what constitutes harassment can be incredibly complex. We urge individuals to report any speech or actions that cause concern, even if they believe it may be protected by the First Amendment.  

We strongly encourage all university community members to take the time to familiarize themselves with the revised Anti-Discrimination Policy. Frequently asked questions along with the investigation standards guide will be accessible for review on the OCR website as of May 1. Supervisors and administrators are advised to report any incidents that could potentially violate this policy. Our active engagement and adherence to these principles are essential as we work together to cultivate a culture of safety and respect for all.  

For matters that are currently being addressed inside an ongoing case, individual parties will be notified of this policy change and how it impacts or will not affect their case.  

Over the last year, OCR has focused on process improvement and policy updates outlined in the office’s strategic operations plan. The revision of the ADP concludes the fourth major policy revision. We extend our deep gratitude to the ADP workgroup and all campus stakeholders for their unwavering dedication over the past two years. Together, we have taken meaningful steps towards building a community that reflects our collective values.  

Should you have any questions or require further information regarding the ADP, please contact the Executive Director of Support, Investigations and Resolutions and Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator Eltaro Hooper, Ed.D. at or by phone at (517) 353-3922. 


With Spartan spirit,  


Laura Rugless, J.D. (she/her/hers) 

Vice President and Title IX Coordinator  

Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance  


Eltaro Hooper, Ed.D. (he/him/his) 

ADP Workgroup Co-Chair 

Executive Director and Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator 

Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance  


Mary Ann Ferguson, J.D. (she/her/hers)  

ADP Workgroup Co-Chair  

Assistant Dean for Diversity and Equity Services 

College of Law