Following a lengthy investigation regarding the alleged sexual misconduct of University of Michigan professor David Daniels, the University’s attorney Brian Schultz has requested that the resulting findings compiled by the Office of Institutional Equity be sealed from the public. U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow is set to analyze the case on Sept. 24 in Detroit’s federal court, at which time he will decide whether or not the OIE’s report will be kept confidential.
OIE’s investigation of Daniels’s conduct commenced following an incident over a year ago in which Daniels’s former student, Andrew Lipian, claimed he was sexually assaulted and harassed by Daniels. The investigation came to a close on Sept. 3, and OIE reported their findings in a 40-page report. The findings were examined in court; however, both the prosecution and the defense have cited reasons they believe they should be kept private.
Lipian’s attorney Deborah Gordon issued a complaint disagreeing with the tone and nature of the report, particularly the work executed by OIE investigator and co-defendant in the lawsuit Elizabeth Seney. Gordon’s amended complaint admonished Seney for supposedly focusing on aspects of the evidence that called Lipian’s character into question.
“The recitations included material of an extremely personal nature that could be embarrassing and that will likely be made public, as they are aware,” Gordon said, according to MLive. “This exercise was procedurally needless, in that no finding as to sexual harassment was to be made. It was designed only to harm (Lipian); there was no other rational basis for this course of action as a matter of fact or procedure.”
Though University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen disagreed with Gordon’s claim that the report aimed to make it appear as though Lipian welcomed Daniels’s alleged assault and harassment, she announced that the University does not publicly share the OIE’s reports due to legal requirements put in place by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA mandates that the University protect the privacy of its students by not disclosing some of their personal information.
The report was compiled to inform a legal decision regarding the nature of Daniels’s past relationship with Lipian, and subsequently evaluate Lipian’s claim that Daniels engaged in misconduct. As of now, Daniels is on paid leave from the University.