The University Insider is The Daily’s first faculty and staff-oriented newsletter. This weekly newsletter will give U-M faculty and staff the ability to see the most important issues on campus and in Ann Arbor — particularly those related to administrative decisions — from the perspective of an independent news organization. It will also provide a better understanding of student perspectives.
University of Michigan President Santa Ono announced his intent to establish an independent ethics, integrity and compliance office serving all three U-M campuses to restore trust in university administration at the October Board of Regents meeting on Thursday afternoon in Flint, Mich.
In the past several years, the University of Michigan has faced a number of sexual misconduct scandals, including allegations against former athletics doctor Robert Anderson, ex-Provost Martin Philbert and former lecturer Bruce Conforth. Former University President Mark Schlissel was also fired in January for having an “inappropriate relationship” with a University employee.
Having just taken over as president last week, Ono emphasized the importance of moving forward from the past and reforming how compliance and misconduct issues are handled at the University.
“I’ve heard the concerns about how we address compliance and prevent issues of misconduct on campus,” Ono said. “Over the next months, I will be listening to deans, executive officers, faculty, staff and the broader University community to help inform my decisions regarding this independent office. And I want to talk with those who engage in compliance work every day.”
The creation of the new office was recommended by Guidepost Solutions, an independent consulting firm hired by the University following the discovery of Philbert’s sexual misconduct. Currently, ethics and compliance are handled by the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel.
The office will report directly to Ono and his staff, as well as to the vice president and general counsel when necessary. Staff in the new office will also prepare regular reports for the Board of Regents, but the office will not have investigatory powers. Ono said he will work to develop a more thorough and specific framework in the coming months, which he will again present to the regents at a future meeting.
“I see this new office as an opportunity to widen our focus on an institutional basis, Ono said. “I want this new office to support the many efforts already underway and the staff who do this important work every day.”
Paul Brown (D), chair of the Board of Regents, said the office is just what the University needs to repair the relationship between U-M administration and the campus community.
“This type of action builds trust, and that’s what we need to do,” Brown said.
Daily Staff Reporters Riley Hodder and Irena Li can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.