SMTD professor on leave after sexual misconduct allegations arise
Samuel Schultz, a New York-based baritone, has accused School of Music, Theater and Dance professor David Daniels and Daniels’ husband Scott Walters, of sexual assault.
Daniels has been a member of the University of Michigan faculty since 2015, and Walters is the artistic director of Ann Arbor’s Out Loud Chorus. Both are regarded in the classical music world — Daniels as a countertenor and Walters as a conductor.
Schultz said the rape occurred in 2010, while he was a grad student at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Daniels and Walters invited Schultz back to their apartment after a party celebrating the Houston Grand Opera’s closing night of “Xerxes,” starring Daniels. After accepting a drink from the couple, Schultz said he lost consciousness and awoke the next day in their apartment, alone, naked and bleeding from the rectum.
Schultz refrained from speaking up at the time, he said, because he was worried it would create a serious setback for his career. He explained it was important for him to continue pursuing his passion, and so he ultimately focused on seeking personal treatment.
“I was still a graduate student and I was just starting out in a career in opera, and because of the level of fame of the perpetrators, there was a legitimate fear of destroying my career before it even started,” Schultz told The Michigan Daily. “They had taken so much from me. The idea that they would also take my career by some part of the industry silencing me was something I was unwilling to compromise.”
This year, with the rise of the #MeToo movement, Schultz gained the courage to go public with his story after learning Daniels made tenure at the University.
“We are now reclaiming power, reclaiming dignity, and I feel like we have enough of a dialogue going on as a country, that now is the time for people to come forward and say this happened to me, and I will not allow it to control me any longer,” Schultz said.
He filed a complaint with the University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security, who referred the investigation to the Houston Police Department. Houston police told the Daily News the investigation is active and no arrests have been made.
In an email statement to The Daily, University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen wrote the University is aware of the allegations and is reviewing them. She encouraged anyone with concerns involving sexual misconduct to contact the Office for Institutional Equity.
“At the University of Michigan, every report we receive, in whatever form, is taken seriously and is carefully reviewed for appropriate action,” Broekhuizen wrote. “We believe that no one should ever be subjected to discriminatory harassment or sexual misconduct. We are deeply committed to the creation and support of a safe and productive learning environment for all our students, faculty, and staff.”
Daniels has taken a leave of absence for the Fall 2018 semester and denies the allegations.
“At this time our only response is no response, as (Walters and I) deny all allegations,” Daniels wrote in an email to The Daily.
SMTD junior and Central Student Government representative Esther Lee said the allegations will be something on many SMTD students' minds this coming fall. Lee encouraged students feeling affected by the incident to seek help at Counseling and Psychological Services, including the CAPS counselor specifically for SMTD.
“It is something very much on my radar and a lot of students at SMTD also will feel very aware of the situation,” Lee said.
Schultz hopes his story will encourage other survivors to speak out about their experiences. To aspiring young singers at the University, or elsewhere, he says not to value the power of a teacher over their bodies or dignities.
“It’s important for each individual to know that there inherent value is far more important than any prestige of a teacher, or adviser, and if something like this, or some form of abuse happens, they absolutely should feel the power to come forward,” Schultz said. “These sorts of behaviors should not be tolerated, and the longer we keep them secret, the more rampant they’re allowed to become. In order to protect ourselves and others, we need to come forward in order to stop this.”