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COVID-19: Information from SPA/OSP/CGA

General MSU Process for Notification to the Sponsor of Harassment

Currently, four sponsors that MSU works with have issued reporting requirements related to sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault:  NSF, NIH, NASA, and Simons Foundation.  Although the definitions and processes are similar, the specific timing and requirements differ by agency.  The general steps of MSU’s process to notify sponsors are listed below, with differences noted where applicable.  This process is subject to change.  For information specifically related to MSU’s process for notification to the NSF, please see the MSU Process for Notification to the NSF of Harassment webpage.

  1. Reports of incidents and associated administrative actions:
    1. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) notifies Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs (FASA) and unit leaders of any reported violations of the Anti-Discrimination Policy (ADP) or Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy (RVSMP) involving faculty/academic staff as a respondent, including matters that may require interim or adminisrative action.
    2. Unit leaders notify FASA of concerns about harassment, bullying, retaliation, or hostile working conditions not covered under the RVSMP or ADP (e.g., not based on a protected category), and, in consultation with FASA, determine:
      1. Whether an administrative action (e.g., interim employment action) is required; and
      2. Whether the employee is named on an award from a sponsor with a harassment reporting requirement [1] (suggest that unit leaders determine this from Kuali Research (KR) data through a Business Intelligence (BI) report used to complete Form D [2]).
    3. If an administrative action is required and the employee’s role on the award requires reporting, per the sponsor’s guidelines [3]:
      1. Within two (2) business days of administrative action, FASA contacts Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)/Contract and Grant Administration (CGA) Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) to determine if the award was issued or amended after the sponsor’s implementation date for reporting requirements [4].
        1. OSP/CGA AOR responds to FASA within two (2) business days on applicability.
      2. If the award is subject to the sponsor’s notification provision:
        1. FASA communicates with designated OSP/CGA AOR [5] within five (5) business days of the unit leader placing the employee on administrative leave or imposition of administrative action on applicable awards, provides the summary information needed for the necessary reporting to the sponsor, including the date of the administrative action, and provides the unit leader contact [6].
        2. The OSP/CGA AOR notifies the sponsor within 10 business days of administrative action.
        3. OSP/CGA informs FASA when notification to the sponsor was completed, and FASA/unit leader shares with the affected employee.
  2. Findings or determinations and/or associated administrative actions:
    1. OCR notifies FASA and unit leaders of any findings or determinations of a violation(s) of the RVSMP or ADP by faculty/academic staff within two (2) business days.
    2. Unit leaders, in consultation with FASA:
      1. Consider action to be taken subject to applicable appeals; and
      2. Determine early whether the employee is named on an award from a sponsor with a harassment reporting requirement (suggest that this is determined using KR report used to support completion of Form D [2].
    3. The Equity Review Officer (ERO) notifies FASA and unit leaders of the exhaustion of the appeal process within two (2) business days.  Specifically, within two (2) business days after the expiration of the time to appeal, the ERO will notify FASA and unit leaders of whether an appeal was submitted.  If an appeal was submitted, the ERO will provide FASA and unit leaders a copy of the decision on appeal no later than two (2) business days after the decision is issued.
    4. If the employee is a named on an award from a sponsor with a harassment reporting requirement:
      1. Within two (2) business days of final determination, FASA will contact OSP/CGA AOR to determine:
        1. If the award was issued or amended on or after the sponsor’s implementation date for reporting requirements [4] and thus has the notification provision, and 
        2. If the employee’s role on the award requires reporting, per the sponsor’s guidelines [3].
      2. OSP/CGA AOR will communicate back within two (2) business days to FASA on applicability and whether multiple investigators.
      3. If the award is subject to the sponsor’s notification provision:
        1. FASA and unit leaders notify OSP/CGA AOR [5] within six (6) business days of the exhaustion of the appeal process (note six days is inclusive of ERO’s notification timeframe), FASA provides information needed for the necessary reporting to the sponsor and provides the unit leader contact [6].  FASA/unit leader notifies employee that MSU is notifying the sponsor.  Coordination with the college may be needed if the project has multiple investigators.  
        2. OSP/CGA AOR notifies the sponsor within 10 business days of the exhaustion of the appeal process.
        3. OSP/CGA informs FASA when notification to the sponsor was completed, and FASA/unit leader shares with the employee.
        4. **If discipline or administrative action occurs after the initial reporting of the violation and the employee is still a named person on an applicable award, repeat the notification.  FASA and OSP/CGA AOR must coordinate to ensure that FASA notification to the employee reporting discipline to the sponsor is before or on the same day as the reporting to the sponsor per Michigan Law (Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act).

Other action: 

It is likely that additional action will need to be taken by the unit and OSP/CGA pursuant to other sponsor terms and conditions.  For instance, units will need to work with OSP/CGA if a change in project personnel needs to be requested or with the Office of Research Regulatory Support, if there would be an impact to regulatory protocols, such as humans or animals.


[1] So far, four agencies that MSU works with have issued new reporting requirements related to sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault:  NSF, NIH, NASA, and Simons Foundation.  Notification and approval in some circumstances is required with additional Federal sponsors as specified by excerpt from CFR 2 § 200.308 Revision of budget and program plans:

(c) For non-construction Federal awards, recipients must request prior approvals from Federal awarding agencies for one or more of the following program or budget-related reasons:

(1)  . . .

(2) Change in a key person specified in the application or the Federal award.

(3) The disengagement from the project for more than three months, or a 25 percent reduction in time devoted to the project, by the approved project director or principal investigator.

[2] Initially, the determination can be made from KR data provided to support completion of Form D, which as of October 2018 is provided through Report RA026 and RA028 in the Business Intelligence & Analytics Portal of MSU’s EBS.

[3] Different agencies/sponsors have different specifications as to what roles the reporting requirements apply to:

  • NSF:  PIs and Co-PIs
  • NIH: PD/PI and other named senior/key personnel
  • NASA:  PIs and Co-Is
  • Simons:  PIs and all other members of the research team

[4] Agency implementation dates for reporting requirements are listed below:

  • NSF:  10/22/2018
  • NIH:  6/11/2020
  • NASA:  4/9/2020
  • Simons:  4/6/2020

[5] Currently, FASA should send notification to:  SponsorEquityReporting@spa.msu.edu.  It is anticipated that the AOR may vary depending on the stage of the associated awards, with OSP handling pending info on a pending proposal for new awards and CGA handling postaward notifications.

[6] The unit must provide FASA the name of a unit designee who can consult with OSP/CGA and the sponsor on: (1) safety and security of others working on the project; (2) impact of administrative action on the project; and (3) what steps must be taken to advance the science and continue the project.  FASA will communicate the unit contact and the information required for the form to the AOR (in OSP/CGA).  

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