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.

U-M sexual misconduct policy timeline


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


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.


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.



January 30th, 2014 at 1:41 PM ^

Reread my comment.  Black's Law Dictionary is what the courts use to determine the meaning of words (among other things).  Under Black's definition of a crime, my argument is that Gibbons was, in fact, convicted of a crime.  There is a legitimate question as to whether the federal government compelled the University to punish Gibbons.  


January 30th, 2014 at 12:01 PM ^

I'm not a lawyer (I just play one on the internet sometimes) so all of this is just outside observational except I used to cover how guidance is used very closely.

I doubt Gibbons would want to be the defendent in the case you are describing. It seems your argument is that the federal guidance documents created a separate jurisdiction in the United States that doesn't function on the principles of the U.S. justice system. One--trying not to get political here--you may be correct. Two, PLEASE DON'T MAKE THE INEVITABLE SUPREME COURT CASE ABOUT GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS ABOUT A MICHIGAN FOOTBALL PLAYER ACCUSED OF RAPE! There are plenty of environmental regulations to use for that which won't drag UM football through the gutter.


January 30th, 2014 at 3:03 PM ^

I think Gibbons would like to be compensated for the damage done to his reputation and earning capability caused by this.  He is going to find it hard to get a decent job and live a normal life.  His name has been dragged through the mud.

The Supreme Court takes cases where a citizen's liberty has been taken away without due process more seriously than a regulatory case.  This case has huge legal and social implications.  I don't see this as a scandal for the football program.  


January 30th, 2014 at 5:05 PM ^

Black's Law Dictionary provides a nice definition of a crime... but those arent the "elements of a crime." The government can dish out punishments of lots of sorts without it being a crime. That's just not how it works.

By your standard, most environmental regulations are criminal convictions. People lose custody of their children without criminal convictions. Shit, try telling a traffic court judge that he has to find beyond a reasonable doubt that your parking tickets are legitimate, and tell me how far that gets you.

He was expelled from a University, which does not qualify as a criminal punishment. I'm pretty sure you can be fired from a government job without a conviction.

I could go on, and I could explain the standards, but... no, man. No. just... just no.

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 30th, 2014 at 7:58 AM ^

Putting aside the fact that Michigan shouldn't adopt Florida State standards, the difference between this case and Winston (and Payne, Appling, etc.) is that Winston was never charged.

Gibbons was.  It was a civil-type charge, not a criminal charge but he was charged nonetheless.  Then the charges got reinstated it looks like sometime in 2013.  Not only that, but all the source police documents were published in 2013 for anyone to find.

And neither the charge, nor the "conviction," impacted Gibbons's status with the team.  *That's* the problem.   Even after the letter alerting him of the finding of his guilt and expulsion he (1) played against Iowa (ambiguous timeline); (2) dressed (?) against Ohio State; and (3) was celebrated at the banquet.  It's as if the football team was entirely comfortable publicly celebrating and keeping on the team a guy who the university had expelled for sexual misconduct.

I can't see how anyone can defend that.  It's indefensible.  The Tallahassee and Notre Dame police forces arguably were lax in pursuing the Winston case and the Lizzy Seeberg case, but (unless I'm forgetting one) only Michigan has harbored and celebrated a player charged and convicted of sexual assault in a deliberative tribunal.

Hoke/Brandon aren't on the hook for not reopening something they thought was closed, but they are rightfully on the hook for doing nothing after the school reopened the matter and the source police documents were published.


January 30th, 2014 at 8:47 AM ^

I agree with the logic you write but you are extremely loose/incorrect with some of those facts and assumptions that you base this off of.

Your argument is that "even AFTER letter alerting him of the finding of guilt and expulsion" that 3 things were done. First off, the Nov. 20th letter did not inform of expulsion so that is wrong but lets looks at your 3 points.

1) "played against iowa (ambiguous timeline)" right off you are admitting that you do not know if they knew abut the letter then and timeline is ambiguous

2) "dressed(?) against ohio state"... so by your question mark i assume you do not know the answer but are making the assertion regardless

3) "was celebrated at banquet"..for "a guy who the university expelled". the banquet was on dec 9th while the letter of expulsion was dec 20th so he was not expelled at that time.

I am not defending Hoke and Brandon here as the facts arent clear yet...but I highly take issue with you portaying your 3 points as fact as you yourself admit you dont know if 1 and 2 are true and the third was incorrect because he hadnt been expelled yet.

What they did may have been indefensible but your use of questionable assertions and fact does not help your case.


January 30th, 2014 at 9:15 AM ^

I think your points and the ambiguity really point out how much of this lies in the unknown surrounding Iowa game. There are two distinct possibilities that suggest very different views of what Hoke and Brandon did.

Possibility 1) On nov 20, letter was sent to gibbons and hoke/brandon MAY have been informed. Gibbons still played vs Iowa on Nov 23 despite Hoke knowing of letter and its initial findings.

Possibility 2) On nov 20, letter was drafted to Gibbons. It may have been sent out on 21st via registered mail. The team would have left on the 22nd most likely to Iowa so Gibbons likely would not have received it until coming back from Iowa. When he came back, he received letter, told coaches and they kept him out of OSU game.

In case 1), Hoke and Brandon would rightfully be under a lot of questioning and will be in trouble. In case 2), there is no way to fault anyone for Gibbons playing in Iowa.

Until you know this (and not sure if we will), alot of these assertions can not be made.

