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Michigan State University launches investigation into Mel Tucker sexual harassment leak

Michigan State informs football coach Mel Tucker it intends to fire him for cause
Michigan State informs football coach Mel Tucker it intends to fire him for cause 02:44

(CBS DETROIT) - First came the bombshell allegations surrounding Michigan State University head football coach Mel Tucker, and now there are questions about who leaked the name of the complainant

Jones Day, a law firm out of Detroit, will handle the investigation, according to the university.

Last week, MSU Trustee Dianne Byrum called on the school to investigate who leaked Brenda Tracy's name. 

READ: Michigan State informs coach Mel Tucker it intends to fire him amid sexual harassment investigation

"I am disturbed and outraged by recent reports indicating the name of a complainant in a sexual harassment investigation was intentionally released in an apparent effort to retaliate against her," Byrum wrote in a statement. "We should unequivocally condemn attempts to silence or retaliate against victims."

Byrum went on to ask MSU to investigate the leak in an effort to reassure survivors about the process of coming forward. It's a move with which Michigan State professor Jake Lipton agrees.   

"I'm glad that the administration is pursuing an investigation into the leak," Lipton said. "I think that part's good. I think the thing that's not so good is the fact that the leak is occurring."

Lipton tells CBS News Detroit that he, too, finds the leak deeply troubling.   

"The ability for us to have an appropriate finding independent of the public eye is gone," he said. "So it's it's it's really disturbing, and I'm unclear why someone would want to do that to either the complainant or the respondent."

Lipton said it's the confidentiality that helps complainants feel safe coming forward, not to mention the additional attention makes it difficult to conduct an investigation without outside pressure.    

"Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault survivor, is now she's subject to the vagaries of the public when it comes to judging what's going on and taking sides in this, which is not what we need. And don't think either Mr. Tucker or Ms. Tracy deserve that," he said.

CBS News Detroit reached out directly to Byrum and to Michigan State's student body president for comment but did not hear back.  

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