At face value, it would seem to be my alma mater once again "mooning a pit bull"; they have claimed, apparently in contradiction to Michigan's mandatory reporting law, that their counselors are not mandatory reporters. The lawyers are citing MSU policy defining a category of counselors as "confidential sources" who apparently are not "MSU employees."
The response would seem obvious--counselors working under the aegis of the "MSU counseling center" are indeed representing MSU, and state law overrides MSU policy in any case. And if they are not MSU employees, are they unpaid? You've got to question MSU's sanity if they're not paid--quality will suffer--and again, if one goes to the "MSU counseling center", exactly whose employees are they if they are paid?
On the flip side, there is one thing that can override state law, and that is federal law, specifically laws like Title IX. I have to wonder if MSU is, rightly or wrongly, under the impression that Title IX allows this loophole. And as much as I dislike what MSU General Counsel Bob Young has done there, he's a former Michigan Supreme Court justice and was on President Trump's short list for the U.S. Supreme Court. He's no legal dummy by any stretch of the imagination.
Could it be that this is yet another place where Title IX or other federal laws create a loophole for universities to protect their sportsball programs by putting "ringers" in counseling programs to evade reporting responsibilities? Time will tell, but if there is anything to this, it's horrific.