‘U’ begins process to fire professor accused of sexual misconduct

Saturday, July 20, 2019 - 10:12am

The University of Michigan starts the process of firing School of Music, Theatre and Dance professor David Daniels.

The University of Michigan starts the process of firing School of Music, Theatre and Dance professor David Daniels. Buy this photo
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The University of Michigan started the process to fire School of Music, Theatre and Dance professor David Daniels in April, MLive reported on Thursday. 

Daniels has been placed on paid leave since August 2018 after baritone singer Samuel Schultz accused Daniels and his husband of raping Schultz in 2010. In January, Daniels and his husband were charged with second-degree criminal sexual misconduct in a case still ongoing.  

Since Daniels began his leave of absence, numerous University students have come forward with claims of sexual misconduct by Daniels. One of those students, SMTD graduate student Andrew Lipian, is currently pursuing a lawsuit against Daniels for sexual assault. Lipian also accuses the University of neglecting to address student allegations against Daniels. 

Previous Daily reporting found the University awarded Daniels tenure in May 2018, despite the University’s Office of Institutional Equity first learning of Daniels’ alleged sexual misconduct in March 2018. 

When the Daily asked how far along the termination process is and how long the process is estimated to take, University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen said the University does not discuss personnel matters. Broekhuizen also declined to comment on whether Daniels will continued to be paid during termination proceedings. 

Broekhuizen did confirm Daniels’ cased is classified as a matter of “general university concern,” which invokes subsection five of section 5.09 of the bylaws regarding termination. According to the bylaws, SACUA’s Subcommittee on Tenure will serve as a hearing committee to “promptly” investigate the case and file a written report. 

If the affected faculty member finds the hearing unfair, they may request a review of the hearing. If they do not make this request, or if the review finds the hearing sound, the case goes to the president, who prepares recommendations to bring to the board of regents for final action. 

In May, the University was ordered to turn over internal sexual misconduct files relating to Daniels for the Lipian lawsuit. The files detail more sexual misconduct allegations than those already publicly reported, as the University’s Office of Institutional Equity interviewed several witnesses who also described sexually inappropriate behavior by Daniels.

Witnesses said Daniels made sexually inappropriate jokes, commented on students’ bodies and attractiveness and speculated about students’ sexualities. Daniels’ behavior was known among students and some faculty, other witnesses shared. 

The University declined to provide witnesses’ names for the lawsuit, citing privacy concerns.

On Monday, Lipian’s attorney Deborah Gordon filed a motion requesting the federal court require the University to disclose the names of witnesses involved in the investigation into Daniels.

“The student witness statements found in the OIE files show that other students in (Lipian’s) programs and in the university at large experienced similar harassment by David Daniels,” the motion reads.