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The Office of Institutional Equity released two annual reports related to faculty and staff sexual misconduct and prohibited student conduct Monday. Both reports reveal decreased numbers of sexual misconduct claims submitted to OIE.
Since 2013, OIE has published annual reports on student sexual misconduct to disclose information about how many instances of sexual misconduct are reported to the University each year. Last year, OIE began releasing an additional annual report on instances of sexual misconduct perpetrated by faculty, staff and third parties.
The University’s sexual misconduct policy, and OIE’s handling of sexual misconduct cases, have been under debate for more than a year. This past January, the University amended its sexual misconduct policy to incorporate an in-person hearing after the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a student must be given an opportunity to cross-examine the accuser. The University has also spent $1.6 million defending against the Doe v. Baum lawsuit, which alleges the University’s policies violate due process of those accused of sexual misconduct.
The report on prohibited student conduct found that between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, OIE received 272 reports of actions labelled “prohibited conduct” — 126 of which were sexual assault claims. According to the University Record, this is 23 fewer sexual assault claims than were reported last year. In total, the number of reports decreased slightly from 277 last year to 272 this year.
In October, the results of a campus climate survey and a Division of Public Safety and Security report found differences in rates of sexual misconduct for minority students, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community and students with disabilities. The DPSS report also noted the number of reported on-campus sexual assaults increased in 2018 from previous years.
In the report, OIE also discusses how reports were addressed and offers educational and preventative measures to counter sexual misconduct. Jeffery Frumkin, associate vice provost and interim senior director of OIE, told the University Record more information about how to report instances of misconduct have changed reporting patterns in the past few years.
“We believe that the dramatic increase in reporting last year and subsequent decrease this year represents stabilization of reporting following the significant attention and raised awareness at U-M of these issues and how to report concerns,” Frumkin said.
When contacted by The Daily, a representative from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center declined to comment on the report on behalf of SAPAC.
The report on faculty and staff sexual misconduct also revealed a decrease in the number of reports from the year before. In the fiscal year 2019, 178 reports of misconduct by faculty and staff were submitted to OIE, while 235 reports were made last year. In the report, Frumkin said as the University works to create an umbrella policy for students, faculty and staff, they will most likely begin publishing only one report discussing all claims in the future. In October, the University officially released its draft umbrella policy.
In an email to The Daily, University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen said these reports are released each year to make issues of sexual misconduct, and the University’s response to these claims, more widely known across the University.
“We share this information in order to be transparent, to acknowledge that these behaviors occur within our community, and to show how the university responds to sexual misconduct,” Broekhuizen wrote.