Philbert retires from ‘U’ position amid sexual misconduct investigation

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 1:05pm

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Martin Philbert, the former University of Michigan  provost who was removed from his executive position in March over sexual misconduct allegations, will step down from his tenured faculty position June 30, according to the University Record.

Philbert was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 21. According to an email sent to the campus community by University President Mark Schlissel, these allegations were first reported to University administration on Jan. 16, prompting a three-day investigation by an outside law firm and the Division of Public Safety and Security before Philbert was placed on leave on Jan. 20. 

An investigation by the law firm WilmerHale is ongoing. Once the investigation is completed, findings will be made public, according to the University Record. 

According to the release, Philbert announced his tenure resignation in a letter addressed to Schlissel on June 7.

Sarah Prescott, an attorney representing eight alleged victims of Philbert’s sexual misconduct, wrote in a statement to The Daily that Philbert was twice promoted despite “repeated credible reports” and a legal settlement related to sexual misconduct. 

“When the book of #metoo is written, Martin Philbert, Mark Schlissel (current UM President), Ken Warner (former SPH Dean), and Phil Hanlon's (former Provost) names ought to be on page 1 of Chapter 1,” Prescott wrote. “These men knowingly protected and twice promoted Martin Philbert despite repeated credible reports and even a legal settlement related to his sexual mistreatment of women. President Schlissel has assured this community there was no notice of any sort of sexual misconduct ‘whatsoever’ until January. That is simply untrue, and this community is entitled to an honest accounting of how Philbert was allowed to perpetrate unlawful and abusive behavior and be promoted repeatedly.”

Prescott’s clients released a statement to The Daily regarding Philbert’s resignation.

“Dr. Philbert's resignation speaks volumes to anyone who may have been afraid until now to report what they know,” they wrote. “We hope they will speak out, as we have done.”

Summer News Editor Calder Lewis can be reached at calderll@umich.edu.