1. Statement on addressing sexual and gender-based misconduct at February 2021 Board of Regents Meeting

    February 18, 2021

    I want to give a brief update on our ongoing work to address sexual and gender-based misconduct at U-M.

    As we have previously shared, the Regents and I hired the nationally recognized firm Guidepost Solutions to collaborate with us as we implement the recommendations from the WilmerHale report into the misconduct of Martin Philbert.

    This is one important step in our comprehensive work to prevent and address sexual and gender-based misconduct and create an environment and culture where everyone in our community feels safe, that they can report misconduct without fear of retaliation, and that reports will be acted upon appropriately.

    The board strongly supports these efforts and has been directly involved in its oversight.

    Today, I want to update everyone on our work to enact the cultural change we need at U-M.

    The Regents and I have asked Guidepost to work with us and our university community on a statement of shared values, ethics and standards.

    We have also asked Guidepost to examine our whistleblower and anti-retaliation policies to see how we may improve – and their review is under way.

    Together these initiatives will set the foundation for our collective work to create an environment of mutual respect and accountability that is free of retaliation, where everyone can feel safe to report misconduct.

    The work I’ve mentioned will become part of ongoing efforts we have launched to create broad and positive culture change, including our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative; Michigan Medicine’s priority to “promote a positive, cohesive culture that aligns with our values;” and the work of the universitywide Ethics, Integrity and Compliance Committee.

    We also continue to collect and examine community feedback on the university’s interim umbrella policy for addressing sexual and gender-based misconduct. This includes feedback sessions, a dedicated email address and a survey that will remain open through March 15. A working group is focused on putting a final policy into effect by July 1.

    With advice from Guidepost, we are working on a new “relationships in the workplace” policy, and have implemented and are exploring additional ways to more rigorously vet candidates for leadership positions.

    I thank everyone in the community who has engaged in our ongoing work to prevent and better address sexual misconduct.