‘Hail to the victims’: Dozens protest outside University of Michigan president’s Ann Arbor home

Many came to support survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson

Jon Vaughn, who was a Wolverine football standout in the late 1980s, has been camping in a tent outside of University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel’s home since last Friday.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.Jon Vaughn, who was a Wolverine football standout in the late 1980s, has been camping in a tent outside of University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel’s home since last Friday.

On Wednesday night, dozens came out to support him including other former athletes who said they were sexually assaulted by former university physician, Dr. Robert Anderson.

Anderson died in 2008.

Read: University of Michigan report shows more than 2,100 claims of abuse by Dr. Robert Anderson

Currently, the university is in court ordered mediation with former students like Vaughn who said they suffered through Anderson’s so called exams. The university’s lawyers have advised the president and the Board of Regents to limit what they say because of the litigation. Their response and legal action isn’t sitting well with Anderson’s survivors.

“I will not be a John Doe, I am Jon Vaughn,” he told the crowd at the top of his lungs.

Fellow Wolverine football player Chuck Christian drove 15 hours from Massachusetts so Vaughn won’t be alone.

Read: Survivors of Nassar, Anderson push for change in Lansing

“Hail to the victims,” Christian chanted to the crowd.

Tad DeLuca, who warned the university in 1975 about Anderson and had his athletic scholarship revoked, was inspired by the Nassar survivors and wrote the university again in 2018.

“All I can say is they knew,” DeLuca said. “They knew and they covered it up for decades, no more.”

After Wednesday night’s protest, the university sent a statement:

“We hear all of the survivors of the late Dr. Robert Anderson’s abuse and we thank them for their bravery in coming forward.

“We appreciate all of the ways in which survivors have shared their very personal stories, including at tonight’s protest, during Board of Regents’ meetings, through news media reports and with the WilmerHale investigators.

“At the University of Michigan we are working every single day to make our campus safer for every member of our community.

“We also are working toward fair compensation for the Anderson survivors through the confidential, court-supervised mediation process that is continuing. Out of respect for that process, there is nothing more we are able to share.”

University of Michigan

Read: Department of Justice reviewing decision to not charge FBI agents in Nassar investigation

Schlissel to end tenure as University of Michigan president 1 year early

Schlissel announced earlier this month that he will end his tenure as university president in June 2023, which is one year earlier than previously planned.

“This is the eighth year of my presidency and an important time to strategically consider the future of our university,” Schlissel said in an email message to the university community. “We are emerging from an historic global pandemic and adjusting to new and still evolving ways of working, learning and living, both as individuals and as a university.”

Schlissel came to the university as its 14th president in 2014 and said he will support a “smooth and thoughtful” leadership transition.

“We’re planning our next fundraising campaign and developing the longer-term strategies that will continue to drive our academic excellence and enhance our societal impact -- and we’re working on our campus culture and climate to help us to live up to our highest ideals,” Schlissel wrote. “Each of these important priorities will require commitment and leadership that extends into the next decade and beyond.”

By announcing his planned departure now, Schlissel said he is giving the U of M Board of Regents time to conduct a thorough search for his successor.

The revised timeline was finalized last month, the Board of Regents said.

“I appreciate the leadership of President Schlissel throughout his term and know that he is going to continue to work hard to advance our great institution,” said Regent Jordan Acker, chair of the Board of Regents. “As the president indicated, in due course, the board will come together to discuss how we will consult our community, think about the future and thoroughly plan a search for the next leader of the university.”

Schlissel will outline his plans for the upcoming year during Thursday’s annual Leadership Address. He said the work of students, faculty and staff at the university is what keeps him energized and passionate about U of M.

“The work we do matters,” Schlissel said.

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