University issues statement on sexual misconduct policy

Submitted by Raoul on January 29th, 2014 at 11:03 PM

Posting this without comment: the full text of a statement released tonight by the university, posted by the Toledo Blade as an attachment to this article:

University statement on sexual misconduct policy

Jan. 29, 2014

Questions have been raised about the University of Michigan's response to allegations of sexual misconduct in 2009. Those allegations were handled in accordance with the university policy in effect at the time.

The university now adheres to the institution's policy on sexual misconduct by students, which was adopted in 2013. The Office for Institutional Equity is the designated university office for conducting investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct involving students. In implementing university policy, OIE treats all students equally and conducts fair and impartial investigations.

Our current process allows that, if new information is obtained at a later point, the university could commence an investigation at that time.

In accordance with the university's policy of not disclosing details about student disciplinary actions, we will not release the results of any investigation. The university does produce and publish annual reports on aggregate student disciplinary sanctions through the Office of Student Conflict Resolution.

http://ocsr.umich.edu

U-M sexual misconduct policy timeline

2009

Under the University's process investigations commence at the request of complainants after a complaint is filed with the Office of Student Conflict Resolution.

2011

April - The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights provides additional guidance that highlights the nationwide impact of sexual misconduct on college campuses and makes specific recommendations regarding how colleges and universities should respond to allegations of sexual misconduct.

August - University of Michigan implements an interim policy on student-to-student sexual misconduct that reflects the U.S. Department of Education guidance.

2013

August - After a year-long review process, the university implements new policy on student-to-student sexual misconduct. Key changes in the policy, which also were part of the interim procedure, include how an investigation is initiated and the standard of evidence being used. These changes also are consistent with guidance from the Department of Education.

Comments

Killewis

January 30th, 2014 at 1:42 AM ^

I know a lot of people are still concerned with the supposed 3 day gap between Gibbons being notified and the Iowa game, but has anyone considered the possibility that he actually HADN'T been notified? The only thing the article says about that date is that a LETTER was signed and dated that date. Letter, along with the fact they also mailed him his expulsion notice, leads me to believe that it's entirely possible that they wrote that letter the 20th of November, mailed it out on the 21st, and Gibbons/Hoke/Brandon etc. didn't even receive it until AFTER the Iowa game.

Geaux_Blue

January 30th, 2014 at 7:11 AM ^

If you think a university's chain of command or game of telephone doesn't inform the Ath Dept the minute a finding is determined, you're crazy. They HAVE to or else you could constantly play ineligible players who failed to open their mail.

They used the benefit of him not being officially out. It's ugly and dirty and embarrassing. Don't make excuses that are ridiculous and make us look like any garbage excuse will suffice our partisanship

Mr. Yost

January 30th, 2014 at 7:50 AM ^

Especially with football who leaves campus early.

It's not about opening your mail in a timely fashion.

Look, I work in college athletics as an Assistant Athletics Director. I'm embarrassed by this story more than most. That said, everything isn't a conspiracy to cheat.

Letters get signed off on all the time, many times they get signed off on, but then have to go to the University President or some "higher up" for final approval. This process certainly could take a day or two.

Now certainly Gibbons and the team knew something was coming. But it very well may not have been received and official.

I've never seen this letter, don't know much about it, but I do know the protocol in athletics. There are many factors that you're not considering.

Did it go to Gibbons or to the Athletics Department? Did it go to the AD? Head Coach? Department Head of Student/Academic Services?

If someone on campus sent one of our students a letter, and sent it through the athletics department, it's going to go to our SWA/Associate AD for Student Services. She then is going to read it and schedule a meeting with the student-athlete to discuss what is going on. Then the coach. Then AD, parents, etc. It's a process. Now by the time it gets to the coach, the player is suspended. But if there player is on the road, you may wait until he/she is back.

Again, it depends on the nature of the letter.

Could there have been some cover up? Sure. Could it have been laziness? Sure. Could it have actually been "caught up in the process"? Sure. It could've been 4-5 things.

For you to just choose one, no matter which ONE you choose...without having the facts. It's irresponsible.

I'm far more concerned about the lying about "family issues" and hamstrings.

GoBLUinTX

January 30th, 2014 at 12:36 PM ^

right up to your last paragraph.  To quote somebody, "For you to just choose one, no matter which ONE you choose....without having the facts.  It's irresponsible.

Do you have any facts regarding injuries and who knew what and when?  Do you have facts that contradict what Hoke believed when he said things about family issues and hamstrings?

CalifExile

January 30th, 2014 at 1:33 PM ^

As Mr. Yost indicates in his last paragraph the treatment before Iowa and before the bowl game are quite different. It is possible that Hoke et al. had no knowledge of the determination before the Iowa game. It isn't believable that they had no knowledge of the expulsion - effective on 12/20 - before the "family issues" statement on 12/23. The expulsion meant that Gibbons was banned from participation in all university activities. The university should have procedures in place to enforce that edict which would include notification of relevant coaches and professors.

grumbler

January 30th, 2014 at 7:54 AM ^

While I know you think that you know everything about Michigan's "chain of command," what you are vehemently insisting on here is bullshit.

