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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

University of Michigan agrees to settle student sex-abuse lawsuit

The University of Michigan has reached a settlement to settle a lawsuit brought by students who sought changes to how the school campus was protected from sexual misconduct.


As part of the deal, which was filed in federal court on Thursday, Ann Arbor School will create and pay for a multidisciplinary standing committee designed to protect the university community from and prevent sexual abuse.

The Coordinated Community Response Team will consist of approximately 30 members, including Title IX and campus sexual misconduct experts, members of the community, and select members of administration and faculty.

“But I think the most important thing is that it has representation of students and survivors,” said Nancy Cantalupo, an assistant professor of law at Wayne State University.

“All of them will have a seat at the table along with other experts of CCRT. And it will give them a direct line in terms of communicating their concerns and their needs to the administration _ and the upper levels of administration _,” Cantalupo announced in a videoconference call with reporters.

The school has been shaken by allegations that began to surface publicly in 2020 from hundreds of men who said they had been sexually assaulted by the late Robert Anderson, a campus doctor who spent nearly 40 years in Michigan. He died in 2008. In January, the school announced a $490 million settlement with Anderson’s accusers—a separate legal action from a class-action suit brought by Josephine Graham, a senior at the University of Michigan. The school said both agreements took place under the supervision of a court-appointed arbitrator.

In addition, Mark Schlissel was fired from the university’s presidency earlier this year after an email detailing an alleged inappropriate sexual relationship between him and a subordinate was unearthed. And the university paid $9.25 million to eight women who reported emotional or sexual abuse by Martin Filbert, more than 25 years from Michigan’s senior academic official from professor to provost. He was dropped in 2020.

“We know there is broken trust in this school,” said Graham, whose lawsuit was filed in 2021 not seeking monetary relief.

The core of the settlement, which still requires the approval of U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts, is the creation of the CCRT, which plaintiffs’ lawyers have said has been used by experts as an essential tool in the fight to prevent sexual violence on campus. widely recognized in

Michigan’s full CCRT will meet at least three times a year to “assess, plan, monitor and evaluate sexual misconduct prevention and response efforts,” the university said in a statement.

It will be co-chaired by an external advisor, a faculty member and the executive director of the University’s Office of Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX.

The latter, Tamiko Strickman, who also serves as special advisor to school president Mary Sue Coleman, said that her review of existing coordinated community response teams led her to one at the University of California, Berkeley, which she calls the university’s See you as a model. of Michigan.

“We found that many CCRTs were small, and Berkeley was a very comparable, we thought, institution,” Strickman said. “So, spent a lot of time learning about their CCRT.”

“There are a lot of untapped areas that we can really take advantage of with CCRT,” she said.

Strickman said the team could “dive deeper” into academic research and “use that information to consolidate resources across campus.” For example, she said, CCRT could examine the study of why underrepresented people are less likely to report sexual misconduct and perhaps advise Michigan’s administration that a physician be embedded within residence halls. Go.

World Nation News Desk
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