U. of Michigan agrees to settle students’ sex-abuse lawsuit

Mar 23, 2022, 7:03 PM | Updated: Mar 24, 2022, 10:27 am
FILE - The University of Michigan football stadium is shown in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, Aug. 13,...

FILE - The University of Michigan football stadium is shown in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. The University of Michigan has reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit brought by students who sought to force changes in how the school protects the campus from sexual misconduct. The deal was filed in federal court on Thursday, March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The University of Michigan has reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit brought by students who sought to force changes in how the school protects the campus from sexual misconduct.

As part of the deal, which was filed in federal court on Thursday, the 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 be comprised of about 30 members, including Title IX and campus sexual misconduct experts, community members and select members of the administration and faculty.

“But I think most importantly, it has representation from students and survivors,” said Nancy Cantalupo, an assistant professor of law at Wayne State University. “They will all have a seat at the table alongside the other experts that are on the CCRT.

“And that will give them a direct line into the administration — and the upper levels of the administration — in terms of communicating their concerns and their needs,” Cantalupo said in a videoconferencing call with reporters announcing the settlement.

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

In addition, Mark Schlissel was removed earlier this year as university president after emails detailing an alleged inappropriate sexual relationship between him and a subordinate were discovered. And the university paid $9.25 million to eight women who reported emotional or sexual abuse by Martin Philbert, who over 25 years rose from professor to provost, Michigan’s senior academic official. He was removed in 2020.

“We know there is broken trust at this school,” said Graham, whose suit, filed in 2021, did not seek 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’ attorneys said are widely recognized by experts as an indispensable tool in the fight to prevent campus sexual violence.

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 adviser, a faculty member and the university’s executive director of the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office.

The latter, Tamiko Strickman, who also serves as a special adviser to school President Mary Sue Coleman, said a review of existing Coordinated Community Response Teams elsewhere led her to one at the University of California, Berkeley, which she views as a model for University of Michigan.

“Many that we found which had CCRTs were smaller, and Berkeley was a very comparable, we thought, institution to look at,” Strickman said. “So, spent a lot of time learning about their CCRT.”

“There are a lot of untapped areas that we can really capitalize upon with the CCRT,” she said.

Strickman said the team could “take a deeper dive into” academic research and “use that information to strengthen resources across campus.”

For example, she said, the CCRT might examine studies on why under-represented people are less likely to report sexual misconduct and perhaps recommend to Michigan’s administration that a therapist be embedded within residence halls.

___

Find AP’s full coverage of the University of Michigan sexual assault case at: https://apnews.com/hub/robert-anderson

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

Bump & Stacy Show

AP

Romania's Simona Halep celebrates after beating Spain's Paula Badosa in a women's singles fourth ro...
Associated Press

Everything clicking as Halep reaches Wimbledon quarterfinals

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Simona Halep’s serve was working, her returns were landing, and the points were piling up fast. That’s a pretty good combination for a player who just advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals by winning her 11th straight match at the All England Club but says she is still trying to get back […]
14 hours ago
Alexander Rossi (27) races during the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix auto race on Belle Isle in Detroit...
Associated Press

Column: Chaos inside Andretti Autosport as teammates fume

LEXINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Michael Andretti wants Formula One to believe that he should be the team waving the American flag in the world’s most popular motorsport series. The meltdown of his flagship IndyCar team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course can be his Netflix audition tape. Andretti Autosport has been unsteady all season, the first […]
2 days ago
Washington Nationals' Ehire Adrianza, bottom, steals second against Miami Marlins shortstop Miguel ...
Associated Press

De La Cruz homers in 10th, Marlins beat Nationals again

WASHINGTON (AP) — After watching Jesús Aguilar and Jesús Sánchez hit late-inning home runs to win games for the Miami Marlins over the weekend, Bryan De La Cruz was happy to get a similar chance Monday. He made the most of it. De La Cruz hit a two-run homer off the foul pole in the […]
2 days ago
Washington Nationals' Juan Soto reacts after he fouled off a ball during the eighth inning of a bas...
Associated Press

Nats’ Soto says MRI showed no damage to injured left calf

WASHINGTON (AP) — Juan Soto said an MRI on his left calf showed no damage after he left the Washington Nationals game Sunday against the Miami Marlins because of tightness, and he plans to take the situation day by day. “Everything was fine,” Soto said. “We gonna be good. They said it’s just a little […]
2 days ago
France's Harmony Tan serves to Amanda Anisimova of the US in a women's fourth round singles match o...
Associated Press

Quieter, calmer Kyrgios in Wimbledon quarters years later

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Nick Kyrgios stepped into a nearly full Centre Court to polite applause at precisely 1:30 p.m. on Monday, exited about 3 1/2 hours later to a louder ovation and, somehow, the 100-year-old stadium survived the experience. In the warmup period, Kyrgios flicked a ball between his legs and closed with an […]
2 days ago
Chicago Cubs' Nelson Velazquez, right, asks for time after second base, next to Boston Red Sox shor...
Associated Press

Boston’s Xander Bogaerts out for Monday’s game vs Rays

BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts will not be in the starting lineup for Monday’s game against Tampa Bay after leaving a day earlier with a cut on his left thigh that required seven stitches. Manager Alex Cora said the three-time All-Star was “pretty sore.” “He texted me early. He was my wakeup […]
2 days ago
U. of Michigan agrees to settle students’ sex-abuse lawsuit