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MSU Interim President issues statement about Mel Tucker suspension

Headshot of Teresa Woodruff sitting in front of a grey background. She's smiling and wearing a white coat with a gold leaf broach.
Michigan State University
Teresa Woodruff became MSU's Interim President on November 5, 2022.

Teresa Woodruff says action to suspend Tucker was "necessary" and "not taken lightly"

Michigan State University Interim President, Teresa Woodruff, sent an email to the campus community Monday discussing MSU's commitment to being accountable and "creating solutions for a safer, more secure and more supportive university." Woodruff said, "it might feel as if we have fallen backward toward the MSU of old. Let me be clear: we have not. The MSU of today stands unwavering in its commitment to advancing a culture of support and acting with integrity, safety and respect for all."

This is an excerpt from her message:
"Upon being contacted by the claimant regarding Mel Tucker, MSU’s Office for Civil Rights immediately commenced a review and subsequent investigation, per university protocol, using a third-party investigator. Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller, members of the Board of Trustees and I were made aware in late December that there was a complaint. Upon the external investigator concluding their evidence gathering, their report was submitted to the parties of the case on July 25. In these cases, the investigator does not make findings or determinations, but instead refers the matter to a third-party resolution officer to hold a hearing. That formal hearing will occur on Oct. 5 and 6 – dates mutually agreed upon by the claimant, respondent and third-party resolution officer. This case is ongoing and will not conclude until there is a hearing decision and any potential appeals are completed.

From the outset, the university’s objective in the totality of this process has been and remains focused on conducting a fair, thorough and unbiased investigation and hearing. Interim measures were considered and implemented throughout the process, including increased monitoring and restrictions on Mel Tucker’s activities.

Our guiding principles are equity in process and confidentiality for all involved to protect the integrity of the investigation, while respecting and valuing the claimant’s and respondent’s right to share their stories. Throughout this process, we regularly evaluate the balance of privacy, safety and impact on the community. Confidentiality does not mean that steps were not taken.

In all cases, claimants and respondents are provided with a deliberative process to ensure the facts of the matter can be clearly understood. As there have been new developments before the hearing, including details of acknowledged behavior, Athletic Director Haller suspended Mel Tucker without pay. While this action was not taken lightly, it was necessary, appropriate and in support of the affected individuals and of the interests of our community."

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