Anderson survivor Jon Vaughn announces run for University of Michigan regent

ANN ARBOR, MI - JUNE 16: Jon Vaughn, former University of Michigan and former NFL football player, speaks at a press conference on the University of Michigan campus on June 16, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Vaughn and several dozen others are accusing the late Dr. Robert Anderson, former Head of University of Michigan Health Services and former UM football team doctor, of sexually abusing or sexually assaulting them. Matthew Schembechler, son of former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, and others have claimed they had notified Bo Schembechler about the abuse and that he had done nothing about it. Dr. Anderson passed away in 2008. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images) (Bill Pugliano, 2021 Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR – Former star University of Michigan football player Jon Vaughn has announced he plans to run for the school’s Board of Regents in 2022.

Vaughn is one of hundreds of former U-M athletes who have come forward and detailed sexual abuse at the hands of former athletic doctor Robert Anderson, who died in 2008.

Vaughn has become the face of the movement to hold the university and former officials accountable in recent weeks by camping outside U-M President Mark Schlissel’s house on central campus and leading regular protests.

“In order to effect change, sometimes you have to do something radical and be a part of the system that you want to change,” said Vaughn on his decision to run for the Board of Regents.

“I’ve never run for public office, never thought about being in public office, but this is the university that I love and I see there are so many things that are needed to change this place. We have to break up the status quo or it will continue to perpetuate for another 50 years.”

Vaughn, who has been camping outside the president’s house for the past 40 days, said he has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from university students, faculty and fellow Anderson survivors.

“I can’t even count the number of students and faculty that have shared their stories of trauma on campus that haven’t been listened to that stand with us,” said Vaughn. “I think the word ‘life-changing’ sometimes is overused, but this has been a life-changing experience because we’ve had individuals, young women, young men, tell us of their rapes or their sexual abuse, their terror if you will, before they tell their parents.”

Vaughn, who made the trip to Ann Arbor from Dallas, said fellow survivors have traveled from around the country to show support for the cause.

With plans to camp out for 100 days, Vaughn said he and fellow activists hope to bring awareness to the stories of survivors that were silenced for decades.

“We realized we can’t change what happened to us, but the more time we spend out here that this culture of sex abuse, rape and coverup has permeated the rest of the campus,” he said. “So, we felt like we could do more as a unified team and voices in the first 100 days to make it safer than this president and the administration and the regents have done in his entire tenure.”

Anderson survivors and the university are currently in court-ordered mediation over the case.

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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.