Reports of prohibited student conduct at the University of Michigan increased in fiscal year 2018 following continued efforts to enhance awareness of sexual misconduct and other interpersonal violence issues, and how to report concerns on campus.
The report, issued by the university’s Office for Institutional Equity, provides case-by-case outcomes of all investigations carried out by OIE under the direction of the university’s Title IX coordinator.
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“The university encourages every member of its campus community to report sexual misconduct to the university and, if the behavior is criminal in nature, to law enforcement. We are deeply invested in providing resources and support as well as addressing these issues through a fair and effective process,” says Pamela Heatlie, the university’s Title IX coordinator, senior director of OIE and associate vice provost for academic and faculty affairs.
OIE received 277 reports of prohibited conduct between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, an increase from 218 the previous year. There were 20 investigations in FY ’18, a decrease from 28 the previous year.
“We believe that this increase is the result of enhanced awareness on campus of these issues and how to report concerns,” Heatlie says.
The university is in the final year of its three-year, community education awareness campaign, “Support. Listen. Empower.,” which is designed to increase the university community’s knowledge of campus resources and reporting options, promote bystander intervention and encourage reporting to the university.
Of the 277 reports of prohibited conduct, 148 were concerns about sexual assault, followed by 85 about sexual harassment, 26 about stalking, 27 about intimate partner violence, four about gender-based harassment, three about retaliation, one violation of interim measures, and seven that were categorized as “other.”
There were 102 of the 277 reports that were determined not to fall within the scope of the university’s policy. Examples of reports that fall outside the policy include:
• Reports of behavior that, even if proven, would not constitute prohibited conduct.
• Reports of behavior committed by an individual unaffiliated with the university.
• The person reported to have experienced the behavior informs OIE that they have not experienced any unwelcomed conduct.
Of the 175 reports of prohibited conduct that fell within the policy, 152 were cases in which the claimant did not wish for an investigation to occur or OIE was unable to identify the claimant. Such cases are considered by a review panel consisting of university faculty and staff who have specific expertise to offer advice to the Title IX Coordinator on the appropriate response by the university.
Of those 152 reports considered by the review panel, 138 were closed for lack of information, five resulted in other action being taken to address underlying concerns and three matters proceeded to investigation.
Through the overall 20 investigations, representing 26 potential policy violations, OIE determined that there was sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that three policy violations occurred (one stalking, one sexual harassment and one intimate partner violence). Ten investigations were pending at the time data was collected for this report.
When a respondent is found to have violated the policy, the university takes action designed to eliminate the prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. Sanctions issued in the past year included educational measures, housing restriction, employment restriction, no-contact sanction, disciplinary probation and suspension.
The report also provides detail on other various actions the university may take in response to reports of policy violations, which may include:
• Providing confidential support and other resources to all parties involved.
• Taking interim measures to provide for the safety and well-being of the parties involved, including separation in academic and living situations.
The university encourages all members of the campus community to report concerns of prohibited conduct. OIE follows up on each report received to determine appropriate next steps.
Concerns can be reported directly to the Title IX coordinator via email, phone, in person or online.
Faculty, staff and students also may report information to the U-M Police Department or choose to share information confidentially with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center.