LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan State University Trustee Dianne Byrum is calling on the university to investigate allegations the identity of the accuser in the Mel Tucker investigation was leaked to the media.
“I am disturbed and outraged by recent reports indicating the name of a claimant in a sexual harassment investigation was intentionally released in an apparent effort to retaliate against her,” Byrum’s statement reads in part. “We should unequivocally condemn attempts to silence or retaliate against victims.”
The statement comes after Brenda Tracy, a university contractor, sexual assault prevention educator and rape survivor, claimed Wednesday her name had been leaked to the media.
The leak led her to green-light a USA Today reporter to publish her story well before she had planned on it. She says she was planning to tell her story only after the university process had been completed.
University officials suspended Tucker without pay Sunday after the report was published. They say they were unaware of the specifics of the allegations until the newspaper published them.
Tracy filed a complaint accusing MSU Football Coach Tucker of sexually harassing her in December 2022.
An outside investigator completed an investigation into the allegation on July 25. That report provided information that Tucker had engaged in masturbation while having a phone conversation with Tracy. He says it was consensual, she says it was not.
6 News confirmed the allegations were being investigated as a violation of the university’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy, rather than as a violation of federal law prohibiting gender discrimination in educational settings.
Using the policy allows the university to investigate and punish a broader range of behaviors not covered by federal law, including situations that don’t arise directly from an educational situation.