The number of sexual misconduct reports involving faculty and staff at the University of Michigan in fiscal year 2020 was consistent with the number in the previous year.
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, 2019, and June 30, 2020, OIE received 177 sexual misconduct reports under the sexual harassment or violence sections in the university community policies that address conduct involving faculty, staff or third parties, such as vendors or contractors on campus. This is consistent with the 178 reports in the previous fiscal year.
“Sexual and gender-based misconduct has no place at Michigan,” said Elizabeth Seney, senior associate director of OIE and the university’s Title IX coordinator. “We share this information in order to be transparent, to acknowledge that these behaviors occur within our community and to show how the university responds to sexual misconduct.”
The report captures the university’s response to reports addressed under either of two policies in place at that time: Sexual Harassment (SPG 201.89), or Violence in the University Community (SPG 601.18).
The Violence in the University Community policy addresses intimate partner violence and stalking that is not based on romantic or sexual interest, and during the time period covered by the report, U-M Human Resources was responsible for addressing such matters.
The Sexual Harassment policy in place at the time addressed 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.
Effective Aug. 14, 2020, the Interim Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy replaced the Sexual Harassment Policy, along with the Interim Policy and Procedures on Student Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence. OIE remains responsible for addressing matters arising under the Interim Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.
Of the 177 reports received during FY ’20, 169 reports involved allegations of sexual harassment, six reports were for stalking, six reports were regarding intimate partner violence and two reports were about retaliation. Several matters involved multiple allegations, so the total number of allegations is greater than the number of matters reported.
The university responded to all of the 177 reports received. Of the total reports:
- Most (134) resulted in consultations by OIE that occur without conducting an investigation or further OIE review. Generally, this occurs when OIE is not provided sufficient information to allow for a formal resolution process, or the concerns are such that the matter can be appropriately resolved without those processes.
- Nine matters resulted in an OIE review, 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.
- Thirteen matters were addressed by Human Resources under relevant collective bargaining agreements.
- Twenty-one matters were investigated by OIE. Of the 21 reports investigated by OIE, 18 of the investigations were completed at the time the report was issued.
All 18 investigations involved reports of sexual harassment and resulted in:
- Five findings that the sexual harassment policy was violated.
- Four findings that inappropriate behavior occurred, but the behavior was not sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive as to create a hostile environment and, thus, a policy violation.
- Eight findings that there was insufficient evidence to find a policy violation.
- One investigation was closed without a finding after the respondent resigned, and was referred to Human Resources for further consideration.
In the matters that resulted in a finding of a violation or inappropriate behavior, corrective actions included educational measures, written warnings, ineligibility for a merit increase, temporary disciplinary layoff or termination.
The university encourages reporting of sexual misconduct because it allows the university to provide for the safety and well-being of both individual community members and the overall campus community. It also allows the university to provide resources and support for those affected by the reported misconduct. A report may be made by a person who has experienced, witnessed, heard about or otherwise has knowledge of possible sexual misconduct.
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.
During the current fiscal year, the university also implemented a single “umbrella” policy focused on sexual misconduct and gender-based misconduct that covers students, faculty, staff and third parties on all three campuses. The policy, put in place in August 2020, remains in interim status as additional feedback from the university community is gathered through March 15.