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Michigan State University

A New Era of Civil Rights & Title IX Leadership at MSU

Michigan State welcomes Laura Rugless, a dynamic new leader to the forefront of its civil rights and Title IX efforts.

Michigan State University has welcomed a dynamic new leader to the forefront of its civil rights and Title IX efforts.

Driven by a passion for creating a safe and equitable environment for all, Laura Rugless brings a wealth of experience, fresh perspectives and a steadfast commitment to upholding civil rights and gender equality.

Stepping into this pivotal role, Rugless doesn’t just see it as a job, but as a calling. “MSU’s determination and continuous improvement to deliver on its civil rights and Title IX commitments drew me to this exceptional opportunity,” Rugless said. “I am humbled and excited to lead this dedicated team and work alongside campus partners as we do this important work together.”

Rugless, a U.S. Army veteran, has spent much of her career in public service, with more than 15 years in higher education and state and federal compliance work. Most recently, she served as the associate vice president for the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX, and formerly as the university Title IX coordinator at Cornell University. Prior to her time at Cornell, she was the executive director of equity and access services and Title IX coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University.

In this newly elevated role, which was transitioned from associate vice president to vice president of the university’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance (OCR), Rugless will be responsible for leading the institution’s civil rights and Title IX compliance, serving as the university’s Title IX coordinator and building upon MSU’s efforts to cultivate a university community free of discrimination and harassment. The position will oversee the Office of Institutional Equity; the Prevention, Outreach and Education Department; the Resolution Office; the Office of Support and Equity; the equity review officer; and the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator.

For Rugless, one of the key tenets of her approach is collaboration. Recognizing that real change requires a collective effort, she has already begun to forge partnerships across various departments, student organizations and community groups. Her inclusive approach aims not only to strengthen ties within the university but also to amplify the impact of MSU’s initiatives beyond campus borders.

MSU’s commitment to creating a more just and equitable campus serves as an inspiration and a testament to the power of visionary leadership.
OCR supports the campus community in creating and maintaining a safe environment and a culture of respect through educating all campus community members regarding how to prevent, identify, appropriately respond to and report discrimination, harassment, stalking, sexual assault and relationship violence; conducting impartial, fair, supportive, and equitable investigations of complaints under MSU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy (RVSM Policy) and MSU’s Anti Discrimination Policy (ADP); and connecting those impacted by discrimination, harassment, relationship violence, and sexual misconduct with campus and community resources.

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