UM sex misconduct lists 129 cases
University of Michigan students reported 129 alleged incidents of sexual misconduct to school officials in a 12-month period, according to a first report of its kind released this week.
Of those incidents, UM found 11 violations and expelled one student, according to the report.
The baseline report, which is to be compiled annually, is part of UM’s new policy against sexual misconduct, a problem that has received widespread attention nationally and efforts from the White House for intervention.
Though the university reported data about sexual misconduct in the past, it was part of a broader report with much less detail. Last year’s data included 86 reports of sexual misconduct, spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said, but did not include the breakdown of how the cases evolved.
“This initial report strikes that balance between treating the information about the specific of students and specific incidents privately, while providing public transparency about the process,” Fitzgerald said.
The report comes as UM, along with Michigan State University and other universities across the country, has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for its handling of sexual assault cases on campus.
“It’s encouraging to see more survivors of sexual assault are coming forward,” said Michael Proppe, former student body president. “Hopefully the university refines and improves its response ... and those found responsible will be removed from the campus.”
MSU will release a similar, annual report to UM’s but not for a few weeks, spokesman Jason Cody said.
Wayne State University will be presenting to the Board of Governors next month a report on student code of conduct that includes sexual misconduct, spokesman Matt Lockwood said.
“This initial report strikes that balance between treating the information about the specific students and specific incidents privately, while providing public transparency about the process,” Fitzgerald said.
The report is the first under UM’s new policy for addressing sexual misconduct, adopted in 2013 after an extensive campuswide development. Other measures for fighting sexual misconduct include key changes in the process for responding to students who file complaints.
Released Monday by the Office for Institutional Equality, the report shows that half (68) of the 129 reports at UM were sexual assaults and one quarter (34) were sexual harassment. The remaining were 18 reports of stalking, two of retaliation and 11 were classified as “other.”
Of the 129 reports brought to the university between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, 58 were determined to not fall within the realm of UM’s policy on sexual misconduct; 48 were brought before a review panel and 27 were investigated.
How much information was available and whether the complainant was willing to be involved in an investigation were crucial factors in how UM addressed the reports.
Complainants and respondents were offered support through university resources, according to the report.
“Although 44 reported incidents that fell under the policy did not proceed to an investigation, that does not mean those reports were not reviewed and that action was not taken,” the report said.
Of the 27 cases the university investigated, 11 led to a “preponderance of evidence” the school’s sexual assault policy had been violated. Sanctions were issued in seven cases and are pending in four.
One case resulted in a student found to have engaged in a sexual assault being kicked out of school.
It was not stated in the report but the Michigan Daily, the campus student newspaper, reported former football kicker Brendan Gibbons was expelled in December 2013 — four years after he was accused of raping an 18-year-old freshman on Nov. 22, 2009.
Gibbons was not charged.