Accusers: New U of Michigan leader must change abuse culture

Jan 18, 2022, 11:16 AM | Updated: 4:27 pm
FILE - University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel speaks during a ceremony at the university, ...

FILE - University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel speaks during a ceremony at the university, in Ann Arbor, Mich on Jan. 30, 2017. Two men who say they were sexually assaulted by a former sports doctor at the University of Michigan are hoping that a change in leadership with the weekend firing of Schlissel will allow the school be more accountable toward abuse victims.(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Two men who say they were sexually assaulted by a former sports doctor at the University of Michigan are hoping that a change in leadership with the weekend firing of President Mark Schlissel will allow the school be more accountable toward abuse victims.

Keith Moree and Robert Stone told reporters Tuesday that the Ann Arbor school is ripe for a culture change as its board conducts a search to permanently replace Schlissel, who was removed Saturday due to an alleged “inappropriate relationship with a university employee.”

Schlissel’s abrupt firing and the revelations and litigation over decades of sexual abuse by Dr. Robert Anderson have tarnished Michigan’s reputation for academics, they said. The school regularly is ranked among the top public universities in the U.S.

“I don’t know how much embarrassment this university can take before they decide to make a true change of course,” Stone said. “But over time, if this continues, a degree from the University of Michigan is just going to be an embarrassment and it’s going to take a real change in attitude among the Board of Regents to turn this around.”

The university currently is in mediation to resolve multiple lawsuits by more than 1,000 people — mostly men — who say Anderson sexually abused them during routine medical examinations. Anderson worked at the university from 1966 until his 2003 retirement and was director of the university’s Health Service and a physician for multiple athletic teams, including football.

A number of football players and other athletes have come forward to accuse Anderson, who died in 2008, of sexually abusing them.

A report by a firm hired by the school determined that staff missed many opportunities to stop Anderson over his 37-year career.

The university has “consistently diminished the gravity and the harm that was done to its students and the university has long shown more concern and care for its brand than for the well-being of its students,” Moree said. “With a new president in place, the university has a fresh opportunity to make restitution to those it has harmed, to replace a culture of hypocrisy at the highest levels with one of centering student well-being and to promote healing in the university community.”

Michigan’s Board of Regents said Saturday on the school’s website that members learned on Dec. 8 from an anonymous complaint about a relationship involving Schlissel and a university employee. An investigation revealed that “over the years,” Schlissel used his university email account to “communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the university.”

The board appointed former University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman as interim president. Schlissel succeeded Coleman as president in 2014. He announced last October that he would step down in June 2023, a year before his contract was to expire.

The university is developing a “cultural change process” that includes a campus-wide working group effort 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 school said Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press.

“Additionally, 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 investigations allegations of misconduct when they occur,” University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said.

“We also again thank all of the survivors of the late Dr. Robert Anderson for coming forward to share their stories,” Fitzgerald added. “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.”

Both Stone and Moree also said Tuesday that Anderson also targeted gay men at a time when many were hesitant or afraid to publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation.

Moree graduated in 1981 and lives in Portland, Oregon. He said he was abused by Anderson in 1980.

“I likely was abused because I’d just come out to Dr. Anderson as a gay man given the nature of the visit,” Moree said. “Robert Anderson was a chronic, serial sexual predator who exploited any power differential he could find. Many of Anderson’s earliest victims at the University of Michigan were gay men at a time when being outed could have grave consequences.”

Stone said that in 1971 he was a junior at the school and was “just coming out as a gay man” when he went to see Anderson.

“I was sexually assaulted in the course of that examination,” Stone said. “Even though Dr. Anderson spent a decade sexually molesting the gay men of Ann Arbor, it was not enjoyable for any of us. What he put us through was so traumatizing. I remembered when I walked out of that exam room I was so disgusted and I was so angry. Fifty years later I’m still carrying this anger.”

__

Williams reported from West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The Very Rev. Kris Stubna, rector of St. Paul Cathedral Parish, preaches on the topic of abortion a...
Associated Press

After Roe’s demise, clergy lead faithful in praise, laments

Praise and lament for the overturning of abortion rights filled sacred spaces this weekend as clergy across the U.S. rearranged worship plans or rewrote sermons to provide their religious context — and competing messages — about the historic moment. Abortion is a visceral issue for deeply divided religious Americans. Some are sad or angry in […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Poisonous bite leads German police to farm with 110 snakes

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Germany said Sunday they discovered more than 110 dangerous snakes on a farm after a woman who lived there sought medical treatment for a poisonous bite. The 35-year-old woman drove to a hospital in Salzgitter, near Hannover, early Sunday and told doctors there that one of her rattlesnakes bit her […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell by 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $5.05 for regular grade, it was reported Sunday. It was the first drop in nine weeks and came with a drop in oil prices amid deepening global inflation fears, industry analyst Trilby […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gun deaths in Oklahoma have increased since a “permitless carry” law allowing people over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training went into effect in 2019, according to a newspaper’s review of data. The Oklahoman analyzed state medical examiner data and found that Oklahoma has […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Bosnian Serb member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia Milorad Dodik watches military ex...
Associated Press

Bosnian Serb leader prays for Trump’s return, praises Putin

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The leader of Bosnia’s Serbs said Sunday he hoped former U.S. President Donald Trump would return to power and that the Serbs would “wait for appropriate global circumstances” to reach for their goal of seceding from Bosnia, which he called an “unsustainable state.” Milorad Dodik, who was a rare European official […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Wallace Reid purchases fuel for the vehicle he drives to make a living using ride-share apps...
Associated Press

Greedflation: Is price-gouging helping fuel high inflation?

Most economists say corporate price gouging is, at most, one of many causes of runaway inflation — and not the primary one.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Accusers: New U of Michigan leader must change abuse culture