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NSF Safe and Inclusive Environments


Policies, resources, and PI responsibilities:

Michigan State University is committed to fostering a safe, secure, and supportive environment for all.  The University strives to create and maintain a campus community that is free from sexual harassment and sexual violence.  The University also works to provide an environment free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation for all students and employees.

These values align with the NSF policy described in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (NSF 23-1) to foster safe and harassment-free environments wherever science is conducted. The NSF policy* requires that the University have a plan in place to address the following behaviors should they occur while off-campus or off-site research is being conducted:

  • Abuse of any person, including, but not limited to, harassment, stalking, bullying, or hazing of any kind, whether the behavior is carried out verbally, physically, electronically, or in written form; or
  • Conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly.

Each off-campus or off-site research project will meet this NSF requirement by following the MSU policies and procedures described below, as well as the project-specific portion of the plan set forth below.  Please see our Frequently Asked Questions webpage for additional guidance.  

*Two NSF Directorates, Biological Sciences (BIO) and Geosciences (GEO), have issued supplementary guidance requiring that a two-page supplementary document be attached to applications.  We anticipate PIs will be able to link to or summarize the information in the summary plan to support that requirement.  We also expect that there may need to be periodic updates to MSU’s plan guidance based on evolving information from NSF, and information on this page will be updated accordingly. 

NSF Principal Investigators are responsible for:

  1. Determining whether any “off-campus or off-site research” will occur on their NSF-funded award (see definition below).   Plans are only required for NSF proposals/projects containing research conducted off-site or off-campus.  PIs are responsible for ensuring that the correct box is checked on the NSF cover sheet relating to off-campus or off-site research. 
  1. Completing the project specific information in this form.  This completed document will serve as the project’s plan to ensure a safe and inclusive working environment for off-site research.
  1. Including a note within the Proposal Development (PD) document when a project has an off-site component.  When the off-site box is checked on the cover page of an NSF application, a note must be added to the PD to let the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) know that the plan has been developed and is on file with the department/college.  This will be required prior to OSP certification and submission.
  1.  Distributing this completed form (“the plan”) to everyone who will participate in an off-campus or off-site research activity prior to those individuals leaving campus to engage in the off-site or off-campus research.
  1. Retaining documentation of who received the plan (email or signed acknowledgement of receipt of plan is sufficient) and the plan itself in their grant files or in the departmental grant file. 

The plan should not be submitted to NSF or to SPA/OSP/CGA unless requested.  Plans may be re-used and re-distributed for multiple off-campus research activities within the specified project but must be updated for changes. 

NSF defines “off-campus or off-site research” for the purposes of this requirement as “data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork and research activities on vessels and aircraft.”

Crime or Emergency:

  • Emergencies: Call 911
  • Non-emergencies, crimes, or suspicious activity: Call MSU Police and Public Safety at (517) 355-2221
  • MSU Police and Public Safety anonymous texting: Text the word MSUPD along with a tip to CRIMES (274637)
  • MSU Police and Public Safety toll-free tip line: Call 844-99-MSUPD (844-99-67873) 

Relationship Violence, Stalking, and Sexual Misconduct:

Responsible Employees are required to promptly report to the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance (OCR) information about incidents or conduct that may be prohibited by the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy (i.e., relationship violence, stalking, sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation), and retaliation) that they observe or learn about in their working or professional capacity; and which occurred at a University-sponsored event or on University property or involves a member of the University community with respect to conduct that may have occurred while they were a member of the University community. For more information, please visit the Mandatory Reporting for Relationship Violence, Sexual Misconduct and Stalking Policy.

To report:

Harassment or Discrimination:

For more information, including the Anti-Discrimination Policy, please visit the OCR website at:

Child Abuse (Including Child Sexual Abuse, Child Sexually Abusive Material, and Child Pornography):

  • Emergencies: Call 911
  • Mandated Reporters under Michigan Law: Employees or volunteers who are defined as mandated reporters and who suspect child abuse or neglect must report to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (“MDHHS”), Child Protective Services (“CPS”) immediately by:
    • Calling 855-444-3911 with a verbal report and then filing a written report with MDHHS/CPS within 72 hours; or
    • Reporting online through the Michigan Online Reporting System.
    • Information about reporting abuse and neglect can be found under the Abuse & Neglect section of the MDHHS website.
    • After contacting CPS, notify MSU Police and Public Safety of the report.
  • All other employees: Contact MSU Police and Public Safety immediately at (517) 355-2221
    • MSU Police and Public Safety will file a report with MDHHS/CPS.
  • Allegations of sexual assault, including child sexual assault, related to a member of the university community (employees or student) must also be reported to OIE.
  • For more information, or to determine if you are a mandated reporter under Michigan law, please review the policies and procedures.

Behavioral Threat:

To report students, employees, or other individuals on campus who have engaged in behavior indicating a possible threat of harm to self or other members of the campus community:

  • Emergencies: Call 911
  • Non-emergencies: Submit a report to MSU’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Team via an online referral form.

Ethical, Policy, Compliance Violations or Other Misconduct:

Including but not limited to athletics misconduct, conflicts of interest, discrimination and harassment, employment misconduct, fiscal misconduct, hazing, medical and HIPAA violations, privacy violations, research misconduct, retaliation, safety, or other area of concern not specifically listed.

Student Misconduct:

Any member of the MSU community (employees and students) may file a formal complaint concerning the conduct of students whose behavior reportedly violated University policy:

  • Submit a report online to the Office of Student Support & Accountability (formerly the Dean of Students Office)
  • For a time-sensitive consultation, contact the Office of Student Support & Accountability at (517) 884-0789

Plan to Ensure a Safe and Inclusive Working Environment for Off-Campus or Off-Site Research

See below for a fillable PDF of the "Safe and Inclusive Working Environment" plan template.  If additional space is needed, a MS Word version of this template can be requested by emailing

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