Starting this week, the University of Michigan will begin reaching out to former students who were present during the late Robert E. Anderson’s time as a campus and athletic team physician. Former students who have experienced sexual misconduct by Anderson will be asked to speak with investigators from the WilmerHale law firm as part of their independent investigation.
The University will be sending out both emails and U.S. postal service mail to a total of over 300,000 former students who attended the University between the mid-1960s and early 2000s.
In the letter, University President Mark Schlissel asks University alumni to report any experience they may have had with the former physician. Any identifying or confidential information, Schlissel wrote, will be protected and not shared with the University.
“I am writing to ask you to come forward and speak to WilmerHale if you had any experience with Anderson you wish to report or if you have any other information you believe may be relevant,” Schlissel wrote. “Safeguarding the confidentiality of Dr. Anderson’s former patients is of paramount importance. Accordingly, WilmerHale will not disclose any identifying or confidential patient information to the University, and the identity and confidentiality of Dr. Anderson’s patients will be protected from disclosure to others to the fullest extent permitted by law.”
In mid-February, the University set up a hotline for any former Anderson patients who believed they were subject to sexual misconduct to come forward. This second wave of outreach is part of an ongoing investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Anderson during his time at the University. The formal investigation against the doctor was launched in 2018, after a University athlete in the 1970s wrote to Athletic Director Warde Manuel, accusing Anderson of sexual misconduct during medical examinations.
The independent investigation led by WilmerHale is expected to release a public report at the end of its investigation, according to Schlissel.
“When it completes its investigation, WilmerHale will issue a public report,” Schlissel wrote. “The report will include a full accounting of Anderson’s conduct, a discussion of any institutional failings that may have allowed him to harm others, and recommendations for preventing what Anderson is alleged to have done from happening ever again.”
Summer News Editor Kristina Zheng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.