U-M’s interim policy on sexual and gender-based misconduct

August 11, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

A message from U-M President Mark S. Schlissel:

Dear Student and Colleagues:

Following several months of work and review within our community, the University of Michigan’s Interim Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct will go into effect Aug. 14, 2020. It applies to all students, faculty, staff and third parties across the university community on our three campuses and Michigan Medicine.

Improving how we prevent and address sexual and gender-based misconduct in our community must always remain a foremost priority at U-M. We strive to do better, always, and creating an umbrella policy that covers all members of the U-M community is one key measure we are implementing.

This interim policy includes common definitions for prohibited conduct and Title IX misconduct, separate procedures for addressing allegations against students and those against employees and third parties, and further clarifies available confidential resources and ways to report misconduct. It differs in significant ways from the draft policy we shared widely last fall, primarily because of new federal regulations released in May.

Additional details about the policy and its changes – including information on the definition of sexual harassment, individuals with reporting obligations, and student and employee procedures – are available in the University Record.

This interim policy brings the university into compliance with new federal regulations, but also balances these regulations with an approach that is consistent with our long-standing priority of keeping our community safe from sexual misconduct.  In some cases, and where the new regulations permit, we have made a very deliberate decision to go beyond the minimum requirements of the federal regulations.

This fall, the team representing all U-M campuses that developed the policy will reach out broadly to share details of the policy and procedures. Beginning in early 2021, the team will engage the university community to solicit additional feedback. We will share the formal process for the community to provide feedback during this stage. The policy is scheduled to be finalized by July 1, 2021.

I thank the many members of our community who provided feedback on the draft policy, via our survey or engagement with the team.

We originally planned to implement the policy in early 2020. However, we postponed implementation until now due to the Department of Education’s pending release of the final Title IX regulations. Those regulations were released in May with a mandated implementation date of Aug. 14. 

A single umbrella policy for all members of our community with common definitions was one of the main recommendations of the 2018-19 external review we commissioned as part of our comprehensive prevention efforts.

Separately, we will continue to carefully consider the recommendations made by the firm WilmerHale following its independent investigation of Martin Philbert. WilmerHale’s investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct regarding the late Robert E. Anderson is ongoing.

Information on support, reporting and confidential assistance is available on our Sexual Misconduct Reporting and Resources page and is linked from the top of the university’s main home page.

Sincerely,

Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.
President

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