Tad DeLuca, a survivor of Dr. Robert Anderson, speaks as CSG convenes in the Michigan Union on Tuesday evening. Keith Melong/Daily. Buy this photo.

Content warning: sexual assault

The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government passed a resolution Tuesday night condemning the University’s response to sexual assault allegations against the late University athletic physician Robert Anderson. The resolution calls for the immediate termination of University President Mark Schlissel, supportive safe houses for sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors and a transfer of funds from the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Survivor Empowerment Commission to the survivors who have been camping outside of Schlissel’s house for the past few weeks.

The resolution also calls for the termination of current Assistant Athletic Director Paul Schmidt, Title IX Coordinator Elizabeth Seney and Executive Director of Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office Tamiko Strickman for their failure to carry out their duties in sufficiently addressing Anderson’s abuse. A lawsuit from March 2020 accused Schmidt of allegedly knowing of Anderson’s abuse but failing to speak up against him while he was employed by the University.

Strickman is currently a named defendant in multiple lawsuits from her former work with Title IX and the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska. These lawsuits accuse Strickman of mishandling cases of sexual misconduct, sex discrimination and civil rights at UNL.   

Since February 2021, over 1,000 reports of sexual abuse and hundreds of individual lawsuits have been made against Anderson. On Sept. 23, hundreds of former student-athletes and survivors of Anderson attended the Board of Regents meeting to protest the University’s handling of the allegations. A series of protests followed the meeting after protestors said the University did not formally acknowledge the survivors in attendance. 

Since Oct. 8, Jonathan Vaughn, former University of Michigan running back and Anderson survivor, has been camping outside of Schlissel’s residence and plans to continue doing so for 100 days. On Oct. 13, more than 100 protesters joined Vaughn in protesting against the University’s handling of the allegations against Anderson and to demand greater support and transparency for survivors.

Vaughn and fellow Anderson survivors Chuck Christian and Tad DeLuca spoke toCSG’s Assembly Tuesday evening to share their experiences, encourage students to tell their stories and address the University’s lack of accountability in sexual assault cases.

DeLuca said University officials and staff who were aware of Anderson’s misconduct failed to hold him accountable when he was a University physician, just as they fail to do so today.

“Something very important to know is that the University of Michigan knew,” DeLuca said. “Everybody knew. Athletes joked about it. Coaches joked about it. Just joked about it because there was no other way to deal with it. If we didn’t joke, we would cry.”

Vaughn said accountability and transparency are key when it comes to protecting the student body. He said it is clear that Schlissel ignores student voices.

“I’ve watched him go to work, and come home to work almost every day and I’ve never seen him once acknowledge a student or a professor,” Vaughn said. “And that’s hundreds of people that he walks by. And so, from an accountability standpoint, what point in time will the first two responsibilities of a president of (a) university (be) to protect and inspire the students and empower your professors to teach?”

Vaughn said student mobilization is integral for creating change and that students have the power to come together and rally for a Board of Regents that will reflect their voices. He said his main mission is to encourage students to use their voice, get in contact with the media and make the world listen.

“We need the students because when you are mobilized, historical things have changed in the world,” Vaughn said. “So I knew that our mission was not solely to get a meeting with the president, I didn’t really care about that. Our mission was so that a young woman on the second day I’m here doesn’t tell me she spends more time thinking about when she’s going to get raped or sexually assaulted than what is going to be her major on this campus.”

Additionally, the resolution calls on the University to create a program manager position within the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. The resolution asks that SAPAC hire a faculty member to design educational and preventative programs and evaluate the successes of new and current programs for this program manager role. 

Public Policy senior Emma Sandberg, who sponsored the resolution, said this part of the resolution is important to create successful preventative measures against sexual assault to ensure students feel safe on campus.

“We feel that it could be helpful to ensure that the prevention efforts are effective,” Sandberg said. “And so a number of us came up with having, for example, like a public policy professor, hold a position where they evaluate various programs and policies and campaigns implemented by SAPAC and just ensure that it’s effective and actually preventing sexual assault on campus.”

LSA and Engineering sophomore Allan VanZandt, another sponsor of the resolution, said the current training and educational content the University puts out about sexual assault awareness, ranging from online modules to in person trainings, are not sufficient for preventing sexual assault. 

“For any of you who have taken those online modules, or in person trainings, you are very aware of how much of a joke they’re treated by the students,” VanZandt said. “You can tell that the presenters are presenting something that they know is nonsense, and that they know doesn’t hold up to how the world works. So the person who is in the program manager position needs to be someone with expertise in strategizing about this kind of thing, and who knows what kinds of campaigns in a data driven sense can actually reduce those.”

The Assembly also passed a resolution advocating for a “Swipe-It-Forward” meal program at all dining halls on the Ann Arbor campus –– after holding it from the Oct. 26 Assembly meeting –– to address food insecurity on campus. The program allows students, faculty and staff with meal plans through MDining to donate a certain amount of meals and “guest swipes” for students without meal plans to request online when they are in need.

Daily Staff Reporter Vanessa Kiefer can be reached at vkiefer@umich.edu