Wolverines Form Office to Handle Sexual Misconduct

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The University of Michigan has created an office dedicated to investigating claims of sexual misconduct on campus.

The move is aimed at providing support for victims and offering education, with the broader mission of addressing civil rights issued and other categories of discrimination.

"We really need to promote a climate on campus where people feel safe and there's mutual respect and they feel supportive so they can thrive," President Mark Schlissel told The Associated Press.

In a separate move, supervisors will now be prohibited from starting romantic relationships with subordinates. An investigation found that Martin Philbert, the chief academic officer, harassed graduate student and staff and had sexual trysts on campus before being fired in 2020.

"What we learned from that episode is power dynamics often underlie episodes of misconduct, even serial episodes of misconduct," Schlissel said.

The new office will have a much larger staff and will replace the Office of Institutional Equity.

"It's taking an office that was just focused significantly on investigation and broadening it to include care and support and prevention and education," Schlissel said. "Those activities were in different parts" of the campus.

The move comes as the school is embroiled in scandal after hundreds of men have come forward saying they were assaulted by Dr. Robert Anderson who worked at Michigan for three decades until 2003. Anderson died in 2008.

Both football coach Bo Schembechler and athletic director Don Canham have been accused of knowing about Anderson’s misconduct but failing to do anything about it.

The university is currently in mediation with lawyers for Anderson’s victims over a potential settlement.

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