Reports of sexual misconduct involving faculty and staff at the University of Michigan decreased in fiscal year 2019.
The university this week released its annual report on employee sexual misconduct, issued by the Office for Institutional Equity, along with the annual student sexual misconduct report.
Between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, OIE received 178 sexual misconduct reports under the sexual harassment policy involving faculty, staff or third parties, such as vendors or contractors, while on campus. This represents a decrease from the 235 reports in FY ’18 but nearly double the 90 reports received in FY ’17.
“We believe that the dramatic increase in reporting last year and subsequent decrease this year represents stabilization of reporting following the significant attention and raised awareness at U-M of these issues and how to report concerns,” said Jeff Frumkin, associate vice provost and senior director of academic and human resources, and interim senior director of OIE.
“Our annual reports regarding sexual misconduct in the U-M community are an important part of our commitment to be transparent about how the university addresses these matters when they are reported,” Frumkin said.
“Each report received by OIE is assessed, and appropriate action is taken in response to the individual circumstances. In all instances, supportive resources and measures are offered to individuals with concerns.”
The report captures the university’s response to reports involving faculty, staff and third parties as addressed under either of two policies: Sexual Harassment (SPG 201.89) or Violence in the University Community (SPG 601.18).
The Sexual Harassment policy addresses all forms of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual harassment, sexual assault and stalking that has a basis in romantic or sexual interest. Under this policy, sexual harassment is defined as including stalking and sexual assault. OIE is responsible for addressing matters arising under the Sexual Harassment policy.
The Violence in the University Community policy addresses intimate partner violence and stalking that is not based on romantic or sexual interest. U-M Human Resources is responsible for addressing matters arising under this policy.
Of the 178 reports received during the 2019 fiscal year, 173 reports involved behavior that fell within the Sexual Harassment policy and five reports were allegations of intimate partner violence.
Of the 178 reports:
• One hundred and twenty resulted in consultations by OIE that occur without conducting an investigation or further OIE review. Generally, this occurs when the matter can be appropriately resolved without those processes, or there is insufficient information to proceed and no way to obtain additional information, such as an anonymous report that does not identify the parties involved.
• Thirty-one matters resulted in a “review” by OIE, which typically occurs when there is a lack of sufficient information to allow for an investigation, such as one party’s identity, or the reported concerns do not constitute a potential policy violation but there is a need to review whether there may be additional related concerns. In these instances, OIE seeks available information so the matter either can proceed to investigation or be addressed in another appropriate manner.
• Twelve matters were addressed by Human Resources under relevant collective bargaining agreements.
• Fifteen matters were investigated by OIE.
Of the 15 reports investigated by OIE, 11 of the investigations were completed at the time the report was issued. All 11 investigations involved reports of sexual harassment and resulted in:
• Four findings that the Sexual Harassment policy was violated.
• Three findings that inappropriate behavior occurred, but the behavior was not sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive as to create a hostile environment.
• Four findings that there was insufficient evidence to conclude the policy was violated.
In the matters that resulted in a finding of a violation, corrective actions included: educational measures, written warning or initiation of removal of tenure proceedings under Regent Bylaw 5.09.
The university continues to focus both on appropriate response when concerns are raised, and on educational measures intended to prevent sexual misconduct and ensure that those affected have information about resources and reporting options.
Earlier this month, the university introduced a draft umbrella policy for addressing sexual and gender-based misconduct that would apply to students, faculty, staff and third parties on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. Feedback from the community is requested by Nov. 22.
In May, U-M launched mandatory training for all faculty and staff that focuses on understanding and reducing sexual and gender-based misconduct. To date more than half of employees have completed the training. U-M employees have until Dec. 31 to complete the training.