Former SMTD prof Stephen Shipps has retired

Sunday, March 24, 2019 - 8:16pm

Former SMTD professor Stephen Shipps recently retired from the University, according to the Office of Public Affairs.

Former SMTD professor Stephen Shipps recently retired from the University, according to the Office of Public Affairs. Buy this photo
Courtesy of University of Michigan

 

Former School of Music, Theatre & Dance professor Stephen Shipps, who has been accused by multiple former students of sexual harassment and misconduct, retired from the University on Feb. 28, 2019, according to an email to The Daily from University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen.

Shipps was placed on administrative leave shortly before a Dec. 10 article in The Daily was published detailing multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Shipps. They date back more than 40 years, during Shipps’s time at three separate institutions: the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Omaha Symphony.

Further reporting by The Daily uncovered a separate allegation against Shipps communicated to the University in October 2017. This complaint went unanswered by the University for over a year, according to a former student.

Shipps currently faces seven public allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment as published by The Daily: one of sexual assault, two of prolonged sexual relationships with teenage students, two of unwanted touching and two of sexual harassment.

In an email from Shipps to his studio obtained by The Daily in late December, Shipps stated he been placed on administrative leave for the winter semester, and that he would retire on May 31, 2019.

“Yesterday, I received a letter from Dean Gier thanking me for my years of service and placing me on Administrative Leave for the Winter Semester,” Shipps wrote. “We agreed that my retirement date would be May 31, 2019.”

The Daily was made aware of Shipps’s retirement in a routine search of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s website. Shipps’s faculty profile page was taken down, as was his name from the general Department of Strings page.  

Though University policy typically prevents comment on “personnel matters,” The Daily was able to confirm on Dec. 7 both the University Division of Public Safety and Security and Office for Institutional Equity were conducting investigations into Shipps.

In an email to The Daily, Broekhuizen confirmed the University’s investigations would continue despite Shipps’s retirement.

“A retirement does not have any impact on OIE or DPSS investigations,” she wrote in an email to The Daily. “Any open investigation would continue through to completion even in the event of the respondent no longer being on campus or retiring.”