The University of Michigan is reaching out to thousands of former student-athletes who may have been patients of the late team physician Robert E. Anderson, asking them to come forward to talk with independent investigators gathering information regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by Anderson.
This week, Michigan Athletics is reaching out to most of the 6,800 former student-athletes who were on campus between the mid-1960s and the early 2000s, asking them to speak with investigators from the WilmerHale law firm if they experienced abuse by Anderson or have information they believe may be relevant to the investigation.
The message is signed by Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, who also is a former U-M student-athlete.
Michigan Athletics will send an email message to every living former student-athlete from that time frame for which it has a valid email address. That’s about 4,400 former student-athletes. That is being followed by a letter to be sent through the U.S. Postal Service this week to most of the 6,800 former student-athletes from that time frame. Some will get both communications.
The letter says, in part, “WilmerHale’s mission is to follow the facts wherever they may lead in order to help the university understand how the abuse that has been reported could have occurred. That knowledge will allow the university to better prevent abuse from happening in the future.”
Manuel urges any former athletes who may have information to share with investigators to come forward and to share the message in the letter with other former athletes.
The letter also notes that “WilmerHale will not disclose to the university or anyone else the names of any person who provides information in the investigation and WilmerHale will protect the identity and confidentiality of former patients and witnesses to the greatest extent permitted by law.”
The university has established a dedicated call center for the investigation at 855-336-5900. The call center is staffed Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Individuals also may contact WilmerHale directly at 877-428-9667 or UofM@wilmerhale.com.
The university also is offering free, confidential counseling to individuals affected by Anderson’s conduct through Praesidium, a national firm with extensive experience facilitating confidential support services. Individuals may contact Praesidium at 888-961-9273 to learn more about how to access confidential counseling resources in their local area.