Philbert removed as provost; Collins to be recommended as interim


Martin A. Philbert has been removed as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Michigan.

In a letter dated March 11, President Mark Schlissel informed Philbert that he had lost confidence in his ability to serve as provost based on information that has come to light so far in an investigation regarding his behavior. Philbert was placed on administrative leave in January when the university received several allegations of sexual misconduct.

Additionally, the president will bring forward a recommendation at the March 26 Board of Regents meeting to appoint Susan M. Collins, former dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, to serve as interim provost.

Collins, the Edward M. Gramlich Collegiate Professor of Public Policy in the Ford School and a professor of economics in LSA, was appointed acting provost in late January.

She served as Ford School dean from 2007-17. Before coming to U-M, she was on the economics faculty at Georgetown and Harvard universities and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The university received several allegations of sexual misconduct by Philbert Jan. 16-17 and launched an internal investigation Jan. 17. In the subsequent days, the university engaged the Division of Public Safety and Security and retained the outside law firm of WilmerHale to conduct an investigation. Schlissel placed the former provost on administrative leave Jan. 21.

That outside investigation is still ongoing. Once it is complete, a determination will be made whether Philbert will be subject to proceedings to remove him from his faculty role.  Meanwhile, Philbert will remain on paid administrative leave from his duties as a tenured faculty member.

“As the investigation continues, we encourage anyone with information to come forward and we encourage anyone affected by this issue to use the confidential counseling resources we have set up,” Schlissel said.   

Philbert, a professor of toxicology in the School of Public Health and a former dean of that school, was appointed provost in 2017. He joined the U-M faculty in 1995.

The university is partnering with Praesidium, a national firm with extensive experience facilitating confidential and sensitive support services, to facilitate free, confidential counseling to individuals affected by Philbert’s alleged misconduct.

Individuals are encouraged to contact Praesidium at 888-961-9273 to learn more about how to access confidential counseling resources available in their local area. 

Those seeking to report alleged misconduct by Philbert should continue to call the U-M Compliance Hotline at 866-990-0111. The hotline is staffed 24/7.


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