Statement on Sexual Assault

MSU Ecological-Community Psychology Statement on Institutional Response to Sexual Assault

We in the Eco-Community Psychology program are appalled by the sexual assault and molestation committed by Larry Nassar. We are equally appalled by the culture of complacency at our institution that allowed his behavior to continue unchecked for decades. MSU leadership has consistently failed to show accountability for our university’s role in creating an environment in which liability concerns are prioritized over the safety and well-being of its students. We stand with survivors, both those victimized by Nassar and those whose perpetrators have not been held accountable, in calling for change across multiple levels and aspects of the university.

The field of community psychology recognizes the importance of structural factors in perpetuating systems of power and oppression, as well as the importance of analyzing social problems from multiple levels beyond individual actors. In addition to individuals being held accountable for their behaviors, we must also challenge the aspects of our institution that silenced survivors and failed to respond appropriately when survivors did come forward about their experiences. We commit to viewing perpetrators not as isolated “bad apples” or social deviants, but as a symptom of how our campus consistently fails to believe and support survivors of sexual assault and harassment, instead prioritizing the prestige of the university over transparency and accountability.

As a program, we commit to the following premises and actions:

1. We will recognize that gender-based violence intersects with multiple other forms of oppression, and that we must take an intersectional lens in our research and activism. At MSU, this means critically examining how the institution (as well as our own program) must improve supports for survivors of color and those who face multiple forms of oppression. This also means recognizing that recent events at MSU are not unique to our institution, but reflect a broader culture in which survivors are frequently disbelieved, silenced, and blamed for their experiences of assault, abuse, or harassment.

2. We will examine our program’s processes and culture surrounding sexual assault and harassment, including:
-    Assessing and reflecting on how we interact with undergraduate students in the classroom and the lab, and how we can create a culture that supports survivors and swiftly addresses discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, or any other social identity
-    Holding a series of Brown Bag workshops on ethics, MSU’s mandatory reporting policy, and responding empathically to disclosures of assault and harassment
-    Integrating an in-depth discussion into the Eco Program Orientation of ethics, sexual assault and harassment, and mandated reporting responsibilities
-    Committing to being supportive resources for students as faculty, mentors, teaching assistants, and research assistants

3. We will raise up the voices of those on our campus, such as the MSU Sexual Assault Program, MSU Safe Place, and many others, who have worked directly with survivors for years. We will listen to what they need, support their efforts, and follow their lead in calling for institutional change.

In Solidarity,
Students and Faculty of the Eco-Community Psychology Program

Below is a list of confidential and non-confidential local and national resources for survivors.

Local, Confidential –

MSU Sexual Assault Program 24 hour Crisis Line: 517-372-6666
Go to for a complete list of other resources.

MSU Safe Place
Relationship Violence & Stalking Program
Go to for more information.

MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services:
Go to for more information.

EVE (End Violent Encounters)
24 hour Crisis Line: 517-372-5572
Go to for more information on services provided.

Local, Not Confidential –

MSU Office of Institutional Equity

State & National, Confidential – Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault Website
Go to for information about Michigan supports and resources.

Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN)
24 Hour Crisis Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
24 Hour Online Hotline: Go to for more information.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
*Services also available in Spanish
24 Hour Crisis Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
24 Hour Online Hotline: