University releases update on reports of sexual misconduct

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 5:39pm

 University President Mark Schlissel releases a statement on Tuesday, along with the Board of Regents, updating the University community on these reports of sexual misconduct.

University President Mark Schlissel releases a statement on Tuesday, along with the Board of Regents, updating the University community on these reports of sexual misconduct. Buy this photo
Maddie Fox/Daily

On Jan. 21, Martin A. Philbert, provost of the University of Michigan, was placed on administrative leave following several allegations of sexual misconduct. On Feb. 19, multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the late Dr. Robert Anderson, former director of University Health Service and athletic team physician, came to light. 

A Detroit Free Press article revealed the University administration had been informed about allegations against Philbert before his promotion to provost. Similarly, the University received claims of sexual misconduct against Anderson in 2018. 

University President Mark Schlissel released a statement on Tuesday, along with the Board of Regents, updating the University community on these reports of sexual misconduct. The report made no mention of Jason Mars, professor in the College of Engineering, who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior. Mars stepped down as the CEO of Clinc, his artificial intelligence startup, but remains in his position at the University.

Schlissel said an independent law firm is conducting an investigation into the accusations against Anderson and emphasized maintaining the privacy and safety of those who come forward.

“First, through an independent, external investigation team, the university will conduct an unflinching review of the facts — wherever they may lead — and will then provide to the public a full accounting of the harms caused to former patients by Anderson as well as any institutional failings that allowed him to keep practicing,” Schlissel wrote. “We promise to fully respect the privacy and confidentiality of witnesses as we do this.

The statement noted the investigation will jump off the previous police investigation that took place in 2018 after the University initially received these allegations. The redacted version of a 91-page report from this investigation has been made available to the public. 

Additionally, Schlissel discussed free counseling services that will be offered to those whose lives have been negatively impacted by Anderson. He noted the offer goes for those impacted by Philbert as well. 

“Second, as announced last week, the university is offering counseling services at no personal cost to anyone affected by Anderson,” Schlissel said. “We want these individuals to get the assistance and support they need to facilitate the healing process.”

Ultimately, Schlissel highlighted the importance of making sure the campus remains a place where community members feel safe at all times.

“All members of our community — students, faculty and staff — deserve to feel safe and supported,” Schlissel said. “We must remain vigilant in encouraging reporting, listening carefully to former patients who come forward and supporting all those who have been affected by sexual misconduct.

News Editor Emma Stein can be reached at enstein@umich.edu