Listening to the Anderson survivors

Oct. 19, 2021

We hear the survivors of the late Dr. Robert Anderson’s abuse and we thank them for their bravery in coming forward. We are deeply sorry for the harm caused by Anderson.

We appreciate all of the ways in which survivors have shared their very personal stories, including through public comments made during meetings of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, the ongoing protest on campus, in news media reports and by sharing details with the WilmerHale investigators.

We also are working toward fair compensation for the Anderson survivors through the confidential, court-supervised mediation process that is continuing.

At the University of Michigan we are working every day to make our campus safer for every member of our community:

ECRT formation: The new Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office is taking shape with expanded resources dedicated to support and prevention while continuing to investigate allegations of misconduct and discrimination. It was officially formed Aug. 1.

A new deputy coordinator for civil rights and Title IX outcomes started work Oct. 1 and one of two additional equity specialists started Oct. 18. Equity specialists will be part of a team to improve coordination of supportive services to all who report misconduct and to serve as a resource to all parties from initial intake through resolution.

Searches also are under way for a deputy Title IX coordinator for Michigan Medicine and the director of the Prevention, Education, Assistance and Resources division. The PEAR director will lead a team designed to better coordinate the delivery of services, even when those services are outside of ECRT.

Annual reports: The university’s Title IX coordinator will continue to produce an annual report detailing the university’s response to reports of prohibited conduct involving students, employees or third-party vendors. The fiscal year 2021 report is expected later this fall.

Culture change: A campuswide working group on culture change is leading an effort to “create an environment of mutual respect and accountability that is free from retaliation, where everyone can feel safe to report misconduct and feel supported throughout the process.”

Ethics and compliance: The university has committed to examining its compliance and ethics function across the university and considering whether it is aligned with best practices around the country.

Emeritus revocation: In July, the university revised its policy on emeritus status for retiring faculty members to include, for the first time, a process to revoke that status from faculty members for misconduct or other compelling circumstances.

Reporting channels: The university’s website was updated over the summer to improve access to ways in which sexual or gender-based misconduct can be reported to police or to the university.

Romantic relationships with learners: Faculty members are prohibited from having romantic or sexual relationships with undergraduate students on any of the three U-M campuses following significant revisions to the university’s policy on faculty-student relationships implemented in 2019.

Supervisor-employee relationships: In July, the university put in place a best-practices policy that prohibits supervisors from initiating or attempting to initiate an intimate relationship with anyone they supervise.

Title IX advisory group: The Title IX Coordinator has established an advisory committee of students, faculty and staff to provide perspectives and input on policies, procedures, prevention efforts and other matters related to sexual and gender-based misconduct.

Updated policy in place: The university this fall finalized policy and procedures for addressing sexual and gender-based misconduct that will add consistency by applying to all students, faculty, staff and third parties across the entire university community. The U-M Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct, Standard Practice Guide 601.89, employee procedures and student procedures, all went into effect Oct. 1 on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses, including Michigan Medicine.