Regarding this Iowa issue, couldnt this be figured out through more general questions without specifically referencing Gibbon's case. It would seem that the university should be able to answer procedural questions: how are students notified in these cases? via mail? in the case of student athletes, are the coaches notified directly or does that only occur after the student is first notified regarding this? It would seem these procedural questions could be asked and would not fall under any FERPA restrictions as there would be no reference to the Gibbons case. That would be no different than the press release last night by the university that didnt reference Gibbons but was clearly because of it.

Go Blue in MN

January 30th, 2014 at 11:13 AM ^

I'm not sure why you keep responding to yourself (maybe someone else's comments were deleted?), but the third possibility is that Hoke did not know about the Nov. 20 letter at all.  Gibbons receives the letter, appears before the board/committee on Dec. 4, and does not tell the athletic department or his coaches.  Due to privacy laws and the matter not yet having been finalized, the athletic department is not notified until explusion occurs.  Thus, it seems entirely possible to me that Hoke did not know about the finding until AFTER the OSU game and that Gibbons was held out of that game only because of injury, as several posters have indicated that they saw him on crutches during that game.  Now, this does not exonerate Hoke from the "family matters" comment after the explusion occurred, but I expect that he was told what to say by the university's lawyers and/or DB.


January 30th, 2014 at 11:57 AM ^

Sorry about that..i wanted to add something to my post but was using the mobile app (which doesnt allow editing of previous posts) so i just added a new post and replied to myself so that they would be seen next to each other.

Your scenario is interesting..this all comes back to the question of when they were notified and it seems like we all have come to this issue as important to judging Hoke's actions. While the univ cant address this situation, hopefully we will get info on their general procedures regarding notification of coaches for cases involving student athletes. It seems like this would allowed to disclose as long as it is general and not specific to this case.


January 30th, 2014 at 9:47 PM ^

What evidence do you have that Hoke knew of the expulsion on December 23rd when he told a reporter that Gibbons didn't make the trip because he was in Florida attending family issues?  You're playing the same game of speculation, you've just used a different timeline.

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 30th, 2014 at 9:25 AM ^

The November 20 letter, as reported by the Daily, doesn't mention the expulsion sanction, that's true -- but it does inform Gibbons of the finding of guilt by the committee.  The Daily story says:

"An additional OSCR document signed by Vander Velde and dated Nov. 20, 2013, stated that it was determined by the University that a preponderance of evidence supports “a finding that the Respondent engaged in unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, committed without valid consent, and that conduct was so severe as to create a hostile, offensive, or abusive environment.”

So, that's right, he hadn't been notified that he would be expelled, but he had been notified that he was "guilty."  And it lays out what he was "guilty" of. 

Then three days later, he plays against Iowa, then there's the Ohio State game, then the banquet, then formal notice of expulsion.  That's the timeline.

If that distinction makes a material difference to some, so be it.  It doesn't to me and I don't see why it would.  It just means a small bit of time passed between the "conviction" and the "sentencing," which is typical.  The thing he was "convicted" of is easily serious enough to have warranted separate action by the football team.  Given what he was "convicted," of, it wasn't as though his "sentence" was going to be ten laps around the IM track.


January 30th, 2014 at 9:34 AM ^

I think it would matter to both of us as to whether the coaches knew about it before the Iowa game. Again, as you state the timeline is ambiguous and we do not know if coaches (or even the player) knew about it before the Iowa game. After that, he never played again. He met with the committee on Dec 4th to discuss the findings so there was still another round of discussions before the punishment was handed out. Again, I dont disagree with most of your logic, I just think there is some key info missing (Iowa) that really could change one's opinion on the coaches overall behavior.

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 30th, 2014 at 9:40 AM ^

Knowledge pre-Iowa would make it worse, but the banquet itself is enough for me to put it in the indefensible column.  

And even if they didn't "know" of the guilty finding, pre-Iowa, they knew of the existence of the proceeding and the source police documents published in August 2013.

The university's proceeding and the documents had no impact on Gibbons's status with the team.  It's as if it and they didn't exist.  That's the problem, and I'm finding it hard to come up with a defense.  Even if they didn't know things (which I doubt), they should have known. 


January 30th, 2014 at 9:49 AM ^

Your points are fair and I respect your viewpoint.

I tried to figure out whether he dressed for that OSU game..the closest I could get is that while team was warming up pre-game, Gibbons was in sweatpants. This is per the FreePress beat reporter below on Twitter pre-game.

@Mark__Snyder: U-M K Brendan Gibbons is in sweats, not pads, watching the warmups, while Matt Wile is kicking all field goals

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 30th, 2014 at 10:00 AM ^

I don't really begrudge Hoke's public statements, but if the "muscle pull" was just a cover story for why Gibbons didn't play against Ohio -- as we all think it was?? -- then we can put a date on Hoke's knowledge of the finding of "guilt" as no later than the date of the "muscle pull" statement.

(The News story today has Gibbons as "on the sideline" against Ohio.)


January 30th, 2014 at 7:08 PM ^

I havent seen this written anywhere...does anyone know how the Daily got the letter addressed to Gibbons regarding the expulsion? The main article specifically states that the document was not ontained from the university. Clearly this has held back some of the reporting from other media sources because no one else has this document. This isnt really relevant to any of the discussions in the thread but was just curious if this was determined.


January 30th, 2014 at 9:52 PM ^

the Michigan Daily got hold of a copy of the expulsion letter addressed to Gibbons.  Either Gibbons gave them a copy or the University did.  Working under the assumption that Gibbons wouldn't have purposely sullied his own name, we're left with the University either deliberately leaking the document, or an agent of the University stealing the document.  Either way the University didn't maintain control of the document.