There is a "fire wall' between the disciplinary system and the rest of the university, both to protect the student from premature disclosure of an investigation/resolution process that may find him or her not guilty, and to protect the disciplinary system from interference by outside forces (coaches, professors, uninvolved administrators, etc).

The letter on the 20th  appaears from all the evidence to have been the letter that informed Gibbons that the investigation had found that it was more likely than not that he had violated the student conduct code.  At this point, he wouldn't have had his hearing, so this was still confidential information.

Only with the completion of the OSCR process would the firewall come down and public information be available, presumably even to the coach, AD, and faculty.  That was in December, sometime between the 19th (when the OSCR letter was written) and the start of the second semester (when it would be clear that Gibbons was no longer enrolled/enrollable) and thus not getting his scholly money.

In the period between the 19th and the start of the school year, the OSCR staff would have been shorthanded 9at least) due to the holidays, and Hoke had something or other going on that would have occupied his time early in that time period,

In short, i think your assurance anyone would be "crazy" to understand that there may be reasons why Hoke wouldn't know are unwarranted.

bronxblue

January 30th, 2014 at 11:18 AM ^

I get the anger, but this reads like a guy who is pissed off and just making accusations.  I worked in a major research university's legal department out here in NYC for years and there were MANY times when inter-departamental communications were missed for days.  It wasn't nefarious; it was bureaucracy.  There is no evidence that a school-wide conspiracy was perpetrated to keep Gibbons eligible for an extra game or two.  Yes, they didn't handle the situation greatly, but I've yet to see any real evidence that something nefarious was up.

M Fanfare

January 29th, 2014 at 11:12 PM ^

Ok...but if I'm reading this correctly, there's still an unexplained year-and-a-half-long gap between November/December 2009 when the alleged assault occurred and April 2011 when the D0E handed out new guidelines, plus another 4 months until U of M adopted the interim guidelines.

Blazefire

January 29th, 2014 at 11:25 PM ^

In 2009, they did what policy required and the matter was closed until the 2013 adoption opened it back up, leading to investgation for the first time. It wasn't investgated in 2009 because procédures then required the claimant to participate, and she did not. The 4 months this year was for investigation.

ijohnb

January 30th, 2014 at 6:57 AM ^

that. The statement went out of its way to, in what amounts to a stand-alone nearly context-less statement, say that investigations can be commenced if new information is obtained. My guess is that there was no investigation conducted in 2009 because there was no complainant, quite possibly even that anybody outside of those close to Gibbons did not even know about it. Then the Watchdog article comes out (and contrary to what anybody says on this blog, almost everybody finds out about it for the first time - I have been on this blog everyday for 5 years and I had not heard a word about it) and the administration is like "wtf man," opens it up and boots gibbons ASAP. I think the incident itself was the new info, not the adoption of the new guidelines.

maizenbluenc

January 30th, 2014 at 7:45 AM ^

rumors posted about it before then. But they were taken down pretty quickly because of lack of substantiation and Gibbons was investigated but the case was not pursued.

The timing of this lines up with the 2013 rules change. Like others, I am guessing the new information statement is alluding to the posting of the police reports.

Agree that the ethical key here is the timing of when the staff knew about the case in relation to the Iowa game. I'll accept family concerns as walking the legal line of what could be said, but those statements about muscle problems do appear to be blatant lies.

BlueCube

January 30th, 2014 at 8:44 AM ^

information after the policy was adopted. The policy says you have to investigate all new information which could be almost anything. She may have provided just enough to start a new investigation.

We are all guessing and we will never know. The lawyers will not allow Brandon, Hoke or anyone else at the school to talk about this. I've never had a reason to question Hoke's integrity. He has disciplined more talented players than a mediocre kicker and this didn't happen on his watch so it wouldn't taint his reputation in any way. I see no reason why he would jeopardize his career to keep Gibbons kicking.

bronxblue

January 30th, 2014 at 11:28 AM ^

This has been discussed many times before.  Hell, people brought it up again when the "Brunette Girls" meme broke out after the Sugar Bowl.  It has been discussed numerous times, basically since he showed up, but just like Max Bullough punching a cop and running in Aspen, it tends to get lost in the shuffle years later.  But this isn't really "news" to anyone who needed to know.

Njia

January 29th, 2014 at 11:25 PM ^

Sausage being made is less messy. Even with a so-called "interim" policy, there is so much training, communications, and other organizational change management activity underway that it doesn't surprise me in the least. The more I reflect on the delay and think back to my own experience in government, it makes sense. I don't like it any better, but I now realize it is a limitation of large, complex, organizations.

samsoccer7

January 29th, 2014 at 11:13 PM ^

Basically what we had figured out right? There's still a big time gap in there from 2011 to 2013 but I'm guessing there was a lot of analysis, protocols being put in place, and interdepartmental coordination going on before they could truly implement the new system.

bronxblue

January 30th, 2014 at 11:30 AM ^

Also, the rule changes only became official University policy in 2013.  So just because they started to look into a new policy in 2011 doesn't mean it was enforced at any point during that time.  Lots of times, changes like this go through so many rewrites and alterations departments don't even consider applying them until they are codified and distributed.

