Sexual violence on college campuses is a serious national problem, and universities and colleges around the country have been working to address the issue. Campuses are in the unique position to be leaders in developing coordinated awareness-raising, prevention and response efforts. So what are higher education institutions doing to communicate their efforts to address sexual assault and violence? How are they dealing with issues such as Title IX, the Clery Act and ongoing Department of Education investigations?

During this live broadcast, Kent Cassella, associate vice president for communications for Michigan State University, and Rick Fitzgerald, director of public affairs and internal communications for the University of Michigan, will discuss these topics and explain their communications efforts. This episode is produced in partnership with the Public Relations Society of America Counselors to Higher Education. PRSA CHE members are encouraged to participate to share their experiences.


This episode is sponsored by PRSA’s Counselors to Higher Education

Episode Host

Kent Cassella

Associate VP for Communications and Senior PR Strategist

Kent, a retired U.S. Army officer, has held a variety of leadership positions in government affairs and has directed media strategy around the world. Prior to joining the MSU team, he served as director of public relations at the United States Military Academy at West Point. A graduate of West Virginia University’s communications school, he also holds a master’s degree in journalism from Marshall University and an MBA from Touro University International. Kent is responsible for leading the development of university-wide media communications strategies, implementing media communications initiatives, measuring the impact of those initiatives, and collaborating to ensure strategic alignment with all communications activities.



Rick Fitzgerald

Rick is director of Public Affairs and Internal Communications at the University of Michigan. In that role he also serves as the primary public spokesperson for the university.

Rick joined the Public Affairs staff in 2009 after a long career in the news business, most of it with The Ann Arbor News. While at The News he directed the newspaper’s local new coverage, had the opportunity to launch two weekly newspapers and wrote a weekly column for more than a decade.  He was named associate director of public affairs in 2012 and in 2014 was named director. He graduated a very long time ago (1975) from Central Michigan University with a degree in journalism and English. In 2014 he completed a master of science in administration degree, also from CMU.

The Public Affairs team is a professional staff of five that handles crisis communications for the university, media inquiries for the central administration and communications planning for major university initiatives. The Internal Communications team also is a staff of five dedicated to the University Record, the official news source for the campus community. It publishes online daily, pushes out a daily email newsletter and offers a print edition weekly.