Student sexual misconduct reports decrease in FY ’16


Reports and investigations of student sexual misconduct decreased in fiscal year 2016, according to the University of Michigan’s Student Sexual Misconduct Annual Report.  

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The report, issued by the university’s Office for Institutional Equity, provides case-by-case outcomes of all student sexual misconduct investigations carried out by OIE under the direction of the university’s Title IX coordinator.

The overall number of sexual misconduct reports decreased from 172 the previous year to 157 in 2015-16. There were 18 investigations compared to 29 investigations the previous year.

Of the 157 reports of sexual misconduct, just more than half (80) were concerns about sexual assault, followed by 49 that involved concerns about sexual harassment, 14 that involved stalking, one involving retaliation, and 19 that were categorized as “other.”

“U-M encourages individuals to report misconduct to the university and, where appropriate, to law enforcement. We are deeply invested in addressing these issues and providing a fair and effective process,” says Anthony Walesby, the university’s Title IX coordinator, associate vice provost for academic and faculty affairs, and senior director of OIE.  

“We also respect the decisions of individuals considering whether and how to report concerns. Our goal is for more students to feel increasingly comfortable coming forward and sharing what happened to them.”

Of the 157 reports, 53 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 sexual misconduct.

• 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 unwelcome sexual conduct.

Another 88 reports went to the review panel, which occurs when the complainant declines to participate in an investigation. Of those reports, 77 were closed, nine resulted in other action being taken to address underlying concerns, and two matters proceeded to investigation.

One report involving allegations of sexual harassment proceeded to a voluntary informal resolution to resolve the complaint in lieu of an investigation.

Investigations concluded five policy violations occurred (three sexual assaults and two sexual harassments), representing four cases.

The report provides detail on the various actions the university may take in response to sexual misconduct complaints, 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.

• Review by a panel of faculty and staff that offers varying perspectives and advice to the Title IX coordinator. 

• Conducting an investigation, producing a report of its findings and issuing sanctions.

• Offering the opportunity to appeal the investigation findings or sanctions.

The university encourages all members of the campus community to report concerns of sexual misconduct. OIE follows up on each report received to determine appropriate next steps. 

Sexual misconduct concerns can be reported directly to the Title IX coordinator via email, phone, in person or online.

This is the last year the university will report misconduct as defined under the previous student policy, which was effective from Aug. 29, 2013 to June 30, 2016.

In July, the university launched its revised policy that addresses student sexual and gender-based misconduct. Next year’s report will share findings of matters involving sexual assault, sexual or gender-based harassment, stalking, intimate personal violence — defined as prohibited misconduct under the new policy.

Faculty, staff and students also can report information to the U-M Police Department or choose to share information confidentially with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center.



  1. Jeff Grim
    on October 25, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    This public affairs article reads as if this is something that UM is proud of except these data are incredibly misleading. The change in number of sexual misconduct cases brought to administrative attention and those that were found ‘guilty’ could either be: the university is a more inclusive place OR survivors are not reporting as much and respondents are not being found guilty. There is absolutely no way to know for sure. While there isn’t a direct ‘congratulatory’ quote, by posting it on the homepage it seems as if there is reason to celebrate. At the least, there should mention in the article the complex nature of ‘reporting’ and ‘statistics’ regarding a highly sensitive and often under-reported phenomenon.

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