UMgradMSUdad

January 29th, 2014 at 11:15 PM ^

I mentioned this on another thread, but if I had a son in college accused of rape given these new guidelines, I would advise him to drop out or transfer immediately, even if he knew absolutely the charges were false. 

It also seems the whole  "will not release the results of any investigation" has huge holes in it, since everyone in the world now seems to know about Brendan Gibbons, or it's wink, wink, nod, nod, the university won't officially release results but anyone party to the information has no penalty associated with releasing the name of the accused.

Yeoman

January 29th, 2014 at 11:25 PM ^

How could you know that? Do you know who released the information? Do you know that the University knows? Do you know that the University will undertake no investigation of the matter if they do know, or later find out? Are you certain that the results of such an investigation, and the penalty imposed, would be released to the public?

You're reading an awful lot into the fact that as of now we aren't aware of any penalty being levelled against a leaker.

uminks

January 30th, 2014 at 2:07 AM ^

If you are afraid of being wrongly accused then your safest avenue is to remain celebrant until you graduate.

There is circumstantial evidence that Gibbons was guilty of sexual assault. The new rules in 2013 allowed the University re-open the case without the victim filing a complaint.

GoBLUinTX

January 30th, 2014 at 1:05 AM ^

Either the University of Michigan released the information or Brendan Gibbons released the information.  That's it, no more than that, that's all it could be.  As the University has stated it won't officially say anymore than what it has, if anybody wants the truth they need only ask Gibbons.  If he denies denigrating himself then all we're left with is the University of Michigan having released the information.

BlueCube

January 30th, 2014 at 9:08 AM ^

Any attorney is going to tell the accused not to testify before a school inquiry like this. Therefore, the accused can not defend himself. The best option is to drop out of school so the school drops the investigation before you have your record stained.

I understand the purpose of this and think the victim does deserve protection. The system may have been stacked against the victim previously. I'm concerned it may have gone too far now. I saw someone post that 90% of the cases are valid. I'm not sure how that statistic was determined since only two people really know if something happened and they may even disagree. However, I would hate to be in that 10% who is run over by a system stacked againt them. I have a daughter I want to see protected and a son who I don't want to see run over. It's easy to say don't put yourself in the position to have something like this happen, but that's only possible if you don't have sex during college. How many of us did that?

I don't pretend to know what happened here and I hope that justice was served. I think the system was far from perfect before and it still is. There are likely a lot of people on this board who would have been at risk with their behavior in college given the new guidelines.

LongLiveBo

January 29th, 2014 at 11:15 PM ^

If I read that correctly, no new facts came to light and a policy change got him kicked out of school retroactively. They either ignored facts or had a terrible policy before. Either way what the hell is going on?

Killewis

January 30th, 2014 at 12:44 AM ^

The previous policy was that the university would not investigate any incidences in which the victim did not want investigated. Whether or not that is a "terrible policy" is up to you to decide. Personally, I think it was in good intention and as a blanket policy (I'm assuming the policy applied not just to sexual harrassment/assault related crimes, but all situations, including petty things like stupid arguments and such) worked great, but an incident like this showed the policies flaws, and it was, rightly, changed.

SF Wolverine

January 29th, 2014 at 11:16 PM ^

And, great, we respect student privacy.  Super.

Do we have a policy on senior athletic department personnel lying their asses off to the public?  If not, we might look into that.

I also think that the program is going to have to have some answers for how they internally deal wiht allegations of this type.  Are they investigated, or does the team just punt this to whatever the University decides to do. 

Time for clarity and proactivity.  Don't let this drag on.  If we need to make changes, make them, and acknowledge it.  Fix this, and do it soon.

 

Princetonwolverine

January 30th, 2014 at 8:30 AM ^

Some people might argue that mentioning a "muscle" problem is violating a student's right to privacy.

I have no problem with Hoke saying he was missing the bowl game for a "family matter". It is not a lie. It may not be the whole truth.

Hoke, and all coaches may be best served by simply stating, "So and so player will not be playing." When asked why, they should respond, " I will not comment further".

Are coaches even required to release who will and who will not play?

 

taistreetsmyhero

January 29th, 2014 at 11:34 PM ^

if those non-law enforcement bodies were allowed to hand out prison sentences.

If the University of Michigan thinks that a person who they conclude likely raped somebody based on their own pre-established level of confidence should be expelled, that's fine by me. The legal system isn't perfect either--there are plenty of people who get charged and then convicted of a crime, but then are later exonerated once new evidence comes to light.