The University of Michigan suspended its provost Tuesday after the school received several allegations of sexual misconduct against him, and said it had hired a law firm to assist with its investigation.
The provost, Martin Philbert, who is also executive vice president for academic affairs and a tenured professor of toxicology at the School of Public Health, was placed on administrative leave, Mark Schlissel, the university president, said in a letter on Wednesday.
“We take allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously, and our policy is clear: Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated in the University of Michigan community,” Mr. Schlissel said.
Mr. Philbert, who joined the university in 1995 and was appointed provost in 2017, was suspended with pay, a university spokesman, Rick Fitzgerald, said on Thursday.
Mr. Fitzgerald declined to comment on how the allegations were reported, how many individuals came forward and the nature of the accusations.
On Jan. 16 and 17, the university received “several” allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Philbert, and an internal investigation into the matter began on Friday, the president said. Over the next three days, the university hired an unnamed outside law firm to help with an investigation.
While the president said he and the school’s Board of Regents were committed to a “full and thorough investigation,” he made it clear that it was still early in the process and that no findings or conclusions had been reached.
An acting provost and executive vice president for academic affairs would be named in the coming days, Mr. Schlissel said.
He also thanked the individuals who came forward with the allegations and said the school was offering support services.
Mr. Philbert did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
In August 2018, the University of Michigan faced another sexual-misconduct issue involving a professor. David Daniels, a professor of music at the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, was placed on leave amid accusations of sexual misconduct and assault, according to MLive.com, a local news outlet.
Court filings accused Mr. Daniels of engaging in sexually suggestive communications with students as well as offering money in exchange for watching a student and an alumnus have sex. Mr. Daniels remains on leave and a termination process is underway, Mr. Fitzgerald said on Thursday.
Between July 2018 and June 2019, the University of Michigan received 178 sexual misconduct reports involving faculty, staff or third parties, such as vendors or contractors, the school said. That was a decrease from the 235 reports received in 2018, but was nearly double the 90 reports received in 2017.
Other cases involving accusations of inappropriate behavior by professors have ended with settlements or the professor leaving his post.
Dartmouth College and nine women who said they were raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by their professors reached a $14.4 million settlement in August.
In 2018, a prominent government professor at Harvard resigned after being accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by as many as 18 women.
And a renowned Greco-Roman historian and longtime professor at Columbia University retired in 2017 as part of the settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a graduate student.
The post University of Michigan Suspends Provost Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations appeared first on New York Times.