The University of Michigan will develop a process outside the court system to address claims of sexual misconduct brought forward by former patients of the late Robert E. Anderson, a physician who worked at the university from the mid-1960s through 2003.
The goal is to provide “more certain, faster relief” while also helping to maintain the privacy of those who have come forward. Anderson died in 2008.
This is the latest step in the university’s commitment to addressing this misconduct, which began with a U-M Police investigation followed by an independent investigation that is still underway.
The announcement of this approach to resolving claims dating back as far as the 1960s was made April 28 by Board of Regents Chair Ron Weiser and President Mark Schlissel.
“The University of Michigan is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our students, faculty and staff. Over the past several months, as claims of sexual misconduct have been brought forward by former patients of Anderson, the university has taken necessary steps to determine the extent of that misconduct,” Schlissel said.
U-M has been engaged in conversations with a number of attorneys representing former patients.
“The university is eager to continue this dialogue as it assesses over the next few months the best approach to resolving these claims,” Schlissel said. “We want to bring closure for those who have so bravely come forward to share their experiences. The university recognizes the harms he caused and is committed to developing a fair, just, timely, and efficient resolution process — one that does not require drawn-out litigation.”
The university is taking the initiative to create an alternative resolution process “to provide more certain and faster relief for the former patients of Anderson outside of the court system while preserving their privacy to the greatest extent possible,” said Weiser, who has disclosed publicly that he was abused by Anderson in the 1960s while a student on the U-M campus.
Through April there have been many complaints regarding Anderson, most coming through a hotline established by the university and the WilmerHale law firm, which is conducting an independent outside investigation into the decades-old allegations.
In mid-February, U-M issued a public call for any former patients of Anderson’s who believe they were subjected to sexual misconduct to contact the university through an established hotline.
That outreach followed the completion of a U-M Police investigation that began in 2018 when a former student athlete wrote to Athletic Director Warde Manuel to detail abuse during medical exams by Anderson in the early 1970s. That investigation was concluded in mid-February of this year when the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office decided it would not authorize criminal charges.
During the week of April 7, the university made additional outreach to 6,800 former student-athletes who may have been patients of Anderson, who worked as a team physician for much of his time at U-M.
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.