ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Days after Mark Schlissel was fired as president of the University of Michigan, the survivors of Dr. Robert Anderson are calling for his replacement to make major changes.
They’re calling for a more open environment at the school to help change what they’ve called a culture of silence.
“It’s transparently clear to anyone who’s paying attention that there’s no commitment to change because the president of the university couldn’t stop himself from having an affair that’s against their written rules. It is a culture of duplicity,” Anderson survivor Robert Stone said.
Robert Stone and Keith Moree graduated from the University of Michigan in the 70s and early 80s. Both said that university officials did nothing when they came forward accusing Anderson of sexual assault.
“We go to the extreme example of Dr. Anderson, which is different from what ex-president Schlissel is being accused of -- but they’re along the same continuum of what happens when people are made untouchable and that’s part of the culture that has to change,” Moree said.
Without a public vote and behind closed doors, Schlissel was fired by the Board of Regents.
“I have to have confidence that the regents are also going to be looking at their role in all of this and how they need to be doing things differently in the future,” Moree said.
They’re hoping the new president will have the desire and the support to bring about real change.
“I don’t know how much embarrassment the university can take before they decide to make a true change of course but over time if this continues a degree from U-M will be an embarrassment and it will require a change among the board of regents to turn this around,” Stone said.
Statement from University of Michigan
“The university is going to extraordinary measures to put critical protections in place on top of earlier protections. We continue to work with the nationally recognized consulting firm of Guidepost Solutions on additional measures.
We have added new policies that prohibit teacher-learner romantic relationships, that prohibit supervisor-supervisee relationships and strengthened our policy against any type of retaliation. And are developing a cultural change process that was outlined last summer.
Here is what was shared with our community last July:
‘A campuswide working group on culture change will lead an effort over the next 18 months to “create an environment of mutual respect and accountability that is free from retaliation, where everyone can feel safe to report misconduct and feel supported throughout the process.”
The work is being led by Patricia Hurn, dean of the School of Nursing, and Sonya Jacobs, chief organizational learning officer for the university and senior director for faculty and leadership development at Michigan Medicine.
The working group will oversee the development of a universitywide statement of shared values and desired behaviors through a process that will include robust engagement with faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders across all three campuses and Michigan Medicine. This effort is part of the university’s work with the consulting firm Guidepost Solutions to create a set of unifying, shared values and set a lasting high standard for campus behaviors, systems and practices.
Also, we are in the process of adding significant staff to the newly formed Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office, that will increase our prevention and education efforts while freeing up resources to focus sharply on investigating allegations of misconduct when they occur.
We again thank all of the survivors of the late Dr. Robert Anderson for coming forward to share their stories. We have repeatedly apologized for the pain they have suffered and we continue to work toward fair compensation through the ongoing confidential, court-supervised mediation process.’
Much of this is shared on our website publicly here.
Additionally, the Board of Regents has complete confidence in President Coleman to lead the university through this interim period.”