Michigan State replaces its Title IX coordinator, cites 'personnel issue'

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley on Friday announced the college has replaced its Title IX coordinator, a position that oversees the university's sexual misconduct complaints.

Stanley said Nicole Schmidtke will temporarily be serving as MSU’s Title IX coordinator, replacing Tanya Jachimiak.

Jachimiak was hired as associate vice president for MSU's Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance in February of 2020 and also had the title of Title IX coordinator, according to her LinkedIn page.

Stanley gave no explanation for Jachimiak's departure from her role in the letter he sent to the campus community. 

MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant said Jachimiak's change in position is the result of a "personnel issue."

Guerrant said Jachimiak is still employed by the university but declined to comment further.

Jachimiak could not be reached for comment. 

She joined MSU after working as the Title IX and Section 504 coordinator at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and before that in a similar capacity at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"MSU is committed to the safety of each community member and has a policy in place that not only adheres to federal guidelines around Title IX but goes beyond the extent of what is required by law," Stanley wrote in the Friday letter. 

Stanley outlined several policies and how to make a Title IX complaint. He ended his letter with, "Together, our work toward meaningful cultural change continues."

Guerrant noted there is a standing agreement with the federal Office for Civil Rights to notify the campus community whenever there is a change of the Title IX officer. She added that all universities must follow the notification requirement to alert students and employees of the name and contact information for the Title IX coordinator.

"We have a wonderful staff to support people who reach out to file a complaint and need resources," Guerrant said. "None of that is changing. The people who are there are still there to help."

Schmidtke's new title was updated Friday on MSU's staff directory, but her LinkedIn profile listed her as Director of ADP Response and Investigations at the Office of Institutional Equitysince October 2020. Her profile notes she's been employed with the university for six years, previously serving as a senior investigator of bias response and institutional equity investigator. 

MSU faced numerous consequences for its handling of sexual misconduct complaints after sexual assault accusations emerged in 2016 against the now-imprisoned, former university and USA Gymnastics sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Allegations of sexual assault under the guise of medicine lodged against Nassar led to several investigations, including one conducted by the federal Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

In 2019, the U.S. Education Department fined MSU $4.5 million and required the university to overhaul its Title IX compliance procedures to prevent the sexual abuse inflicted on women at the school by Nassar.

The scandal led to two former MSU officials going to jail, and former MSU President Lou Anna Simon resigned from her position under pressure for how she handled the fallout.

MSU also reached a $500 million settlement with more than 500 women and girls.

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com