University of Michigan provost Martin Philbert was put on administrative leave Tuesday as the university investigates allegations of sexual misconduct against him. (Courtesy photo)
The University of Michigan has placed its highest-ranking academic officer, Provost Martin A. Philbert, on administrative leave while investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
In a Wednesday letter sent to staff and students, U-M President Mark Schlissel said “several allegations of sexual misconduct” were brought to the attention of administrators Jan. 16 and 17, and that an internal investigation began Jan. 17.
Rick Fitzgerald, assistant vice president for public affairs at the school, told Bridge the allegations against Philbert lodged so far have not been made by students. Fitzgerald declined to say whether they involve employees of U-M.
Fitzgerald also declined to be more specific about the number of allegations than to say “several.”
“It’s too early in the investigation to say,”Fitzgerald said.
Philbert was put on administrative leave Tuesday. The university has hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations, according to Schlissel’s letter. Fitzgerald said university police are also “aware of the situation.”
“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,” Schlissel wrote.
Philbert is a graduate of Cambridge and has a doctorate from the London University Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London. He came to the University of Michigan in 1995.
Philbert was dean of U-M’s School of Public Health before being named provost in 2017. As provost, Philbert oversees the university’s 19 schools and colleges as well as the many interdisciplinary institutes and centers.
The letter listed university offices, including the university police, that people can contact if they have information related to allegations of sexual misconduct by the provost:
- The Office for Institutional Equity (734) 763-0235
- U-M’s anonymous compliance hotline (866) 990-0111 or via the website.
- Division of Public Safety and Security (734) 763-1131
“The U-M Board of Regents and I are committed to a full and thorough investigation, and we will continue to work to ensure the integrity of the process, following the same policy and practices that apply to all employees at U-M,” Schlissel wrote. “It remains early in the investigation, and no findings or conclusions have been reached.
“We thank the individuals who have come forward with these allegations. We know that reporting requires courage,” Schlissel wrote. “The university has offered support services and will work diligently to assist those who report in every way possible.”