Office of Institutional Equity releases annual report of sexual harassment complaints made by faculty and staff

Monday, October 22, 2018 - 2:15pm

The University of Michigan’s Office for Institutional Equity released a report on Monday regarding University responses to reports of sexual harassment pertaining to staff, faculty and third parties during the past year. The report was the first to include details of sexual misconduct among faculty; annual reports on sexual misconduct among students have been released since 2014. In future years, there will be a single report released by OIE yearly, including all sexual misconduct cases for students, faculty, staff and third parties.

“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,” interim OIE head Jeffery Frumkin said in the report. “These behaviors have no place at Michigan, and we encourage every member of our community who has concerns about sexual misconduct to reach out.”

Frumkin has taken up the role as Title IX Coordinator after Pamela Heatlie stepped down last week. Frumkin also will serve as the associate vice provost for academic and faculty affairs and senior director for institutional equity for OIE. According to the University, efforts to find a permanent replacement for head of OIE will begin soon.

Counting reports made from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, OIE received 235 reports of sexual misconduct made by faculty and staff. 232 of these reports were addressed by OIE, while the other three were addressed by Human Resources under applicable collective bargaining agreements. Approximately 90 reports were addressed by OIE during the previous year, indicating a 161 percent increase in reports received this year.

The majority of reports — 53 percent — were addressed with a consultation, while only 11 percent of reports made resulted in an investigation.

According to the report, consultations are defined as “questions or reports that can be addressed appropriately without a review or investigation.” Of the 18 investigations completed at the time of the report’s release, seven investigations found no policy violation, five found inappropriate behavior (but not severe enough to be considered hostile) and seven were found to be policy violations.

Of the 10 corrective actions made by OIE as a result of these investigations, three instances resulted in termination of employment. In five instances in which OIE found a policy violation or inappropriate behavior, the respondent resigned. In two of these instances, the resignation occurred before the end of the investigation or before corrective action was enacted. In cases where the employee resigned, the employee is often not eligible for future University employment, according to the report.

During the past reporting year, OIE received 277 reports of sexual misconduct made by students, also seeing an increase in reports from the previous year  Of these reports, the majority of issues reported were related to sexual assault or sexual harassment, representing 49 percent and 28 percent of issues reported, respectively. Of reports made by students, only seven percent, or 20 cases, resulted in an investigation.

OIE is focusing on sexual misconduct education and training at the University, as the office’s programs have reached more than 4,000 individuals this past year. The University has also recently released a new Sexual Misconduct Reporting & Resources site, available for both students and faculty.