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University of Michigan provost placed on leave amid sexual misconduct allegations

University of Michigan provost placed on leave amid sexual misconduct allegations
University of Michigan provost placed on leave amid sexual misconduct allegations

ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan provost Martin A. Philbert is on administrative leave as the school conducts an investigation with an external law firm into sexual misconduct allegations.

In an email to the university community in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, President Mark Schlissel announced the move. An acting provost will be appointed within days.

See Schlissel’s full letter below:

To All Members of the U-M Ann Arbor Community:

The University of Michigan has received and acted on allegations of sexual misconduct against Martin A. Philbert, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. With the endorsement and full support of the U-M Board of Regents, I have placed Dr. Philbert on administrative leave, effective Jan. 21, 2020, pending the results of an investigation we began on Friday, Jan. 17.

I will follow up in the coming days regarding the appointment of an acting provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

We take allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously, and our policy is clear: Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated in the University of Michigan community.

I want to apprise everyone of what has happened over the last few days and the actions we have taken.

On Thursday and Friday, Jan. 16-17, 2020, the university received several allegations of sexual misconduct by Dr. Philbert.

We began an internal investigation Friday. Over the next three days, the university retained an outside law firm which immediately launched an investigation of the allegations, our Division of Public Safety and Security was engaged, and Dr. Philbert was directed not to report to work. I placed him on administrative leave Tuesday.

The Office for Institutional Equity who would normally handle such investigations, reports to the provost. Today, I have moved OIE’s reporting line for all matters related to this investigation to Associate Vice President for Human Resources Richard S. Holcomb.

The U-M Board of Regents and I are committed to a full and thorough investigation, and we will continue to work to ensure the integrity of the process, following the same policy and practices that apply to all employees at U-M. It remains early in the investigation, and no findings or conclusions have been reached.

We thank the individuals who have come forward with these allegations. We know that reporting requires courage. The university has offered support services and will work diligently to assist those who report in every way possible.

We encourage any member of our community who is aware of conduct that may violate U-M’s sexual misconduct policy to notify our Office for Institutional Equity. You may also report, seek support or access confidential resources on our sexual misconduct website.

If you have information on this case, you can report in three ways:

The Office for Institutional Equity (734-763-0235)

U-M’s anonymous compliance hotline (1-866-990-0111) or via the website.

Division of Public Safety and Security (734-763-1131)

We recognize and thank the many members of our community who have spent considerable time over the last few years helping us with revisions to our sexual misconduct policies, increasing awareness of this problem and helping us become a better university. These efforts – and your many contributions – have been essential and remain so, as we strive to create a safe, respectful and inclusive culture, where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive and accountability applies to all.


Mark S. Schlissel


In addition to provost, Philbert serves as the executive vice president for academic affairs.

Originally from the UK, he came to U-M in 1995 as a research assistant professor. He formerly served as dean of the School of Public Health, where he is a professor of toxicology. He was appointed university provost in 2017.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.