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MSU Trustee calls for probe into leaked release of the identity of Mel Tucker's accuser

Dianne Byrum
Abigail Censky

A member of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees is calling on the school to investigate the intentional release of the identity of the person accusing head football coach Mel Tucker of sexual harassment.

MSU Trustee Dianne Byrum says she’s concerned the release of Brenda Tracy's name may have been retaliation for Tracy accusing Tucker.

In December, Tracy filed a Title IX complaint with MSU against Tucker. USA TODAY broke the story Sunday after Tracy gave the publication permission. She has said she did so because she learnedher name had been leaked to another media outletwithout her consent.

Now, Byrum is asking the university to investigate the incident. In a statement released Wednesday, she called the allegations troubling.

“We need to do everything in our power to ensure victims of sexual assault and abuse can come forward without fear or intimidation and have full confidence their identities and private information will be kept confidential,” she wrote.

Byrum said a thorough investigation would help MSU regain the trust of the Spartan community.

MSU Faculty Senate Chair Jack Lipton said he’s supportive of Byrum’s request.

“I think that the university has done its job and following its process, but there appears to be some bad actors out there and that needs to be rectified,” he said.

He said the faculty members he’s been able to speak with have also expressed their outrage at what has transpired since the story broke.

“Everyone’s extremely distressed about the allegations and how public comments by Mr. Tucker have come out,” he explained. “There's nothing good that can come from any of this.”

One Lipton’s most pressing concerns is how the leaking of Tracy’s name and the way the events are being covered in the media will affect the university’s presidential search.

“I’m very worried that we might make rash decisions regarding the presidency—when right now we really to focus on putting our attention on MSU as appropriate and normal functioning,” he said.

Tucker was suspended without pay less than a day after the story of Tracy’s complaint was published. A hearing at MSU is scheduled for early October.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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