UM removes provost from office amid sexual misconduct allegations

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — University of Michigan officials have removed the school's provost from office amid allegations of sexual misconduct, they said Wednesday.

"Martin Philbert has been removed as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Michigan," according to a statement.

The school placed Philbert on paid administrative leave in January. It appointed Susan M. Collins, a former dean of the university's public policy school, acting provost.

UM President Mark Schlissel told Philbert in a March 11 letter 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 Philbert's behavior.

Martin Philbert, during commencement exercises at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

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

Last month, it was reported the university paid nearly $200,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed Philbert wrongfully laid off an employee because he preferred to keep a female researcher on the job. He allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with the researcher.

Schlissel also said Wednesday he plans to submit his recommendation to appoint Collins to the post at the March 26 Board of Regents meeting, according to the university.

Meanwhile, the school continues its investigation into the allegations, officials said. The law firm of WilmerHaleis conducting the investigation. The firm has headquarters in Boston and Washington, D.C.

Once the investigation is complete, the university will determine whether Philbert will be subject to proceedings to remove him from the faculty.  

“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.  

Anyone who wants to report alleged misconduct by Philbert should call the UM Compliance Hotline at (866) 990-0111.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez