Spartans question 10 month delay in Tucker suspension

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 9:04 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Questions tonight, aimed at why it took Michigan State University ten months to suspend Mel Tucker.

Brenda Tracy filed a complaint against Tucker with MSU last December. However it wasn’t until a USA Today report released Sunday morning, the university acknowledged the investigation and pulled Tucker from his coaching duties.

News 10 spoke with a title nine lawyer today, and she says this is a complicated case with a 106 page report, thousands of pages of evidence, and high profile individuals.

She says for Title IX cases where the accused is not high profile, not very many people would have information about the case. She says that’s the difference between Title IX and the court of law: Title IX is not open to the public.

However, She says given Tucker’s role in the community, his power, and the populations he had access to, she believes someone should have given university administration the full details of the accusations, much sooner.

“What strikes me most, is that, that there was no decision to do any sort of suspension until it came out publicly. That’s the concern I have, or at least that’s the part that’s striking to me.” said Simon, “So, they’re left appearing as though they’re only responding to the public knowing, so they’ve really lost some trust by that delay.” said Cari Simon, a Title IX Attorney with Fierberg National Law Group.

For keeping December 2022 allegations against Mel Tucker behind closed doors, Michigan State University is under fire. It’s raising questions for Simon, such as why was there not immediate effort from those who received the complaint, to protect those who could be in harms way.

“I think it’s about being obligated to tell anyone that could be at risk, right like that’s part of the population. In fact, there’s a whole other law called the Cleary act, that’s about informing the public of risks, that are um, of reports of harassment and assault.” said Simon.

She says the school was thorough in quickly hiring a respected 3rd party investigator. MSU also increased oversight of Tucker’s activities. However, she says if the university could do something Sunday, why not do it sooner?

“There’s regulations that govern what those proceedings look like, and schools have their own sub-set of rules, and you know processes could take between 3 months and 10 months. That’s not un-common, and this one seems like a complicated case.” said Simon, “There is like sort of an expectation, a set of rules, a process, that they’re following step by step. You know every step has to be done thoroughly. So the balance between thorough and timeliness, is in tension to be frank.”

She says most survivors don’t speak out at all, and are even less likely to speak out against a high profile individual. She says that’s what makes Title IX important: giving anyone on a college campus the right to report sexual violence in a non-public way, as well as the right to a fair disciplinary proceeding.

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