Schlissel recommends music professor be fired for sexual misconduct

Monday, March 23, 2020 - 2:58pm

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel has recommended that School of Music Professor David Daniels be fired over sexual misconduct allegations.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel has recommended that School of Music Professor David Daniels be fired over sexual misconduct allegations. Buy this photo
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In a University of Michigan Regents Communication dated March 26, University President Mark Schlissel ordered the immediate dismissal of former Music, Theater & Dance professor David Daniels. The order also states that Daniels is no longer eligible for severance pay, meaning he will not be paid after being terminated by the University.

“I have determined that Professor Daniels’ conduct is inconsistent with the character of tenure at the University of Michigan and therefore constitutes cause for dismissal under Bylaw 5.09(1),” Schlissel wrote. “I therefore recommend the dismissal of Professor Daniels from his tenured position at the University of Michigan, effective immediately.”

Since allegations of sexual assault by Daniels were made public in August 2018, Daniels has been on leave from the University. A Michigan Daily investigation found that while the University had knowledge of allegations against Daniels in March 2018, they still awarded him with tenure in May. In July 2019, the University began the process of formally firing Daniels.

In order to streamline the process of firing tenured professors accused of crimes, the University created a faculty tenure bylaw working group in October 2019 tasked with recommending changes to Regents Bylaws 5.09 and 5.10. The two bylaws detail the University’s standard procedure in cases of faculty dismissal in addition to severance pay. 

At a faculty senate town hall in February, Sharon Glotzer, professor and chair of Chemical Engineering and chair of the faculty working group, said the group was meant to challenge existing policies related to severance pay and misconduct on the part of tenured faculty. 

“Our current bylaws also say that faculty receive full compensation until the 5.09 process concludes with termination, regardless of the aggressiveness of the alleged misconduct,” Glotzer said. “And in most cases terminated faculty members receive a year of severance pay. The issue is that our current 5.09 process has been applied to the type of egregious misconduct that was never meant to be afforded the protections of tenure in the first place.”

A Detroit Free Press report from February 24 found that the University was also aware of numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against former University Provost Martin Philbert and late University athletic doctor Robert Anderson. 

Allegations of sexual assault by Anderson spanning from the 1960s to the 1980s surfaced in February. Anderson was also accused by former student-athletes and patients of trading sexual favors for Vietnam War exemptions. In response to these claims, the University hired outside investigators Steptoe & Johnson to conduct an investigation into the allegations.  

On March 11, Philbert was removed from his position as provost after being placed on leave by the University on Jan. 21 due to multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. More than 20 women brought forth allegations of sexual misconduct against Philbert and a 2004 lawsuit found that he was alleged to have had an inappropriate relationship with a female researcher. 

In an email to the University community on Jan. 21, Schlissel reiterated his commitment to investigating these claims. 

“We take allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously, and our policy is clear: Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated in the University of Michigan community,” Schlissel wrote.

Daily News Editor Liat Weinstein can be reached at weinsl@umich.edu.